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Old 04-01-2014, 04:37 AM   #1
bobv
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Default snaking drains of apartment building

All, TIA for advice. I work in a 6 floor apartment building and we're doing a routine maintenance snake of the tiers of kitchen drains. The plumbing company is suggesting they need to snake every unit on every floor, but I would think they would only need access to each of the top floor units and can snake the whole tier from there (and thus not need access to all the lower units that feed the same drain lines). Is the plumber correct for some reason I'm not considering or is he simply trying to bill me to needlessly snake every unit?

Also, if the drains are all one and quarter inch pipe, is that the size of snake that'd ideal be used? I believe they're suggesting the use of a three quarter inch snake, which seems undersized. Again, I'm concerned they might just be trying to use a three quarter so we have to use them again sooner and shell out for the job again.

Finally, how often would everyone recommend we have the snaking done? Every year? Every 3? Every 5?

In summary - do we need to snake every unit, how often, and what size snake. Thanks for the advice.



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Old 04-01-2014, 04:53 AM   #2
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I use a spartan 100 machine on kitchen lines. Belive the cable is 3/8. The cable i have is also 75 feet long. If you have 6 floors at 10 feet a floor 70 feet of cable will be plenty. I am assuming the kitchens are all on the same stack. He wants to run each floor so he can charge you more and cable is less work to get back. You run 70 feet of cable gravity pulls on it and it is hard to pull back. You always want to run a cable as far as you can in a building like yours. It is possible to push a clog to the next floor causing a flood. Cabling the line is only going to puch a hole through clogs. Hydro jetting gets the line clean and pushes all the debris out of line. It can be messy though if done on inside of unit



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Old 04-01-2014, 06:00 AM   #3
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Thanks, journeyman. In theory, does it make sense that the hydro jetting could be done via the roof vents (so water isn't being sprayed in the top floor units)? That's assuming each drain stack has it's own vent, which I would imagine is the case....

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Old 04-01-2014, 12:52 PM   #4
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If the line is snaked from the top floor he will clear the vertical line. But there may be horizontal waste arms that need to be done from under each sink.

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Old 04-01-2014, 01:28 PM   #5
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Most stoppages are usually in the horizontal section of the drain. If the lower floor units are backing-up then your problem will mostly be in the building drain (horizontal drain) under the slab. If this is the case, running the cable from the lowest unit will be the way to go.

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Old 04-01-2014, 04:56 PM   #6
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Thanks, all. Do people think there's even value in preventative snaking of each unit? Someone else mentioned that it's not helpful/worth the cost (being charged $90 per unit) since it might actually contribute to a blockage since you can't usually run sufficient water to flush out whatever you dislodge. Does anyone else have an opinion on if hydro jetting the vertical line (once every few years?) would be appropriate? That'd at least solve the problem of lacking water to flush out what's dislodged.

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Old 04-01-2014, 05:02 PM   #7
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If it's not broken don't fix it.

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Old 04-01-2014, 11:53 PM   #8
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I work maintenance in an 18 story apt bldg (218 apts). From experience, a 3/4" cable in a 1 1/4" line would be overkill. A 5/16 or 3/8 with a proper sized drop head would work much better. You should run your mains and take on the individual apts as they are needed.

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Old 08-02-2014, 04:30 AM   #9
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Each horizontal kitchen line on each floor will have grease buildup. Each should be cabled as a preventative going into the main stack, vertical. The main stack should then be cabled. If you add 20 feet plus to the cable run from each kitchen sink c/o you will have cabled the main stack little by little as you go down to ground floor. Remember, that 3/8 inch snake is worthless in a horizontal 3 inch or larger pipe. you need to find the nearest large c/o and run a bigger snake for the turn at the bottom of the stack as it goes horizontal to the main tie in.

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Old 08-02-2014, 05:44 AM   #10
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each unit is probably owned by individual people. he is trying to keep the common line clear and then it is up to the individual units to take care of the horizontals if this is not accurate bobv please tell me. i do alot of hoa work and plumbers will always come in and say the problem is in the common line so the owners of units dont have to pay the bill. by keeping the common line maintained now the charge will go to the homeowner/tenant



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