Drain Cleaning Part #152548

Drain Cleaning

Before you can repair or replace any drain, you will first need to properly clean the drain by using either a chemical drain cleaner or a machine drain cleaner. With the right drain cleaning tools and supplies, you and your staff can keep your drains running while saving thousands of dollars on expensive outside help.

Use our 4-step guide to get started

Drain Cleaning in 4 steps
1. Choose the Right Rooter Machine
Match the rooter machine's cable diameter to the drain using the chart below.
Cable Application Chart
Drain Line Size Typical Fixture Cable Diameter
1-1/4" - 2" Small Sink, Tub/Shower, Roofstacks 1/4" or 5/16"
2" - 3" Medium Inside Drain Lines 3/8"
3" - 4" Medium Main Line (no roots) 1/2"
3" - 6" Medium/Large Main Line 5/8"
4" - 10" Large Toilets/Main Line 3/4"
1-1/4" - 3" Small/Medium Sink, Tub/Shower, Roofstacks 5/8" (Sectional)
2" - 4" Medium/Large Toilets & Main Line 7/8" (sectional)
2. Select the Right Blade Cutters
Use the best cutter blade style for the blockage problem.
Blade Cutter Application Chart
Drain Line Size Problem Cutter Blade
Medium Starting Drill Arrow Head
Medium Cutting/Scraping Side, Cutters, U-Cutters, Boring Gimlets
Medium Removing Loose Objects Small Retrieving Tool
Large Starting Drill Spearhead
Large Cutting/Scraping Saw Blades, ClogChopper
Large Removing Loose Objects Large Retrieving Tool
3. Work Slowly
Never force the drain cleaning cable into the line. The drain blades and cutters should move freely.
4. Clean Your Machine
After each use, wash the cable and apply oil to prevent rust.

Drain Cleaning Troubleshooting Tips

Cable Is Not Getting Around Bends

  1. Cable diameter may be too large for the pipe.
  2. Cutting tip may be too large for the pipe.

Cable Is Kinking or Breaking

  1. Cable diameter may be too small and cable is doubling back in the line, causing problems.
  2. Cable is being forced instead of carefully being worked back and forth through the stoppage.

Cable Has Become Brittle Between Uses

  1. Cable was exposed to chemicals in the pipe and was not properly cleaned and oiled after use.

Cable Is Not Feeding Properly (Machines with Power Cable Feed)

  1. One or more of the feed rollers is not turning properly and may need to be cleaned and greased.
  2. One or more of the feed rollers is worn out and needs to be replaced. (Note: It is recommended to replace all three rollers at the same time.)

Shop Drain Cleaning Products

Drain Repair

The quickest and easiest way to replace a drain is with the Watco NuFit Tub Drain Repair kit. It fits all standard bathtub drains and covers the existing tub drain body flange up to 2 78" in diameter. Installation is simple, only requiring an adapter pin or adhesive.

Find additional products from Watco for all your drain repair needs

Plumbing Legislation

Stay informed and compliant on legislation related to plumbing products.

Lead-Free Drinking Water

Energy Standards for Water Heaters

NOX Emisions Standards for Water Heaters

Water Conservation

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