Power Snake

Category: Maintenance
Is buying one a good idea?

Dear Maintenance Men:

I have an opportunity to buy a small power snake for cleaning out kitchen & bathroom drains. At the rate my tenants block their drains it should pay for its self in no time. Is this a good idea?


Dear Dale:

We understand that almost any excuse is a good reason to buy a power tool. However, most bathroom and kitchen drains can be cleared with a three-foot hand snake. The tub or shower will typically have a hair stoppage just past the tub shoe and the bathroom sink will have a toothpaste and hair stoppage in the trap before the wall. The kitchen sink will typically be stopped on the garbage disposal side because of improper usage of the disposer. If both sides of the kitchen sink are blocked, then it may be necessary to use the power snake.

Power snakes can be very dangerous. Most operate with a ¼ to ½ horse motor, which packs quite a punch, especially if your finger or arm gets caught! If you buy this snake, we highly recommend that you get some training on your machine. Power drain cleaning is very much an “art” when done well. Knowing when you hit the stoppage and when the snake is snagged comes with experience. A broken snake cable in your drain system will be far more expensive than simply calling an experienced plumber when needed. Another thought is; most kitchen stoppages are caused by grease. Your snake will only temporarily clear the stoppage. Getting a company to “Hydro-Jet” your drains every year may help cure your chronic grease stoppages.  

Frank Alvarez Buffalo Maintenance, Inc. http://buffalomaintenance.com

Jerry L’Ecuyer Real Estate Broker involved with apartments since 1988