Drain cleaning cable: function and correct application

Brief instructions for using the drain cleaning cable

  1. Dismantle siphon if necessary.
  2. Insert the drain cleaning cable into the drain or the pipe in the wall and push it with feeling until the drain blockage.
  3. Crank the drain cable clockwise while applying light pressure to the drain cable.
  4. Once the blockage is removed, carefully pull the drain cable out of the pipe. If the drain cable is hooked, do not pull on it, but crank it counterclockwise while pulling.
  5. Flush pipe vigorously, repeat application if necessary.

In general: If you lack experience in handling drain cleaning cables, they should be used very carefully. This is especially true for removing light blockages caused by paper, hair or grease. In the case of stubborn blockages, e.g. caused by foreign bodies or deposits that have grown over the years, there is a high risk of damage to the pipes if the drain cleaning cable is used improperly. They should only be carried out by a specialist.

Drain cleaning cables - properties and function

A drain cleaning cable can be used to mechanically loosen blockages in the pipelines. Drain cleaning cables are available in different diameters and lengths, depending on how small or large the pipeline is and how flexible it must be to be guided through bends. The drain cable can be used loosely by hand, or it can sit in a drain cleaning device. You can read about the advantages and disadvantages of this in our guide drain cleaning device or drain cleaning cable.

The drain cleaning cable works like a drill: the rotation is transferred to the tool in the tip by the spiral-shaped wire. The drain cable itself provides the flexibility needed to pass through bends in the pipe, while at the same time offering the necessary stability.

Drain cleaning cables are operated by hand in the DIY sector, more professional devices are electrically driven by drilling machines. This has the advantage of a higher speed and power transmission. Special drain cleaning machines are used for professional drain cleaning, as carried out by trained craftsmen. These bring the necessary power to remove heavy drain blockages caused by lime, urine scale, etc.

Correct use of a pipe cleaning spiral: Instructions for use

The drain cleaning cable is always guided as directly as possible to the drain blockage: If the blockage is behind the siphon, the siphon is first removed. If the drain blockage is located behind the toilet or urinal, it is removed first. This has the enormous advantage that the drain cleaning cable does not have to pass through narrow bends, such as the "U" of the siphon. At the same time it prevents damage to the siphon and the ceramic.

The drain cleaning cable is then pushed into the pipe until it meets the blockage. The rule here is always: proceed step by step and only use as much force as necessary! This protects the pipes and prevents damage! If you have the feeling that the drain cable is stuck somewhere in the pipe and, for example, cannot get around a bend, do not press it into the pipe by force under any circumstances.

Once the drain cable has reached the blockage, it is first carefully cranked by hand to get a feeling for the type of blockage. Slight blockages such as those caused by paper or hair can often be removed in this way. If you do not know the type of blockage, the drain cleaning cable should be pulled out of the pipe after the first light application. Often foreign bodies or residues are present in the tip of the drain cable, so that conclusions can be drawn about the type of blockage.

Depending on the result, it must then be checked whether the existing drain cleaning cable is sufficient or whether a larger or longer drain cleaning cable is necessary. An alternative drain cable tool may also be necessary at the end of the drain cleaning cable.

Loosen the stuck drain cleaning cable

If you feel that the drain cable is drilling itself tight, please do not try to turn it any further. There is a risk that the drain cleaning cable will bend or even break. It is also possible that the drain cable may "throw itself over" due to the build-up of tension in the pipe. The drain cable is then very difficult to pull out of the pipe.

If the drain cable is stuck, turn it counterclockwise to release the tool. If the drain cable loosens, turn further to the left and try to loosen the drain cable by pulling lightly.

If, despite these measures, the drain cleaning cable still sticks in the pipe and can no longer be released, you must call in a professional drain cleaner for help. He can, for example, use a camera to check where the drain cable gets stuck exactly. It may have thrown itself over and formed a kind of knot in itself that no longer fits through junctions. A professional drain cleaner can usually retrieve the drain cable from the pipe using special retrieving auger. As annoying as it may be, it is better to get professional help than to cause damage to the pipe, which requires the wall to be knocked down to repair it.

Finishing the drain cleaning by flushing

If the drain cleaning was successful, you should flush the pipe vigorously. However, first check whether the pipe is really free, otherwise you may create a backwater. The most effective way to flush the pipe is to let a large amount of water flow through the pipe at once. To do this, first fill up the sink, for example, before you let it drain out. The water flushes dissolved deposits out of the pipe and also dissolves residues on the pipe walls that you have loosened by your drain cleaning. Your drain should now work again without a wall.

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