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Drain Cleaning Tips

Read these 12 Drain Cleaning Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Pressure Washers tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What is a hydrostatic line tester?

Hydrostatic Line Testers

Hydrostatic line testers are used to test pipes for any leaks or loss of integrity. Once a closed pipeline is established, water is pumped in and the pressure is set to see if there are any leaks or degradations. This immediately lets you know where the weak points in the pipes and plumbing system are so they can be addressed quickly to avoid future problems.

If you find yourself using a hydrostatic line tester in very small or enclosed spaces, or areas where there is an abundance of flammable materials in close proximity, a pneumatic hydrostatic test pump is the safest bet. This way you cannot ignite any sparks or flammable materials with an electric system. They are also very lightweight and easy to carry, making them the ideal line testers when portability is an important issue.

Most hydrostatic systems are built to be extremely durable and last for a long time. Because of the nature of their use, they are also designed to be resistant to most chemicals as well as rust. But that does not mean you should be anything less than thorough when cleaning and storing these systems. You should still keep them stored in clean spaces and avoid prolonged storage in extreme temperatures or moisture.

How do I deal with a protruding tap?

Using a Protruding Tap Cutter With Your Sewer Jetter

Sometimes the sewer pipes of a building are connected to the main sewer line by cutting a hole in the main, and then inserting the pipe. But if the lateral pipe is inserted too far into the main, it won't drain properly. This is called a protruding tap, or protruding service, and it can be a problem in main drain cleaning. You can use a protruding tap cutter, an attachment with a special cutting bit, to cut through the protruding tap, leaving only a short stub. This restores the line to normal flow, and you can then use the sewer jetter with the usual drain cleaning nozzle to complete the drain cleaning services. When using the tap cutter, you may find it cuts better with a lower engine speed. Just keep the cutting steady, and soon you will be back to main drain cleaning instead of tap cutting.

When should hydrostatic testing be performed?

Hydrostatic Line Testers

Hydrostatic line testers allow you pump water into a closed off section of your pipeline, set the pressure, and see if there are leaks in that segment of the pipeline. Hydrostatic line testers are often used after performing sewer jetter services to make sure the pipes were not damaged in the process, but there are other times hydrostatic testing is useful. After construction or sewer installation projects, a contractor will use a hydrostatic line tester on the new pipe system, to make sure it is functioning correctly. If you have any doubts about a particular system you are working on, hydrostatic testing for inherent flaws in the system could be quite revealing..You shouldn't take the blame for "damaging" a faulty pipe or a flawed system!

Should I use a combination of nozzles for drain cleaning?

Nozzle Combos

Are you using your sewer jetter nozzles effectively? Sometimes the best way to clean a sink drain is to use a combination of nozzles. If you have a line that is clogged with heavy grease, start with a grenade nozzle to break up the blockage, then flush the material out with a rotating nozzle. For larger pipes, use an industrial penetrator nozzle to loosen debris, and follow up with a flushing nozzle. One way to prevent excessive wear and tear on your sewer jetter nozzle is by using a metal protector called a skid. Worn out sewer jetter nozzles may not produce the correct amount of pressure, reducing the effectiveness of your drain cleaning.

How should I protect my sewer jetter during the winter?

Using a Sewer Jetter in Below Freezing Temperatures

When it's could outside, keep your sewer jetter drain cleaner in a heated area. When the temperature drops below freezing, unprotected pump heads, hoses, and other parts of your drain cleaner can be permanently damaged. If you don't have heated storage for your drain cleaning equipment, cut a two-foot long piece of garden hose with a connector on one end. Attach it to the hose fitting on the sewer jetter. Hold the hose upward and use a funnel to pour in a mixture of half water and half antifreeze. Cycle the motor until antifreeze comes out of the water outlet. If you store your gear in an unheated area, it's best to repeat this process after every drain cleaning job done in the cold weather season. Your drain cleaning machines will survive the winter intact.

Is the wheel and handle kit worth it?

Wheel & Handle Kits

No hydrostatic line tester is truly portable until you have added a wheel and handle kit to the mix. They truly make portability a non-issue and save you the back pains of trying to lift the hydrostatic pump and carry it from one test site to the next.

The wheel and handle kit available through is known as the “Back Saver.” The tires are made from polyurethane foam and can boast twice the strength of rubber. Despite the rugged strength of the tires, the are soft enough to absorb vibrations to protect both you and the system. Simply put, you would have to make a conscious effort to try and get a flat with these tires; and you probably still would not be able to.

The wheel and handle kit is available in three sizes: small, standard and large. It is also extremely easy to attach and does not block or in any way obstruct your access and view of the controls on the pump itself.

I'm a pressure washer contractor and would like to add drain cleaning to my business. Is this feasible?

Add Drain Cleaning to Your Services

If you're a pressure washer contractor and you're considering adding a drain cleaner to your business, not only is it feasible, it's a smart business move. You'll find a great deal of business from home owners, property management firms, municipalities, and businesses who will have plumbing lines needing cleaning. Since you already have a working knowledge of pressure washers, adding a sewer jetter will round out your business and bring you additional clientele.

What size hose attachments should I use for my drain cleaner?

Hose Attachments for your Drain Cleaner

The drain jetter hose is the perfect tool to use with your drain cleaner to help clear out those clogged pipes. The size of hose you use with your drain cleaner will depend on the pipe you're cleaning. Here's a chart to help you get the right hose for the job:

Pipes to 4" – Use a 1/8" jetter hose
Pipes to 6" - Use a 1/4" jetter hose
Pipes to 10" – Use a 3/8" jetter hose
Pipes to 12" – Use a 1/2" jetter hose

Are drain cleaners profitable items for rental facilities?

Drain Cleaners Are Top Rental Items

According to a recent survey by the American Rental Association, drain cleaners are among the top five rental items in the equipment rental industry. A leading home improvement and hardware retailer has even reported drain cleaning equipment to be among their most rented items. This piece of equipment has year round use and is economy proof. There is always a client who needs plumbing services. So if you have a rental center and are considering items to add to your business, it would be a wise move to add a drain cleaner to your equipment list.

I need a drain cleaner that I can move from location to location. What do you recommend?

A Drain Cleaner You Can Really Move

You don't have to be stuck leaving your drain cleaner at one job site, only to need it at another location. Sewer jetters come available with a trailer to make transporting your drain cleaner easy and efficient. These units are perfect for scheduled cleanings as part of preventative maintenance because of their transportability. Whether you need a model to clean soap scum, grease, and hair or for root cutting and corrosion removal, you'll be sure to find a model suited to your needs.

What is sewer drain jetting?

Sewer Drain Jetting

Sometimes hair, mineral deposits, and food will clog your drainage pipes. A special pressure washer called a sewer jetter is an efficient and cost effective drain cleaner. Sewer drain jetting is the process of clearing out those clogs with a sewer jetter. By sending high pressure water at a force of up to 2,500 to 4,000 PSI down the drain at a rate of 3-20 GPM, the sewer jetter clears out clogs with a sewer drain nozzle. This sewer drain nozzle makes its way down the pipe to clean out the blockages.

Is there a pressure washer that cleans drains?

The Drain Cleaner

Is your plumbing backed up? There's a pressure washer designed to solve your plumbing woes. The sewer jetter is a drain cleaner that will unclog your pipes and have the water flowing like normal again. Using a process called sewer drain jetting, these pressure washers will clean drainage pipes connecting sinks and bathtubs, even at long distances. Whether you have minor sediment deposits or lines clogged with roots, these units can fix the problem.

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