Part 3: Market Expands for Specialized Drain-Cleaning Tools
Market Expands for Specialized Drain-Cleaning Tools
By Thomas A. Westerkamp - March 2013 - Plumbing & Restrooms
Specialized drain-cleaning tools are expanding to meet every need, with more productive rodding and water jetting options now available. The hand tool line of drain cleaning equipment includes:
- a variety of augers
- tapes that measure 1/2-inch to 1-inch in diameter and are 25-100 feet long snakes
- grappler hooks for retrieving solid objects
- hand spinners with up to 25 feet of cable.
One option is the hand spinner that accommodates a drill to rotate the cable for more power to break up tough clogs.
Technicians need to develop techniques through experience for moving the spinner back and forth into a blockage without damaging the cable by over-torqueing and kinking. The cable usually jumps before it becomes completely stuck, but this can happen very quickly. Power spinners have cable torque control that stops cable spinning before it kinks when hitting a complete blockage. This feature helps to train the technician to anticipate the amount of forward movement to allow before backing off. With the proper technique, the blockage clears more quickly, and the equipment lasts longer.
Power-spinner accessories include attachments to address every need, from flexible bulb heads for getting around tight corners and through soft clogs to saw teeth for cutting through root growths in the larger drain lines. In some situations, technicians can use the camera to locate and identify the clog, then use the appropriate accessory to remove it. This process records the event while substantially improving productivity and reducing costs for time and labor to maintain drains.
Also, the two-way action of water jetters acts to clear blockages that are composed of soap, grease and hair. On the way into the drain, high-pressure, low-volume water cuts through the blockage. Then, as the technician retracts the jetter, it cleans the pipe walls and flushes the drain to carry the dislodged material into the sewer main.
Thomas A. Westerkamp is a maintenance and engineering management consultant and president of the work management division of Westerkamp Group LLC.