You’ve been running your favorite trusty drain cleaning machine for years without incident. Sure, you maintain it and keep it in good working order, and you probably have a few tricks up your sleeve to work around that kink in the cable or that funny bump that happens every so often. But how do you know when it’s time to replace your drain cable? And how do you decide which style cable would be best?

Time for a New Cable

Signs to look for in a worn-out drain cable are a loss of rigidity, loose action, or failure in a line. When a cable gets a “noodley” feeling, it’s probably time to replace it. Despite your best efforts to take care of your cable, weird things happen, so if you encounter a kinked cable or a pulled-apart section of the spring, your best bet is to scrap the damaged cable and get a new one, or cut off the damaged part and splice good sections together.

For many drain techs, priority features in equipment are dependability and durability, made in the USA products and a fair price. Cable made from virgin steel will hold up better as it twists, stretches and recoils through hundreds of uses. Multi-metal “spring steel” does not have this property and won’t last as long or perform as well. Rigorously tested products and a no-nonsense warranty are pluses for most buyers. You won’t find these features just anywhere, so be sure to shop around for the right supplier.

What’s Your Cable Style?

  • Hollow core cable is the industry standard, and the favorite among many drain technicians. It is flexible, can navigate multiple bends, and won’t flip, bird-nest or bundle up in the line.
  • Inner core cables have a nylon strand inside that works against cable kinking and breakage. The nylon inner core gives more life to the cable at a small cost and doesn’t add much weight. Many drain techs like to use inner core cable on long, straight runs for more intense clog-busting ability compared to a hollow core cable.
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