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Folks that do a lot of drain cleaning: how do you decide which cable head to send down the drain? Do you change heads throughout the job?

We offer drain cleaning as one of our services, however most of the guys seem to only use a 2" C cutter on everything, and if that doesn't work they call for the jetter trailer. We do have a camera on every truck with drain machines.

I was initially taught to send either a bulb auger or spear down to punch a hole or bring back a sample, then select the appropriate cutter or auger for the job.

What process do you guys go through on a drain call, mainly 3-4" lines? The jetter is great, but I'd hate to have to call for it when we're 45 minutes from the shop and a cable can do the job.
 

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You want me to be frank with you?

a 2” c cutter isn’t going to do schit in a 4” line other than poke open a hole. Yall using drum machines over there? Id go with a 4” half pear than follow with a 4” full pear. Or honestly both in tandem. I suppose a 2” c cutter may not be bad with to get some flow followed by a 4” pear. If yall use sectional then general 4”rotary saw blade.

BUT AS AN APPRENTICE YOU SHOULD DO WHAT YOUR BOSS EXPECTS YOU TO DO. Sounds like they poke open with cable and try to upsell with the jetter. Im not a fan of that practice since i can get most lines just as clean with a cable and blade for a fraction of the cost.

Edit: heres a post i did a few years back shows the drum cable blades i used back when i used a drum machine

 

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..............I was initially taught to send either a bulb auger or spear down to punch a hole or bring back a sample, then select the appropriate cutter or auger for the job...................
EXACTLY.

Don't want to bite off more than you can chew.

I start with a single crescent head and then work up from there. Never know what you're going to find. Even with just a crescent I've gotten balls of roots or wipes so big I couldn't pull them back through a fitting or through the transition from 4" to 3". That is a boner.
 
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Only running a 2” cutter I consider a “hole puncher”, not a drain cleaner. I start with the largest cutter I can fit in my point of access. A 4” clean out gets a 3.5” cutter to start. 3” access gets a 2.5 cutter. I run with a kink on the end, about 22° or so. You can clean better and more efficiently with a kink scraping the walls. I carry every cutter except hole saws. I got stuck using one early on and haven’t tried one since.
Every line is different. You need to feel what the line needs. I start big, drop in size and work my way back up.
 

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Back in the day, when I was clearing drains, I alway was told to start with a spade/diamond head, for residential main drains, which was usually 4” clay.
if it cleared great.. run the camera..
If the cables came back with roots, then use the “Root” or “C” cutter one size smaller then the drain- ie: 4” drain use a 3” root cutter. but have one cable where the first 2” are slightly kinked like a hockey stick. Then feed the cable in slowly near the blockage.
The idea/thinking was the kink would help the 3”cutter - loosely cut roots, but has less of a chance of getting stuck in shifted or broken clay pipes or joints.
after that, camera the drain and dig up ...balh balh balh.. etc.

this is what I was taught (from a few dif company’s) in the mid 90’s to early 2000’s... things are prob way dif now, and the fact that there is a lot of dif exp/advice form many guys here my input is prob outdated or wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We use Spartan 300s with 100' of .55 cable on the trucks. I've had at least one guy tell me to only use the 2" because he didn't want to cable to get stuck. I suspect most of the trucks only have the 2" cutter because the rest have gotten lost and the driver doesn't bother asking for a new cable tool kit.

I've done my fair share of drains before I started this job. When I did facility maintenance we had a K-400 and an older 1hp Electric Eel open drum. So its mildly annoying to be told to just use the 2" and then call for the jetter.
 

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I used to snake 6" clay sewers full of roots with a 300 machine 5/8" cable and a 6" cutter blade,
I always started with the biggest blade to fit in the clean out, Only used a single blade cutter to get though certain
main lines,
Once used a 2" cutter on a main line that got so buried in roots burned the clutch out of a truck trying to pull cable out,
had to dig up at the street 6' deep to find 6" sewer totally clogged with roots and cable and blade buried in them
 

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I am using a K60.
Got a Ramekin stuck in the drain (Outback Steakhouse)
Pull it out, or break it up?
Which head would you use?

In route to job so quick replies get a gold star.
 

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Only when he needs advice on really hard aggravating impossible jobs does he come here to get the answers,lololololoololo,use the drum and throw that sectional machine over the bluff
Here in Florida we do a lot of residential snake jobs thru the roof vents. There ain't no way I'm hauling a drum up on the roof.
 

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Here in Florida we do a lot of residential snake jobs thru the roof vents. There ain't no way I'm hauling a drum up on the roof.
Ain't no way I'm getting on a roof!

I do rarely, if it's clean, dry, and warm. But never with a snake, only the camera.
 

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I never heard of someone going on a roof here, too high and too steep and too dangerous.
Down here we have tons of old Florida Cracker style houses. Single story, Slab on grade, with a 2-1/2 on 12 pitch roof.... the eave is just under 8 foot high and its like walking on a sidewalk.
 
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