Tips & Tricks

Model C
Sectional Cable Machine Offers Added Benefits

The sectional cable machine offers several key advantages in comparison to a drum-style drain cleaner. While the drum machines work well in certain applications, the versatility of the sectional machine is exceptional. First, the sectional cable machine allows for 500 RPM cable rotation, twice that of most drum machines. A major benefit of this is that the higher RPM offers better cleaning power for tough stoppages, such as roots. A second important advantage the sectional has versus the drum style involves the cable usage. The sectional cables, typically sold in 8 ft. increments, are more economical in that one section of cable can be replaced at a time. A damaged or worn section can simply be removed and replaced at a job site and can continue. A damaged continuous cable used in a drum machine will often interrupt the completion of a job until the entire cable can be replaced. The sectional machine is definitely more economical and less time consuming with respect to cable replacement and usage.

A third benefit of the sectional cable drain cleaners comes from a completely adjustable clutch feature you will find on a professional quality machine. The clutch protects the cable from overload when a tough stoppage is encountered. A fourth, and sometimes overlooked benefit, is that a drum-type machine has a fixed capacity of cable length typically 100 feet or less. The sectional machine can clean to distances in excess of 200 feet.

Other aspects of the sectional machine which are desirable are its light weight, ease of transportation, and a fold-down handle for easy use in restricted areas such as crawl spaces.

The "Ins & Outs"
of Renting Drain Cleaning Equipment

When it comes to cleaning clogged drains, everyone wants to get in and out as fast and safely as possible, so rental professionals rely on manufacturers for answers to the "Ins & Outs" of drain cleaning equipment, and for how to get the job done safely, efficiently and as profitably as possible.

First Factor In Diameter and Length
When determining and recommending what drain cleaning equipment is needed for a job, first factor in the diameter of the drain and the length of the pipe. Equipment size is determined by drain diameter, length and material. Larger diameter drains require larger diameter cable and cleaning attachments and more power, while smaller diameter pipes usually require smaller diameter attachments and enough power to get through blockages. The kind of clog and the type of drain also factor in.

2 important questions go a long way to determine what drain cleaning equipment is needed for a job:
1. What applications and what diameter lines need to be cleaned out?
2. What is the length of the lines?

Diameter and length usually tell you which machine to go with for a job. Of course there are always jobs that may need more specific consideration.

Determining the proper size equipment for the job is critical in cleaning a drain effectively. If a machine too small for cleaning a large line is used, the cleaning attempt will be ineffective, and the line will either stay clogged or slightly open and ready to clog again. Using a machine too large for a smaller pipe will have difficulty guiding the heavier cable through the line.

Many situations need cables that are 100 feet long or more to reach all the way through floor drains to the nearest sewer. Pipe diameter, length and material, as well as the nature of the clog, are important to know when deciding the best way to solve the problem. The most common drain materials are plastic, malleable iron, cast iron and copper. Some larger drains are cast iron, cement or clay. Underground lines are often made of cast iron, plastic, or clay and are among the toughest drain lines to clear because of penetrating tree roots blockages. In such situations, it's important to use cable heavy enough and long enough, that has enough flexibility to get past tees and ells, and that features a cutting tool that will cut through heavy roots. If the cable is old or damaged, it can break off and require a retriever to recover it. Proper maintenance and routine inspection will help minimize cable problems.

Cast iron, steel and even copper pipes can corrode. It's important to consider these materials, in addition to what flows through them. Condensate return drains contain hot water and steam, which combine to produce carbonic acid that rapidly corrodes the copper or steel pipe wall, and can break off causing blockages at bends.

Fixture drains are commonly made of thin gauge copper or plastic, and are more fragile and easily damaged, especially with powered drain cleaners. Equipment operators must be careful to gradually work the clog loose without exerting too much force. Material in these drains is usually hair and soap scum, and might require chemical treatment, as well as powered options, starting with a hand snake—like the Hande Drain Cleaner—and working up to electric powered equipment when needed.

Cable kinking, one of the most common problems in drain cleaning, can be prevented by using the right machine for the job, meaning less repair expense and more satisfied customers.

eCAM Pro & Pro 2 eCAM Ace & Ace 2

Pipeline Inspection Camera Systems Diagnose Drain Blockages
Pipeline inspection systems like the eCAM Pro & Pro 2 and eCAM Ace & Ace 2 provide accurate and faster diagnosis of hidden problems. The camera not only allows visual detection of damage, but identifies the location and depth, so you know exactly where to dig up the floor or ground to replace the pipe.

Using a pipeline inspection camera system helps determine the right drain cleaning machine. Use of an inspection camera system also provides a digital record of work for future reference. An integrated transmitter in the cable helps find the location and depth of an obstruction if excavation is necessary.

Clearing Out Specific Drain Blockages
Once the size of the drain and the nature of the clog have been identified, then it’s time to determine the appropriate equipment needed for clearing different types of blockages. Two of the most common types of drain cleaning machines are drum-style continuous cable and sectional cable. Each is designed to handle specific types of lines and blockages.
Model C sectionalModel E drum-style

Understanding when a drum-style continuous cable machine or a sectional cable machine is needed for certain blockages helps ensure that the right equipment is used for the job. To clear clogs like tree roots and tough debris out of larger lines, a heavy-duty sectional cable drain cleaner with a cutter tool like the Model C would be the best machine for the job. To clear smaller indoor drain lines, a compact drum-style continuous cable unit like the Model E would be a good choice.

Cables do most of the work inside the, so it's important to understand different types of cable and tools. Cables are the consumable wear-and-tear part of the product that need routine examination and maintenance. Proper maintenance and cable repair will help to increase profits and get the machine quickly back to safe "rental ready" condition. Electric Eel outlines the cable repair process step-by-step in our tool rental maintenance book. For a FREE copy call (800) 833-1212 or send an email to, and ask for the TOOL RENTAL MAINTENANCE TRAINING PROGRAM BOOK.

Safety Concerns Are More Important When Renting
It’s very important for operators to follow key safety features and instructions for any drain cleaning job, but safety concerns become even more prevalent when renting drain cleaning equipment. Most rental operators do not have a chance to become familiar enough with how the equipment operates. Operators should always read the operation and instructions manuals, and consider more qualified training. If someone isn’t well-trained, training materials from the manufacturer should be provided. A FREE Instructional DVD and website streaming video are available at:

Regardless if someone is properly trained and comfortable using the equipment, operators need to follow basic safety measures when cleaning drains and pipelines. Key safety factors include the following:

Ensure that electric drain cleaning machines have a properly functioning electrical cord with a built-in GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) and use only a three-wire extension cord that has a three-pronged, grounding-type plug.
Leather gloves should be used, not cloth or rubber, due to the risk of getting caught in the cable.
Wear safety glasses, and rubber-soled shoes or boots.
Keep loose fitting clothing away from the rotating cable.
Make sure cutter tools are securely attached to the cable. Snap-Lock couplings are recommended.
Do not turn the machine on until the cable is inserted a safe distance into the drain line.

Please contact us with any questions or needs you may have concerning your drain cleaning equipment. We want to help our customers and renters get in and out of drain cleaning jobs as fast and safely as possible.