Auger Designed by Plumbers Takes Less Strain on Your Back

Tool’s ergonomic design minimizes back strain, fatigue associated with cleaning hard-to-access drainlines

Auger Designed by Plumbers Takes Less Strain on Your Back

Ben Kohn, owner of From Sinks to Sewers in Ventura, California, uses the Ergo Auger to clean out a sink drainline. (Photo courtesy of From Sinks to Sewers)

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As a middle-aged licensed plumber who mostly cleans and inspects drains along with performing minor plumbing repairs, Ben Kohn — the owner of From Sinks to Sewers in Ventura, California — is keenly interested in any tool that reduces fatigue and job-related aches and pains.

As such, the Ergo Auger is just what the doctor ordered. This drain cleaning unit essentially shifts the weight of a conventional auger drum from the operator’s arms to a single aluminum leg that, in effect, does all the heavy lifting. Furthermore, the handle and trigger are situated on top of the cable drum, instead of behind it like a traditional pistol-grip auger, which also promotes ease of operation.

“It’s by far the best drain gun I’ve ever used,” says Kohn, age 40, who established his business in 2010 and serves customers within roughly a 30-mile radius around Ventura. “When I’m on my knees snaking out a drain under a sink, I’m not hurting my back. I’m a little bit older now and being in that awkward position really sucks.

“You don’t think about things like this when you’re young,” he adds. “When you’re in your 20s, it’s no big deal to reach under a kitchen sink while on your knees, holding a 10-pound flywheel for 20 minutes or so, and do that four or five times a day.”

Kohn says that when working on tough clogs that required prolonged augering, his back would hurt so much that he’d lean his forehead up against the cabinet to relieve the pressure on his back. “But with the Ergo Auger, it’s now a piece of cake,” he says.

FOCUSED ON THE JOB AT HAND

Moreover, the tool allows him to focus less on the balancing act required to ease back strain and more on the feel of the cable as it spins its way down the drainline. It also prevents the spinning drum from hitting a forearm. “It was designed and built by plumbers,” Kohn points out. “That’s the big difference.”

The patented unit weighs about 4 1/2 pounds (without a drum) and includes an injection-molded plastic housing affixed atop an aluminum leg with a rubber cap on the bottom. Double insulated and ETL listed, the tool features a 120-volt, 60 Hz variable-speed motor that generates up to 720 rpm and a 3/8-inch-diameter by 24-thread-per-inch spindle that’s compatible with most popular auger-manufacturers’ drums, either with or without autofeed. It can hold up to 35 feet of 5/16-inch-diameter cable and is designed to clean 1 1/4- to 2-inch-diameter drains.

If the tool doesn’t perform as expected, it can be returned within 30 days for a full refund, as long as it’s in good condition. But the company will not pay for the return-shipping costs. (For details about which manufacturers’ drums are compatible with the Ergo Auger, as well as product-return criteria, visit www.ergoauger.com.)

Kohn first learned about the tool while browsing through an online forum for plumbers. “Everyone on the forum was giving the inventors (Dan and Jordan Beesley, plumbers and the co-owners of Millcreek Plumbing in Salt Lake City) grief about it,” he recalls. “But as a guy who likes to invent things, I sympathized with them. So I figured I’d give it a shot and they sent me a prototype to test.

“I’m used to people discrediting new ideas, so I tried going into it with no expectations,” he adds. “With a few refinements, that machine is now gold.”

USE YOUR OWN DRUM

Using the Ergo Auger is completely intuitive, so plumbers will not have to learn a totally different skill in order to operate it. “You just remove the drum from your current auger or buy a used one and put it on the Ergo Auger,” Kohn says. “So you remain comfortable with what you are already familiar with. You’re using the same drum as always, just with a better, reconfigured design.”

Does the unit make Kohn more productive? Absolutely, he says, although he concedes it’s difficult to quantify. “How do you put a value or price on something that makes you feel better?” he asks. “All I know is that my back doesn’t hurt the way it used to.

“So now when I move on to the next job, I’m not thinking about how sore my back is,” he explains. “I can keep cleaning drains quickly because when I’m on, say, my fifth drain of the day, I’m still focused on the cable in the drain, not on my back.”

In terms of a return on investment, the Ergo Auger sells for about $250 and Kohn says it’s a great value, noting he’s willing to pay good money for tools that work and deliver the goods as promised.

“We plumbers work super hard for our money and to provide for our families,” he says. “So any innovation that helps us work longer and better and remain productive, I’ll take it.

“With the Ergo Auger, it’s like someone is sitting next to you and holding the machine for you,” he adds. “I wish this would’ve come along when I was younger — maybe my back wouldn’t hurt as much.”



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