Top 13 Things to Consider When Buying a Cable Machine

Posted by Spartan Tool on Feb 03, 2022

Top 13 Things to Consider When Buying a Cable Machine

When you need to get a line with some serious clogging inside of it flowing freely and properly again, one of the best ways to go about it is by using a sink drain machine like a drain cable machine. However, it is important to note that purchasing drain cleaning tools like a drain cable machine is not a purchase one should make with little to no forethought involved. It is not like buying any other tool from the hardware store. There are a number of things that should be taken into consideration beforehand, as drain cleaning machines and sewer cleaning machines are a serious investment. For this reason, Spartan Tool has compiled a list of 13 things to consider before buying a cable machine.

1. Do I Have the Knowledge to Properly Operate a Cable Machine?

Before buying any type of machinery for drain cleaning, sewer cleaning, etc., it is important to know how to properly operate it first. Having proper training and/or experience with drain cable machines will get you far when it comes to unclogging lines properly time after time and not causing any potential harm to your machine or any of the areas you are working in.

If you need some guidance with learning to operate a drain cleaning drum machine the right way, look into instructional videos, local training classes, instruction manuals, and more. The more you know ahead of time, the better off you will be with a sewer cable machine.

2. What Sorts of Drain Cable Will I Be Needing?

Once you have determined that you are well prepared to use a cable machine in the proper fashion, you will need to determine what size of sewer cable you will be needing. Take into consideration what sorts of line cleaning jobs you do most often. Do you clean small household lines or are you cleaning sewer lines?

After you have done that, you will want to match the diameter of the cable you will be using to the capabilities of both the operator and machine you are considering purchasing. If you do a variety of different line sizes, buying a sink machine that is able to house multiple different sizes (in both diameter and length) will be a wise decision.

3. Gas or Electric?

Depending on the kinds of work you frequently do, one consideration you may want to give some serious thought to is whether you want a cable machine that is powered by gas or one that is powered by electricity. Although it may be more convenient in some respects to buy an electric cable machine, a gas powered one will give you access to certain places that you might not otherwise have.

For example, if you are having to run out a significant amount of extension cord to power your drain cable machine on a regular basis, a gas powered one could save you a great deal of time, effort, and hassle.

4. How Much Mobility Do I Require?

Cable machines come available in numerous different sizes, shapes, and weights. When you are looking into purchasing one, it is always a good idea for you to consider one that has high-quality frames and wheels that are able to handle the necessary amount of weight.

Additionally, it is of the utmost importance that you choose a model of drain cable machine that each member of your team will be able to handle and move with relative ease and have no serious risk of any sort of severe back injury. This can save you a great deal of money and stress in the long run.

5. Sled or Upright Style?

Depending on the kinds of spaces you work with, both at jobs and in your company’s vehicles, there are a couple of different types of profile styles to consider with sewer cable machines: upright or sled.

For instance, if you happen to go up and down stairs frequently or need to carry equipment through tight spaces relatively often, then an upright style drain cable machine may be exactly what you need. These are often lighter, and come equipped with useful features like loading wheels, stair climbers, as well as pneumatic tires that make for smooth, easy transport.

On the other hand, the more traditional sled style of sewer cable machine has a much lower profile. This makes it ideal for work in tight spaces such as crawl spaces. Plus, it fits easier in smaller vehicles, making it easier to take from job to job.

6. How Much of a Concern Will Mess Be?

If mess is any level of serious concern to you, then it is important that you choose a cable machine accordingly. Purchasing an open, closed, or a covered basket will have a noticeable impact on how and when you are able to clean your sewer cable. Additionally, it has an impact how well splatter from a job is contained during the course of operation.

7. Will the Reels of Cable Be Easily Swapped Out?

It is incredibly useful to be able to remove cable reels quickly and easily when using a cable machine. The reason for this is that you will be able to split the weight when you are transporting the machine over snow, ice, or in areas that are small and difficult to reach, like small basements or crawl spaces with ladder style stairs. Between sled or upright cable machines, sled style machines are usually the better ones for acquiring fast cable reel changes.

8. Will Multiple Cable Reels Be Necessary?

It is always a good idea to have numerous drain cable reels ready to use with your cable machine. The reason for this is that if a cable you are using gets kinked or becomes old and worn out, you will have a back-up cable ready to go to keep you on the job and not waiting around for a replacement to be delivered or having to run out to a store that sells them while in the middle of a job.

9. Will the Cable Machine Feature an Automatic Feeder/Retriever?

One thing that can make a line cleaning job somewhat easier and faster is having a cable machine that comes equipped with an automatic feeder/retriever. Such a useful feature makes it noticeably easier and quicker to tug out large amounts of roots that have gotten wrapped around your drain cable down the line in a quicker and less strenuous manner. An automatic feeder/retriever that is designed and manufactured well will let you adjust the movement speed of a cable and blade into as well as back out of a pipe with nothing but a simple and speedy push of a lever.

10. Are the Cable Machine’s Electrical and Mechanical Safety Provisions Up to Date?

If you are considering purchasing an electric powered cable machine, you will want to make sure that all of its electrical and mechanical safety provisions are presently up to date. You will need to make sure that it has a ground fault circuit interrupter for both its cord and its motor. To provide protection against an electric current, a pneumatic foot pedal is a wise choice of equipment.

11. What Kinds of Maintenance is Involved with a Drain Cable Machine?

Knowing what kind of maintenance is involved in keeping a cable machine properly and reliably working for years to come is crucial. This can save you not only a significant amount of money, but also downtime for your business as a whole.

The following are just a couple tips on proper maintenance for a cable machine:

Keep Your Drain Cable Machine Drum Properly Cleaned

Though this tip may seem rather obvious, keeping a cable machine’s drum properly cleaned on a regular basis is one of the best things you can do to keep it working the way you want to. In particular, it helps your power feed and drum function at their best.

One effective way of keeping your cable machine’s drum clean is by filling it with hot water. This can do wonders in ridding it of unwanted build-up such as sewer water, sediment, or grease. Additionally, due to the acidic line cleaners that many home owners will often pour down their pipes, your cable will weaken and wear out significantly faster than it would otherwise if you do not clean your drum. This can cost you more money than you need to spend on new cable.

Keep Your Cable Machine’s Power Feed Lubricated

Sediment and grease can also find its way into the bearings of your sewer cable machine’s power feed. This can cause friction as a result when feeding and retrieving, thus slowing down the entire process regardless of which direction the cable is going. By lubricating your power feed, you can avoid this and keep your cable machine running at optimal performance.

12. Do I Know the Safety Measures That Are Necessary with a Drain Cable Machine?

One of the key things to keep in consideration when operating a cable machine is abiding by all of the proper safety measures. This can not only save money, but also lives. Cable machines are heavy duty machinery, and they need to be treated and operated as such. This is why we have provided you the following list of safety precautions you should follow when operating a cable machine:

  • Be EXTRA careful when it comes to working with electricity and plumbing at the same time. This is especially the case for electric powered cable machines. Electrocution is no joke. First, make sure that all of your machines have any damaged or worn parts, like power cords, strain reliefs, or switches or are missing ground prongs. Secondly, make sure they are grounded properly when they are going to be in use. Use a UL/CSA-approved tester to make sure the outlets being used are safe. Also, ensure that the cable machine has a ground fault circuit interrupter (GCFI) to protect the cable and the machine.
  • Only wear leather gloves when operating a cable machine. Other types, such as rubber or cloth could get caught in the machine and cause severe injury.
  • Make sure your sewer cable machine uses a pneumatic foot pedal. This is to keep there from being any electricity from being used on a wet floor.
  • Never touch a cable while it is spinning. This too could result in severe injury. Use a cable feeding tool instead if you are having problems with getting a cable down a drain.
  • Keep safety glasses on to avoid your eyes coming into contact with any debris.
  • Never force your cable down a line if you are having trouble feeding it through. The drain root cutter is more than capable of getting the job done. Use of excessive torque can result in kink and whip, which can cause bodily injury.
  • When using a drum or sectional machine that is designed to be used up close, make sure it is kept no more than two feet away from the drain. This will prevent any cable whipping from occurring.

13. What is in a Drain Cable Machine’s Warranty?

Investing your hard-earned funds into a cable machine is no small matter. You will want something that is reliable and able to last for several years. One other thing that should be taken into consideration before buying a cable machine however is not just the quality and abilities of the cable machine itself, but also the service that its manufacturer might offer.

Naturally no one wishes to consider the idea that their prized machines and tools might break down from time to time, but drain cleaning is heavy work that some times involves exactly that. When such breakdowns happen, you will want to be sure that you have gone with a manufacturer who is ready and able to give you the help you need with plentiful parts inventory and speedy turnaround if you need to send your sewer cable machine in to get fixed or possibly replaced.

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