Questions to Consider Before Investing in a High-Speed Drain Cleaning Machine

In certain situations, a high-speed drain cleaning machine can help with productivity, cleaning effectiveness and post-job cleanup

Questions to Consider Before Investing in a High-Speed Drain Cleaning Machine

Jeff Albertini

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High-speed drain cleaning machines have been getting attention recently as a fast way to clear drainlines wall to wall, while also being able to simultaneously have a camera in-pipe.

If you’re considering whether to purchase this new technology for your business, here are some answers to questions you may have before committing to the investment. 

What are the benefits of high-speed drain cleaning compared to other methods?

High-speed drain cleaning offers the unique benefits of both productivity and pipe cleaning efficacy. Simultaneous camera usage when in-pipe saves time, while the chain knocker attachments utilized with the machine clean pipes from wall to wall.

The machines also provide quick setup and cleanup, thanks to the cable spinning inside of a nylon sheath that results in less spatter. This time savings allows for additional jobs during the day and a quick return on investment. The wall-to-wall clean also allows an upcharge opportunity through the offering of warranties on drainlines.

What should I be aware of when switching from traditional to high-speed drain cleaning?

There is a learning curve when switching from traditional drain cleaning cable to a high-speed cable. Understanding speed and finesse is key to having the machine last and optimizing your return.

Keeping water running and cleaning from downstream are also key as this keeps the end of the cable spinning as freely as possible. One more important piece of information for models requiring a drill is drill settings: Be sure to follow the recommended settings in the manual so the drill and high-speed cable work safely and effectively.

What are basic chain knockers to have and their use?

Two basic types of chain knockers to invest in initially are standard and carbide chain knockers. Standard chain knockers are ideal for softer-walled pipes (i.e. PVC) and soft blockages like grease, and carbide chain knockers can be used in harder-walled pipes (i.e. cast iron) to clean smaller roots as well as scale. 

What specialty chain knockers are good to invest in once you have the basics?

Penetrating chain knockers are a great addition once you get through the learning curve of high-speed cables. This will allow the chain head to engage in a fully closed pipe and begin opening the line and eventually clean wall to wall. Additional suggestions for selecting the right chain knocker can be found here

Are there situations in which high-speed drain cleaning shouldn’t be used?

High-speed drain cleaning thrives on speed, not torque. Any blockages like heavy, dense roots or harder substances that require torque to break through require a more traditional drain cleaning machine. 

About the Author

Jeff Albertini is a global marketing manager at RIDGID, a manufacturer of more than 300 dependable and innovative tools, trusted by professional trades in over 100 countries. Learn more at  


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