Unclogging older drains

I have a very old house with very old iron drains. In the past I've had two different plumbers in to clean out clogs, and each has recommended a different, exactly opposite, remedy. One snaked the drain, saying it was dangerous to blow out an old pipe; the other blew out the pipe with air, saying it was dangerous to snake an old pipe.
I need to have another drain cleaned, and would like to know which way is best and least likely to cause damage.
Thanks -
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nj_dilettante wrote:

True that snaking can puncture a badly rusted drain. But that occurs very near to end of life anyway.
Each situation would have to be looked at separately. Interior drains such as lav, tub, shower won't respond to compressed air (or water under pressure) due to the vent. All the volume will simply go UP the vent rather than push the clog to the stack.
So.....no pat answer.
Jim
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nj_dilettante wrote:

I agree with Speedy. Either way can work, although blowing it out is less likely as it will do little if the clog is past the vent. In either case if it damages the pipe, it was very close to going out anyway and you would have been replacing it in a few months anyway thus you save that second house call charge.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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It's really the plumbers preference. I suppose it goes along with the painters analogy. "Never carry more paint than you are willing to clean up".
Bill
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hire the experienced honest old timer who has a helper to do all the work. no plumber wants to break your pipes underground. snake all household outdoor trap drains after clearing any leaf gutters and downspouts and other yard drainage feeders if they meet your street sewer and have the sewer traps checked to make sure they hold water between you and the street sewer. the experienced plumber can feel with his snake any broken sewer tiles when he snakes your main from the house to the street. if you have a bad main that allows tree roots to invade annually consider replacing the sewer and before you dig around think about replacing the old water line.
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