When General Pipe Cleaners trains a new Drain Brain for our customer service department, one of the first things that we teach is how to recommend the right drain cleaning tool for the job. After all, this happens to be the most important step to successfully opening a drain, and opening the drain is the first step towards culturing happy, long term customers. Like my grandmother used to tell me, “Well begun is half done!”
The key to choosing the right drain cleaning tool for the job is to pick the correct diameter cable, hose or flex shaft needed for the job. The most important part of the equipment that you are using to open the drain is the portion that goes down the pipe and mechanically removes the clog. All the rest, no matter how sophisticated the drain cleaning machine happens to be, is merely a delivery system.
The first question we teach the Drain Brains to ask is this: What is the diameter of the pipe that you wish to clear? Generally speaking, the pipes that a plumber, drain cleaner or facility maintenance engineer would be working on would come in three sizes: small, medium and large. Small pipes are usually draining sinks, showers, tubs, or floor drains. Medium sized pipes are usually indoor connecting pipes between two or more of the above. Large sized pipes usually connect a building or house to the municipal sewer pipe under the street, or a septic system. Drain cables, water jetter hoses and flex shafts generally come in at least three sizes. Simply pick the one that will have the right mix of strength and flexibility to maximize your effectiveness in the pipe diameter where the clog is located.
Question number two: How long is the estimated run? Although the contractor may have no idea how far down the line the clog is located, they probably have some idea of how long the pipe is. For example, if a plumber wants to clear an obstruction in a 4-inch diameter lateral drain leading from a house to the street, and the house sits a hundred feet from the middle of the road, he will need at least one hundred feet of cable to ensure success.
Question number three: What is the clog made of? Again, the end user may not know the exact composition of the blockage, but logic and experience can provide a lineup of the usual suspects.
For example, if a contractor is tasked with opening a drain in the kitchen of a fast-food restaurant, there is a better-than-average chance that they are dealing with a grease clog. That being the case, the right tool for the job would probably be a high-pressure sewer or water jetter with a thin, flexible hose that would easily traverse the twists and turns in a small pipe, leaving it cleared like a brand new line.
On the other hand, if the pro were clearing a 4-inch lateral drain, the plumber would have to consider the possibility that tree roots might be the culprit. In that situation, a 100-foot length of large diameter, heavy duty 5/8- or 3/4-inch continuous cable or 1 ¼-inch sectional cables would be effective ways to attack the problem – coupled with a sectional drain cleaning machine and probably, the use of General’s remarkable ClogChopper drain-cable cutting tool or another of our root-cutting tools.
After considering all three of these questions, you are ready to choose the right drain cable, hose or flex shaft for the job. Remember, it is the snakes, hoses and flex shafts that do the heavy lifting in our world by traveling down the drain and mechanically removing the blockage through rotational torque or high-pressure water.
Then, just pick the drain cleaning machine that holds an appropriate length of cable, hose or flex shaft to do your job. Like I said, well begun is half done!
For more information on these subjects and products, contact the Drain Brains® at General at 800-245-6200 or by email – [email protected] You can also communicate with us by using our handy form too. When you are ready to buy, Our Where to Buy page will direct you towards a distributor nearest to you.