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What is Roto Rooting?

The original roto rooter was a machine invented in the 1930’s for professional use on residential pipes to remove roots that had infiltrated pipes. Offering the option of removing roots from inside the pipe instead of requiring that the pipe be dug up and opened to provide access was an appealing idea. The result was a more convenient, faster, and less expensive solution to solve an all too common problem.

A roto rooter style machine uses an electric motor to spin spring-loaded blades that resemble a drill bit. These spinning blades grind through the pipe and up against pipe walls, removing roots, clogged matter, sediment, and other debris. The result is better water flow to minimize water backing up and other related plumbing problems.

Roto rooters shouldn’t be used by amateurs because of the risk of pipe damage and bodily damage when improperly operated. DIYers looking for a low-cost solution for clogged pipes (especially clogged main sewer lines) may be tempted to find a tool rental company and try to rent one of these themselves. However, roto rooters should only ever be operated by licensed and insured plumbers! These machines can be dangerous and even fatal to users, not to mention risky to use on compromised pipes. 

Additional resources:
What is Hydro Jetting Exactly?
Hydro Jetting for Serious Pipe Blockages
Drain Cleaning 101
Is it a Plumbing Emergency?
When can roots get into pipes?