Strong, Durable and Easy to Maintain

Stemmle Plumbing Repair depends on the Duracable DM30 to get the job done.
Strong, Durable and Easy to Maintain
Technicians, from left, Gary Dickerson, Clay Wheeler and Chris Castlebury with Stemmle Plumbing Repair’s Duracable DM30 drain cleaning machines. (Photo courtesy of Stemmle Plumbing Repair)

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When it comes to productivity and durability, John Stemmle knows a good thing when he sees it. That's why his company, Stemmle Plumbing Repair Inc., in Richmond, Va., owns 17 Duracable DM30 cable drain cleaning machines – one for each of the company's service trucks.

Over the years, the Duracable machines have become an integral part of Stemmle Plumbing's operations, which breaks down into about 65 percent commercial work and the rest residential. The company uses the DM30s – equipped with a 1/2 hp, 200 rpm motor and designed for 2- to 6-inch-diameter lines – to clean residential and commercial lateral lines and septic tank lines, Stemmle says.

"We've had great success with the machines," he notes. "They're good-size machines – very powerful – and they require very little maintenance. We clean them and grease them, and aside from that, they're mostly maintenance free. We have some that are 10 years old and still run great. It's hard to determine exactly, but there's no doubt they've saved us thousands of dollars over the years in repairs and replacement parts.

"Drain cleaning is a big portion of our business – about one-third of our gross sales revenue – so that makes them pretty valuable pieces of equipment."

An easy-to-detach cable reel allows technicians to break down the DM30 into two pieces, which makes it easier for one technician to carry up and down stairs. Because it detaches so easily, the company generally can do jobs with just one technician where it otherwise might need two to carry heavy equipment.

"Instead of lifting one 200-pound piece of equipment up and down steps, they can carry two 100-pound pieces separately," Stemmle explains. "That reduces stress on our guys – keeps them from getting tired and minimizes injuries. We also have ramps on the sides of our trucks to minimize lifting-related injuries."

The detachable reel, which allows for easy cable size changes, also adds to the machine's versatility. Stemmle Plumbing usually uses 110 feet of 11/16-inch cable, but sometimes technicians switch to 1/2-inch cable to do smaller floor drains and pipes.

"That way, we don't have to buy additional machines dedicated to just floor drains," Stemmle notes. "Switching reels takes just a couple minutes and involves just one screw, so it's hassle free."

Stemmle also lauds the DM30's power retriever that pulls the cable back onto the reel. That helps technicians minimize fatigue and muscle strains stemming from pulling and tugging on the cable. Moreover, the blades can do a better, more uniform job of cleaning when retrieved at a steady pace, he says.

One of the DM30's strongest assets is durability. Stemmle says that many times, the drain cleaners run for three or four hours straight. As an example, he cites a 300-foot-long stretch of drain pipe at a local hospital that frequently clogs with debris, grease and soap scum that turns into sludge and gets trapped in pipes with "bellies" that don't drain well.

"The clean-out is by an entranceway to the outpatient surgery area," Stemmle says. "We have to work at night, cabling the line out to 300 feet, then using a sewer jetter that goes in through a manhole to push the debris out to the mainline in the street. Our DM30 runs for hours on that job, but we've never had a problem working on that line."

The DM30's durability also generates repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals because they rarely break down on a job. On-the-job breakdowns can damage a company's reputation, and makes customers who are already anxious about a sewer backup even more nervous, Stemmle points out.

"They're stressed out, wondering if you're going to come back and finish the job," he says. "Plus it prolongs the job – maybe it doubles or triples the time required to complete the task. Maybe you even have to bring out another technician who otherwise would be out generating revenue on another job.

"I've worked for companies where drain machines were in the shop almost as much as we used them," he adds. "It was extremely frustrating for the technicians and the customers. So when I decided to start my own company, I went out and purchased the best equipment I could find.

"These machines are invaluable to my business – strong and dependable," he concludes. "They don't let us down."



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