Best Tips for Using Flexible Shaft Machines for Drain Clean

Posted by Spartan Tool on Dec 28, 2022

Best Tips for Using Flexible Shaft Machines for Drain Clean

Drain cleaning is a process that has been necessary for as long as there has been indoor plumbing. For one reason or another, clogs of all kinds seem to come up from time to time, making it so that water is unable to get to where it needs to be. This is where drain cleaning tools like high speed flexible shaft machines can come into play to be of considerable help. However, because flexible shaft machines are a newer kind of small sewer machine, many out there are not aware of the best ways to use them. Fortunately, Spartan Tool is here to help out with this guide on the best tips for using flexible shaft machines for drain cleaning.

The Flex Shaft Machine Difference

There are numerous ways to clear obstructions such as grease, small objects, roots, and other things that may end up causing problems with a drain. However, high speed flexible shaft machines get the job done in a way that is not only effective, but gentler on the pipes and also gets the walls much cleaner as well. This is because these small sewer machines utilize newer flexible shaft technology that allows you to work without the unit rotating. In fact, you can also use pipe inspection equipment to help you pinpoint the blockage and get the job done faster and more efficiently. Because of things like this, you can save time, effort, and money on conducting sewer and drain cleaning jobs.

Spartan Tool Revolution M2

Best Tips for Using Flexible Shaft Machine for Drain Cleaning

If you are looking to add a high speed flexible shaft machine to your arsenal of drain cleaning tools, then naturally you will want to be aware of the best ways to go about using it. By having that extra bit of knowledge ahead of time, you can get ahead of the game right from the get-go. Fortunately, there are a number of different ways that you can utilize your flex shaft machine for drain cleaning in an effective and efficient manner. The following useful bits of professional advice are Spartan Tool’s best tips for using flexible shaft machines for drain cleaning:

Use a Sewer Camera in Tandem with Your Flex Shaft Machine

One of the significant advantages of using a flexible shaft machine for sewer and drain cleaning jobs is that you can use them in tandem with a drain inspection camera. When doing so, you are able to find the clog that you are looking for and bust through it without having to just feel around and do a bunch of tiresome guess work. You no longer have to just retrieve a drain cable back out from a line and hope that you got whatever was causing the problem. You can see for yourself and know for a fact that you have solved the problem. As a result, this saves you a great deal of time, energy, and hassle, letting you get on to other sewer and drain cleaning jobs you have lined up to work on.

Prep Drains and Sewer Lines for Pipe Relining

One thing that makes flex shaft machines such a desirable drain cleaning machine is the fact that they can be used to make the process of relining pipes a great deal easier. This is because when you attach and operate high speed flexible shaft machines with the right hardware, you can prepare the insides of the pipes to receive the material that is used in the process. As a result, this can help you in not only cleaning the pipes you wish to reline, but it can also help the relining job go better and last for considerably longer as well.

Watch for the Sheath Marking When Retrieving the Drain Cable

When it comes to keeping safe, one of the best tips for using a flexible shaft machine to clean drains is to watch for the sheath marking as you are retrieving a drain cable after you have finished cleaning a drain or sewer. You do NOT want the chain knocker to be running free on you while outside of a pipe. The reason for this is that this will let you know when you need to release the drill switch of your flex shaft machine. If you do not, the results could end up being disastrous. You could end up receiving a significant personal injury that is not only painful, but requires an immediate visit to the emergency room.

Positioning is Key

When you are in the process of operating a flexible shaft machine for the purpose of drain cleaning, you need to keep in mind that positioning is key. Not only is this the case for where you are setting up your drain cleaning machine, but also for you yourself while you are working with it to get a drain clean. This not only helps you do a considerably better job at sewer and drain cleaning, but also in keeping your drain cleaning tool in proper working order for much longer and keeping yourself safe from receiving any unpleasant personal injuries.

With all of that being said, while you are using a high speed flexible shaft machine for drain cleaning purposes, you want to make sure that your drain cleaning tool is kept no more than 3 feet (1 meter) away from the entrance to the drain. If for whatever reason you are unable to keep your flexible shaft machine within such a close proximity, you will want to make sure that you have a way to keep it supported for the duration of the pipe cleaning process. However, it is still considered global best practice to keep it within the 3 foot proximity of the drain opening if at all possible in order to avoid potential problems.

As for the positioning that you yourself need to take while conducting a drain cleaning operation, you need to be kneeling by the entrance to the drain and where you have your high speed flexible shaft machine set up. This is so that you can keep a safe hold on the drain cable as well as firm control of the small sewer machine itself while operating. You need to keep one hand on the drill that is working the drain cleaning tool and then the other on the drain cable itself to feed it through the drain as you make your way down to get to whatever is obstructing the proper flow of water. This will also help you in safely retrieving the drain cable once you have finished and are wrapping up all of your equipment to get ready to leave or move on to the next part of your job.

Never Use Force When Navigating a Drain

When you are operating a flexible shaft machine for cleaning sewer lines, you want to do so in a smooth and efficient manner. You never want to use force while you are navigating a drain to get rid of any obstructions and clean the walls of the pipe. By forcing the chain knocker into a blockage, you run the risk of causing damage to your small sewer machine. Instead, what you want to do in some instances is to rotate the chain knocker forward or in reverse for a short time while slowly advancing the cable. This can help you in getting through blockages without running the risk of doing serious damage to your drain cleaning tool and having to replace parts or taking it in to the shop to get repaired.

Do Not Run Chain Knocker into Sewer Camera

One of the great things about utilizing a flex shaft machine to take care of sewer and drain cleaning projects is the fact that you can also run your sewer inspection camera at the same time. This allows you to be able to see what you are doing and what you are dealing with at any given time. It gives you the ability to know for 100% certain that you have gotten a clog removed and the walls of a pipe cleaned off.

That being said, whenever you are simultaneously using a sewer drain cleaner such as a high speed flexible shaft machine with a drain inspection camera, you want to make sure that you never run your chain knocker into the sewer camera. The reason for this is that doing so can result in catastrophic damage to the sewer camera, which can end up resulting in costly and time consuming repairs to your equipment. This can put you out of action for some time, which can cost you a great deal of opportunities to make business through cleaning sewer lines. Because of this, you will want to be extra cautious about how you are handling your sewer inspection camera and your flex shaft machine while doing sewer and drain cleaning.

If Your Drain Cable Stops While Down the Line, Do Not Keep Turning

Should you ever find yourself in a situation when you are cleaning sewer lines that your drain cable has stopped, you need to stop trying to turn it immediately. The reason behind this is that doing so could cause your drain cable to kink and twist. As a result, your drain cleaning cable could break or at least have other damage done to it that is better left avoided.

Cordless Drills Only

While you are operating a flexible shaft machine, you want to make sure that the drill you are using is a cordless one with a flex shaft drill head. Using a corded drill for cleaning out a drain with a small sewer machine like a flex shaft machine is incredibly dangerous for a variety of reasons. For one thing, there is the risk of tripping. More importantly however, you run the risk of shorting out the drill or getting severely electrocuted due to the cord running through water that has come up from the drain due to it being cleaned out. Cordless drills make for a much safer sewer and drain cleaning operation by preventing any contact with contaminated sewer water.

Hygiene and Bodily Protection are Vital

Although this does not have a whole lot to do with the actual use of a flex shaft machine itself, one extremely vital thing you need to do when using one is to be mindful of personal hygiene. Water that comes from a drain or sewer is full of nasty infectious bacteria that can end up causing you to become quite ill if you are exposed to it. You could end up needing to go to the hospital to get treated. Because of this, you need to always make sure that your body is fully covered while you are operating a drain cleaning tool like a flexible shaft machine.

In order to avoid having to deal with such an unpleasant experience, you will want to always make sure that you are wearing protective items such as:

  • Safety goggles
  • Protective gloves
  • Rubber boots
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Long pants
  • Industrial safety mask

Additionally, you will always want to make sure that you avoid eating, drinking, or smoking while using a sewer drain cleaners such as a high speed flexible shaft machine. You need to make sure that when you are done using your flex shaft machine for drain cleaning, you always wash your hands thoroughly with hot soapy water immediately in order to get rid of all of the bacteria from the drain water.

Always Use a Knocker Bushing

When you are operating a flexible shaft machine, you want to make sure that you are using a knocker bushing in order to limit the amount of cable that is exposed while sewer and drain cleaning. This helps you to reduce wear and tear on the sheath end, and allows for you to go longer without having to make any replacements for your hardware. In general, you want to make sure that there is no more than ¼” of exposed cable. As a result, this saves you a significant amount of money in the long run.

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