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  • Merged - Drum v. Sectional Thread

    Drain Cleaning: Sectional vs. Rotating Baskets & Jetters
    I recently got into a debate with another plumber over the most effective methods for drain cleaning. It seems today that most plumbers go with the rotating drums, which spins the cable at 120 RPM, give or take.

    Contrast this with the sectional machines. The Rigid k-75 , for example, spins the cable at 600 RPM. (I note the Rigid company still makes and sells this machine)

    This is quite a difference. The motor's power is devoted only to spinning cable, actually in the pipe. It doesn't have to spin that heavy basket. It seems to me, then, that the power is going where it does the most good. There is vigorous action in the pipe, where the cable spins 10 times per second, instead of up to 2 times per second as the non-sectional basket machines do. Isn't it obvious and fair to say that a sectional machine cleans better than a rotating basket machine?

    I generally use a sectional machine with a grease blade and a degreaser, followed by a hot water flush and some times repeat the process in particularly dirty lines. At this point in the debate, any plumber will trot out his jetter, exclaiming this to be the best way to clean sludge from a line.

    Rotating Cable + degreaser vs. Jetters

    The grease or sludge, we refer to, is the same stuff that builds up on the steering wheels of our cars. It sticks to pipes in the same way and is not water soluble. I don't care how many PSI a jetter puts out. You can't convince me that any jetter can equal the cleaning power of a rapidly rotating cable, with a grease blade, combined with a degreasing chemical agent, designed to break down the grease accumulations.

    I believe jetters attempt to compensate for what rotating basket machines lack, being cleaning power. Perhaps, considering the popularity of rotating basket machines, due to the convenience it affords the plumber, jetters are necessary. However, lets be realistic. High pressure water cannot equal rapidly rotating steel combined with an effective degreaser in cleaning pipes.

    Would the moderator (Rigid rep) of this board be willing to offer a response, not from the point of view of a guy who would encourage the sales of machines; but rather, from the point of view of a plumber with some common sense. This would be most appreciated.

    Thanks,
    WisePlumbersCrack
    Last edited by ToUtahNow; 01-25-2009, 06:05 PM. Reason: Too many independent threads
    \"Give the customer the same value in service that you would want for yourself.\"

  • #2
    You raise some good points; points that I might add have been and will be debated as long as drains continue to be cleaned. Our drum machines spin anywhere from 190 to 285 RPM. Our sectional machines maintain anywhere from 400 to 710 RPM depending on the unit. The idea behind a sectional machine is that it cleans with high speed, low torque. The cables deliver the energy of the motor to the obstruction much quicker than a drum machine does. By feeling the cable, the operator knows to pull back on the cable to free the blade or it frees itself by tearing up the obstruction. The drum machine, which uses a different type of cable and low RPM, work in an entirely different manner. Once the cutter has reached an obstruction, the tool stops in the same manner that the sectional machine does. Drum cables however are attached to the drum of the machine; this allows the cable to build up a tremendous amount of torque on the cable. This torque generally is released in a couple of different ways. Either the operator pulls the tool out of the obstruction or it frees itself, the same thing that happens with a sectional. It is simply a matter of two different ways of doing it.

    Grease is always a unique type of obstruction to clean. Many times we run a cable machine (sectional or drum) to open up the drain for a while and then the grease falls back in to it's original resting-place and blocks the drain again. This is where some type of a water flush comes in. Your method of using chemicals and hot water is an effective method and breaks up the grease quite well. Others prefer a water jetter; some prefer the water jetter with a particular tip or hot water running through it to accomplish this. The main principle of a jetter is that there is pressure and flow. Pressure will break up an obstruction and flow will wash the material away. Your method is an example of good flow. You have already broken up the obstruction with a cable a machine and now you introduce some flow with the hot water / chemical flush to thoroughly clean the drain. For the most part, jetters are used in preventative maintenance applications as well as finishing tools. With the appropriate tip in place, they can be effective in both applications.

    I have had the opportunity to speak to and work with plumbers and drain cleaners from many different parts of this country and other countries as well. I have heard many different methods of getting a drain open and some of them have ranged from typical to unorthodox to say the least. For every person who prefers a sectional machine there will be someone who prefers a drum machine. The same holds true for jetters and chemicals. Hand spinners and closet augers, you name it. I have cleaned drains with both and have been successful with both; I have also been unsuccessful with both. In either case, I believe it comes down to the operator and what gives them the most confidence that when the job is done it has been done correct. Thanks for the question and comments.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Drain Cleaners, I enjoyed reading the comments but never use hot water when cleaning a drain. Hot water is what causes a drain to plug with grease in the first place. Hot grease flows till it cools and sticks to the pipe. Break the grease up with a cutter, then flush it as far as you like with cold water. Cold clumps of grease won't stick to the pipe.....Dennis.....

      Comment


      • #4
        I like using both the sectional and the drum machines i have found for tough root issues the drum machine is better for me as i can feel the cable and know when to pull back and on the other hand i find the sectional is better for a line that has a lot of turns in it or for getting started in the line if you have a tight turn from the start. jetters i like also after i clear the clog and get the line flowing again i will use a jetter if the line is real greasy or lots of sludge just my 2 cents worth

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Drain Cleaning: Sectional vs. Drum/Baskets

          Yea I know it's 5 years old

          Look like it needed to be bumped up
          Last edited by plumberscrack; 06-29-2008, 05:57 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Drain Cleaning: Sectional vs. Drum/Baskets

            Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
            Yea I know it's 5 years old

            Look like it needed to be bumped up
            remember the op was the "wiseplumberscrack"

            not the present "plumberscrack"

            rick.
            phoebe it is

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Drain Cleaning: Sectional vs. Drum/Baskets

              I think everyone already know`s my feeling on this topic so I`ll set this one out
              I didn't just order another K-7500 for no reason
              http://www.all-clear-sewer.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Drain Cleaning: Sectional vs. Drum/Baskets

                Whats next, flat rate vs. T&M debate?
                INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
                Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

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                • #9
                  Re: Drain Cleaning: Sectional vs. Drum/Baskets

                  Yep
                  Lets do it
                  I`m T&M, I use a Drum machine and I believe a jetter is the best tool for grease
                  That should fire up someone
                  http://www.all-clear-sewer.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Drain Cleaning: Sectional vs. Drum/Baskets

                    Originally posted by All Clear Sewer View Post
                    Yep
                    Lets do it
                    I`m T&M, I use a Drum machine and I believe a jetter is the best tool for grease
                    That should fire up someone
                    And you're good at what you do and I believe it or else you wouldn't still be here.Unfortunately you're also going to be labeled as our
                    #1 WUOSSY if you miss another ROUNDUP.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Drain Cleaning: Sectional vs. Drum/Baskets

                      http://www.all-clear-sewer.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Drain Cleaning: Sectional vs. Drum/Baskets

                        Obviously you dont clear many restaurant lines or food processing plant sewer lines. i wish i would try to unplug Harrys Chicken Shack with a dam drum machine instead of a Jetter!!...i would be in the crazy house or something!!...My General Trailor Jetter with the Warthog will beat any drum machine any day when it comes to a Grease-filled 4"sewer!!!.......................you can bet your beady little eyes!!...lol

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                        • #13
                          Re: Drain Cleaning: Sectional vs. Drum/Baskets

                          i read your disscusion on grease lines an using the jet, or using the cable. my experience with using the jet is the line has to be partially open. if not you,d have a mess on your hands. am i wrong?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Drain Cleaning: Sectional vs. Drum/Baskets

                            Originally posted by clogologist View Post
                            i read your disscusion on grease lines an using the jet, or using the cable. my experience with using the jet is the line has to be partially open. if not you,d have a mess on your hands. am i wrong?
                            not necessary a mess, but a lot of waste water until it's cleared.

                            unless you back jet a line, there is always waste water coming back.

                            i just take the proper steps to minimize the effects.

                            rick.
                            phoebe it is

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Drain Cleaning: Sectional vs. Drum/Baskets

                              I never get to back jet I always have to punch a hole in the clog then I start jetting it. Sometimes I just want to start jetting it right away but I always get 2nd thoughts and use the snake first just to be safe.
                              Seattle Drain Service

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