Subscribe to our newsletters & stay updated
Maybe you need a huge annual loss for tax purposes. Maybe you have more money than you know what to do with. Or maybe you crave the sights, smells and sounds of dead or dying machines.
Then read on for five easy ways to speed up the equipment damage and destruction you seek!
1. Ride tools hard — and put them away wet. Start by tossing your drain cleaning machines and snakes into the back of your truck as soon as the job is over — and let ’em marinate there!
Forget cleaning the equipment. And whatever you do, never put lubricant on your cables. Don’t give your tools a second thought until the next drain cleaning job.
I’m sure they’ll look as good as new the next time you use them!
2. Hit those clogs — hard. Turn your drain cleaning cable into a battering ram. Force it down the drain — and against the clog — as hard as you can!
Or better yet, if your machine has a power feed, slam the feed control lever into “forward,” press the foot pedal to the metal, and leisurely check your social media.
No problems there!
3. Show stoppages who’s in charge.Never use a starting tool; slap the biggest, baddest cutter on the end of your cable, ram that snake down the drain and hope for the best.
After all, size matters in this line of work. And you’re showing Mr. Clog who’s boss!
4. Never use anti-freeze in water jetters during winter. Hey! It takes way too much time, anyway. And, after all, time is money!
Besides, if you drive really, really fast to and from jobsites — and only do the bare minimum when clearing lines — you can have that high-pressure water jet back in your heated garage before the pump head has a chance to freeze.
5. Make that camera head earn
its keep. Why use a $30 cutting tool to clear pipe obstructions when a $3,000 camera head will do?
After all, that camera head is already in the line. And the hunk of concrete you’re looking at probably only needs a teeny, tiny nudge to push it aside.
What could possibly go wrong?
Back to the real world
Quite a bit if you do any of the above. So don’t!
Truth is, few of us can risk damaging equipment for tax breaks alone. Or because we have money to burn. Or because we enjoy trashing costly tools.
Instead, vast numbers of plumbing, maintenance and drain cleaning contractors follow the recommended and established operational and maintenance practices:
Protect equipment investments.
Optimize customer service.
Boost company profitability.
Those professionals need reliable, properly functioning tools. And proper equipment upkeep does just that, helping preserve livelihoods and reputations as well.
The Breakage Bell Curve
In nearly 100 years of worldwide service to plumbing, maintenance and drain cleaning professionals, General Pipe Cleaners has found that our customers often fall on the Bell Curve of Breakage — a probability predictor of how often they break their stuff.
In statistics, a bell curve graph illustrates a normal distribution — a situation with few folks on one end of a spectrum, some on the other end, and many in the middle.
For example, when we first started selling sewer camera systems, we saw that some operators never broke their units, others seemed to break them every week, and most fell somewhere between those extremes.
Proper attitude underpins success
When we asked users who never seemed to break their equipment how they did it, all said they were very particular about how they treated their machines.
That, they claimed, made all the difference in equipment longevity.
And not only their cameras but everything they owned; those professionals respected all their equipment:
1. Learn equipment capabilities. First, those contractors purposely stayed within the functional design limits of the devices they operated. For instance, they never forced push rods or snakes or jetter hoses down lines with brute force.
Instead, they methodically displayed patience and care when operating tools. They took time to learn the true capabilities of their equipment, and they always operated their investments within commonsense limits.
2. Exceed recommended maintenance measures. Second, contractors routinely exceeded manufacturers’ baseline maintenance recommendations.
Because dirt and moisture remain archenemies of drain cleaning tools, they subsequently stored their machines in dry, clean, safe spaces.
Recently, I wrote a blog on an Indiana plumber who bought one of our cable machines in 2003 — and is still using the original snakes!
When I hear stories like this, my first response tends to be: Is this a learned behavior or a character trait? Can I train myself and my staff to get the same results?
The answers? Yes, this is a learned behavior, and yes, training will help.
In fact, we’ve found that encouraging best practices and modeling correct tool usage among work crews can make huge differences in extending the lives of your equipment investments.
And that extends to every weapon in your drain cleaning arsenal.
Without properly functioning sewer cables, the machines that power them — however expensive, however capable — would prove useless: No functioning cables, no blockage removal.
So, it follows that proper maintenance of each component in the drain cleaning process — snakes, in this case — remains critical to the whole process.
Use proper lubricants
For example, savvy professionals insist on specially developed lubricants for drain cleaning tasks to preserve and protect sewer cables from rust.
That’s because the best formulas contain special rust inhibitors to cut through ever-present moisture — and provide snakes with a corrosion-resistant coating.
Better and more effective than off-the-shelf lubricants, they also create a virtually nonstick surface to keep mud and debris from adhering to cables and equipment — extending the lives and improving the performance of both.
One perennially popular, easy-to-use product is General’s Snake-Oil Classic. Pour some into the machine’s cable drum and rotate the container, letting the oil contact as much cable as possible. Then drain off the excess and allow the cable to air-dry.
Drain cleaning snakes and machines — including drums, bearings and power cable feeds — will enjoy significantly extended life.
So, why is all this important?
Imagine if you only broke half as many snakes as you do now.
Imagine your camera system only spends half as much time in the shop as it does now.
Imagine that you got twice the life out of your jetter hoses as you currently do.
Moving you and your staff to the far, positive end of the Bell Curve of Breakage could save you thousands of dollars per year in lost revenues — as well as downtime and headaches.
Unless, of course, you like burning money.
Dave Dunbar is the national sales manager for General Pipe Cleaners.