Should You Unplug That Sewer Yourself?

You can save up to 1,200 bucks or more rodding your main sewer yourself.  Problem is, you can also cost yourself thousands more and create potential life hazards in the process.

Few untrained hearty souls will take that leap into the world of bio pathogens and unknown contaminants known as sewer rodding or drain cleaning.  Perhaps the ones that do venture there do so because of the old truism “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

Here’s what you should know about rodding a sewer before you start:

  1. Sewer rodding is physically dangerous.  Those machines have a lot of torque and have broken many bones, created serious lacerations, caused more than a few amputations, and have caused life changing injuries to even highly trained professionals.  This is not something you just pick up from the rental place and have at it.  (That’s why the rental place has you sign the waivers and documents the “training” you received before they rented the equipment).  If you think saving the money is worth a limb or permanent or painful injury, then you should rod your own sewer.  Otherwise, leave it to the professionals.
  2. Sewers contain pathogens that you didn’t put there.  Just because you know that anybody who has been using your sewer doesn’t have any serious disease doesn’t mean that you won’t “catch” something from rodding your sewer.  Many times a house sewer will get plugged up during a storm when the city main sewer gets full and backs up into all the house sewers in an area.  That means your sewer gets plugged with stuff from a whole bunch of different homes/businesses etc.  Then when you get a little splash of it on your blister that just popped (from rodding your sewer) or that cut you got last week on your arm, you just caught what somebody else has 15 blocks away.  Professional sewer rodding personnel are vaccinated against all known strains of hepatitis.  Are you? And that’s just one of the nasty bugs you can catch.  Is a lifetime of suffering or a shortened life worth more than a few hundred bucks?
  3. Lastly, a few more notes about that equipment.  It’s very, very expensive.  If you lose a section of the rental company’s rod, you could be out a couple hundred bucks.  Worse, if you get the rodding equipment stuck in the sewer, you may have to rent a winch and tackle to retrieve it.  Worse yet, if you break it off in the sewer and can’t retrieve it, you will have to have the sewer dug up.  That will cost thousands of dollars.  Maybe 10’s of thousands.

Bottom line, if you are not a professional and have not had the safety training and, more important, the experience running a power rod under the supervision of an experienced teacher, you should probably leave it to a pro.  And if you don’t have the personal protective equipment to prevent infection or invasion of your person by one of the hundreds of pathogens in the sewers waiting to find a new host, you might want to “splurge” a little and take a few hours off instead of taking that risk.

At Yes! Plumbing we have the professional personnel you need to take care of what is definitely a nasty task.  We recommend you try your hand at fixing that faucet before trying to rod your sewer.  If you need us—we answer the phones with live operators 24/7, 365 days a year.