Q. We’ve had the same handheld power drain cleaner for 20 years and it still keeps working, but my arms get tired from holding the machine. Is there an easier way to clear clogs in small drains?
A. You’ve got a tough little machine that was great in its day. But now there are counter top models that are a lot easier on the body than the old handheld drain cleaning machines.
A frame supports the motor and drum, so you don’t have to. It can run horizontally on a kitchen sink counter top, or vertically next to a tub. Get a machine with a variable speed feed. It gives you complete control as it feeds and retrieves the cable at up to 16 ft./min., yet you never have to touch the cable. A guide tube keeps your hands, and the jobsite, clean.
Counter top machines can easily carry up to 50 feet of cable in the drum, a length that would be uncomfortably heavy in a hand-held machine, but easy to handle in a counter top machine.
A machine with a cable changing system will make it easier to clean the cable, or switch to a different diameter cable to better handle different size lines. For instance, a 1/4” cable is best for 1-1/4” to 2” lines, while a 3/8” cable is better suited for clearing 2” to 3” lines. If you don’t want to bother with cable changes, a 5/16” cable is a nice compromise that will handle most of the applications you are likely to encounter.
Remember: It is easier on the cables if you remove the P-trap under the sink rather than wrestle your way past it with a snake.
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