Final Sewer Rodding Q&A

Q: What exactly is a Cleanout?

A: A cleanout is the point of access in a waste piping system, which allows the use of rodding systems or other equipment to do maintenance on drains. As previously mentioned, most residences have at least one of these as the sewer goes away from the house. There are however homes that do not have one. Homes built after 1980 should have a cleanout installed outside it. Most of the homes in our region have 4 inch sewer line coming out of the house, which becomes a 6 inch line placed under the ground outside.

Q: When I last had technicians to do rodding outside, it was completed much quicker than when they did it inside. Is this normal?

A: Drain cleaning and rodding is not a precise science as technicians may be faced with varying problems at each home. The answer to this may be that if the company who did the rodding inside was forced to work in a confined space or they were meticulous about cleaning the work area, it should have taken them longer to complete.

Q: How many people are required to do rodding? One company we used sent one technician and another company sent two.

A: The number of technicians required is dependent on the size of the pipe, the exact area where the work is required and the type of equipment being used. Some of the equipment used for this type of job is often cumbersome and heavy, thus it is necessary for two people to do the job to comply with safety regulations.

Q: We hired a plumbing contractor to hydrojet our home. They started the job in the basement and our basement was completely flooded as soon as they turned on the jetter. What caused this as all they told us was that our system was 100% blocked?

A: What they told you was partially true as you were 100% blocked. What they should also have told you is that when the sewer is filled completely, a hydrojet should never be used in a basement. Most commercial hydrojetters have a surge of a huge amount of water and it is necessary for the sewer to be partially open to allow the water to go through.

Q: Is it really necessary to install a new sewer in my front lawn? One contractor stated that periodic maintenance will be fine, but another insisted that I replace it.

A: The contractor that offered you the pros and cons related to this type of job is probably the better one to go for. The contractor who wants to do constant maintenance is looking for job security, while the one who is recommending replacement is trying to make a sale. You should ask for them to show you the condition of the pipes and that will allow you to determine if it needs replacement or not. You could ask them to provide you with a video and if you forward it to us at, we will offer you advice.

Q: Is it cheaper to get my pipe relined?

A: This is a very good question as in our experience, hiring a contractor to line your pipe will cost you almost as much as having it replaced. The preparation and labor hours required to prepare a drain line for new lining is much greater than having a couple of technicians undertake a repair. If you intend relining, you should consider that good epoxy pipe lining will strengthen the pipe more than ductile iron and it is 17% smoother than a new PVC pipe, so you would be obtaining a permanent fix. The other factor to consider is if you have spent a lot of money on landscaping your garden, or the pipe is placed under a driveway or walk, it would be less intrusive to choose lining. It will not be necessary for you to spend extra funds for the replacement of concrete, asphalt or shrubs.

Q: The plumber I hired broke a rod within my drain and now wants me to pay for digging up my lawn to allow for the repair of it. I have had this particular line rodded several times over the past few years and this is the first time this has happened.

A: The first thing you should keep in mind is you have had a licensed plumber to your home several times in the past and you were satisfied with the work they did, you should use them again. Sometimes a technician will force the rod into a blockage, which causes the torque to get stuck in a break that is already there. The most likely answer is that after years of undergoing maintenance, the sewer may finally have collapsed and the equipment used for rodding gets stuck and the technician is not to blame.


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