Q. We use a large drum-type drain cleaner to clear tree roots. But my buddy swears by his sectional machine to do the same job. What’s the difference? And which one is better?
A. Heavy duty machines with large diameter cables are needed to clear tree roots. Two types of machines are available – drum-type and sectional. Each has advantages.
Drum-type machines have the advantage of being self-contained, fast, and easy to operate. The entire length of cable is contained in one drum and can be transported in a single trip to the job site. A variable speed automatic feed, feeding at a rate of up to 20 ft/min, makes it easier for the operator to get the cable to the clog quickly. It also helps to retract the cable more easily. A 100 ft. cable can weight 100 lbs.
Sectional drain cleaners have the advantage of being lightweight. The cables are carried separately from the machine as 8, 10, or 15 ft. sections. No need to carry the weight of 100 ft. of cable when the job only calls for 50 ft. Once on the job, the cables are feed into the line one section at a time and coupled together as needed. The open coil design of the sectional cable helps corkscrew the cable down the line, making it easier to clear longer runs. And if a section is ever damaged, it can easily be uncoupled and replaced.
As you can see, each type has its advantages. The correct answer is really, the type of machine that is right for you is the one you’re most familiar with.
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