Drain Cable Machine Becomes a Go-To Tool for Texas Plumber

Spartan 100 cable machine keeps drains flowing — and revenue, too.

Drain Cable Machine Becomes a Go-To Tool for Texas Plumber

   Greenwize Plumbing technician Joe Patten cleans a residential drain line using a Spartan Tool 100 cable drain machine with the cable drum tilted upward toward the raised cleanout for a better working angle for the cable. (Photo courtesy Greenwize Plumbing)

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Working for many plumbing and drain cleaning companies taught David Meyers a lot of things that have served him well as the owner of Greenwize Plumbing in Austin, Texas. One chief lesson: You get what you pay for, so don’t skimp when you invest in equipment.

That explains why one of the first pieces of equipment Meyers bought was a compact Spartan Tool 100 cable drain machine.

“I bought it about five years ago, right after I started my company,” he says. “I’ve been using them for decades while working for various companies, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Spartan drain machines are the best ones out there.

“It cost just under $3,000, but you have to spend money to make money,” he continues. “That machine paid for itself after six months. Some guys just don’t want to spend the money, but I figure if a machine gets the job done faster and more efficiently, that’s what we go with.”

There are plenty of reasons why Meyers likes the Spartan 100. For starters, its compact design (the unit measures 18 inches wide by 17 inches tall by 19 inches deep) and 55-pound weight makes it easy to transport and get into tight spaces.

“If we can’t get access anywhere else, we often take out the cable and carry it up onto roofs to go down through a vent,” he notes.

The 115-volt, 1.4-amp electric motor provides plenty of power for a smaller drain machines. And when it encounters a tough clog, it senses the need for more power and automatically provides it.

“The motor is badass,” he says “I’ve never had a problem with it.”

Furthermore, the unit is very durable and requires little maintenance, he says.

BETTER PRODUCTIVITY, PROFITABILITY

But the bottom line is it unclogs lines, quickly and efficiently.

“This machine gets the job done without any problems,” says Meyers. “It has plenty of power. If you know what you’re doing, you’re in and out of jobs in 30 minutes or so, which allows us to do more jobs per day.

“I’ve tried several other brands of drain machines, and this one just makes things so simple and fast.”

The Spartan 100 is designed to handle lines from 1 1/4 to 4 inches in diameter. It comes with either 75 feet of 1/2-inch-diameter cable or 100 feet of 5/16-inch-diameter cable. An independent rotating inner drum helps prevent cable kinking and a direct-drive feature offers a cable-saving slip clutch.

But one feature that really pays big dividends is an adjustable drum that can be fixed at any working angle between zero and 90 degrees, Meyers says.

“If you have a cleanout that’s located higher off the floor, you can tilt the drum up that way and if the cleanout is really low, you just position the drum completely upright,” he explains. “It allows you work at an angle that helps the cable work more effectively,” he adds. “It makes you wonder why more drain machines don’t offer this feature.”

VERSATILE MACHINE

While Greenwize focuses primarily on residential service and repair work, Meyers — unlike many other plumbers — also embraces drain cleaning to diversify his services and generate an additional revenue stream. He says the Spartan 100 — which he uses mostly on sink, tub and shower drains — is a great entry-level drain machine because of its power, effectiveness and versatility.

But there are times when the Model 100 punches above its weight to handle large clogs in bigger diameter pipes, Meyers notes.

“We keep the 1065 in the shop because it takes up a lot of room in a van,” he says. “So sometimes I give the 100 a try first, and if that doesn’t work, I go get the 1065.

“I’ve unstopped a bunch of mainline sewers with the 100 because it’s so powerful and the cable is so rigid.”

As an example of the machine’s capabilities, Meyers cites a hamburger chain outlet that had a recurring problem with grease clogs in 4-inch diameter PVC pipe. After several other plumbers failed, Greenwize got the call, he says.

“It took us about two hours, but we kept going at it with a ‘grease spoon,’” he recalls. “There were several two- to three-foot-long sections of the pipe that were clogged solid with grease.

“We could feel it was making progress, so we just kept working it.

“A lot of plumbers will give it one shot, then leave when they can’t unclog the line,” he continues. “But we kept giving it the old college try and finally broke through.”

SOLID INVESTMENT

The company, which employs three people and serves the greater Austin area, also owns other Spartan equipment, including a compact Traveler pipeline-inspection camera system and a beefier Model 1065 designed for 3- to 10-inch-diameter lines.

To Meyers, owning Spartan equipment is a sign that a plumber or drain cleaner has made it in the industry.

“You know you’ve made it big-time when you own a Spartan 100 or 1065,” he says. “I’ve used other brands of drain machines, but when I bought that first 100, I never looked back.

“I wouldn’t recommend anything else but Spartan machines,” he adds. “Why wouldn’t you want to work with the best equipment around?”  



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