Electric Drain Cleaner




Introduction: Electric Drain Cleaner

When your drains really block up then you need to be able to cut though the blockage. It is usually caused by a build up of fat and hair.
The hand driven drain cleaner from a hardware store will only work effectively over a short distance.
Plumbers have a powered device called an Electric Eel that will cut through almost anything.
This version is similar  but  smaller. And you can make it.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Parts Needed

A hand drain cleaner from a hardware store,
a length of half inch irrigation piping that is about the same length as the "worm" inside the drain cleaner,
an electric drill, preferably a battery powered on (they have a slower running speed),
a sharp knife, like a box cutter, to cut the above piping to length,
gloves to keep you hands clean and protected from the stuff in the drain..

Step 2: Removing the "worm" From the Cleaner -1

Slacken the holding knob for the inner "worm" of the pipe cleaner:

Step 3: Removing the "worm" From the Cleaner -2

Pull out all of the inner spring "worm":

Step 4: Pipe Length

Cut the length of the1/2 inch irrigation pipe so that it is 5 to 6 inches less than the total length of the spring "worm".

Step 5: Insert the Worm

Push the thin end of the worm into the piping.
If it becomes too stiff as you proceed shake the piping to free up the worm.
You can pour water into the piping for lubrication. This will make it easier to push the worm through.
The worm must be pushed all of the way through to the end of the piping.

Step 6: Adding the Drill

Insert the thin end of the worm into the drill and lock it in place .

Step 7: Using the Electric Cleaner

You are now ready to start using the electric drain cleaner.

Put on the gloves to protect you hands.

Open up the inspection point of the drain and insert the cutter end of the cleaner into the pipe.
If you have the cutter end slightly bent as shown them it will go around bends in the drain pipe much easier.
It also will cut a wider hole as it goes.

Step 8: Cleaning the Pipe Out

As you push the outer of the irrigation piping into the drain pipe you will eventually meet the blockage.
This will be felt as a resistance to the movement in of the piping.
Start up the electric drill.
You will hear a clunking sound as the cutter end rotates and bangs against the side of the drain pipe.
Slowly push the cleaner in.
Listen to the sound of the clunking.
If it slows down too much or stops then back off a little and pull the cleaner back a short distance.
Then slowly push forward again.
You will quickly find out the right amount of push needed on the cleaner to cut through the obstruction.

Step 9: Hints for Use

If the blockage is hard fat then it will work best of you jiggle the cleaner in and out a small amount.
Then slowly push forward, making sure that the clunking sound doesn't stop completely.
If it does the spring inner will wind up and could jam.

The speed of progress through the blockage will depend on how hard the material in the jam is.
I have found that hard fat takes the longest and can be as slow as one tenth of an inch per minute.

Take note of the point where the cleaner first meets the blockage as you will need to cut back and forth several times through that area to completely clear it.

 When you have reached the far end of the blockage the cleaner will move forward more freely.
Pull the cleaner slowly back again until you reach the start of the blockage and move forward again.

You can control the length of the cuter end by how much of the spring end is showing at the drill end.
The more showing at the drill end then the smaller will be the hole that the cutter makes in the blockage.

When you have cut through the blockage push the drill forward so the there is no spring showing and pull the piping back through the blockage area to make the largest diameter cut and so clear out all of the blockage.

Step 10: Finishing

When you have finished cutting through the blockage, remove the electric drill from the end of the cleaner. Pull of the entire length of the cleaner from the drain pipe and put to one side.
It will be dirty with material from the blockage so be careful not to get it on any of your skin.

Pour water down the drain from the sink or shower or bath inlet so that the cleaned and cut rubbish will flow clear down the drain.

Wash down the cleaner and either roll up and store as it is or remove the inner from the piping and push back into the manual cleaner housing.

Be the First to Share


    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest
    • Silly Hats Speed Challenge

      Silly Hats Speed Challenge
    • Finish It Already Speed Challenge

      Finish It Already Speed Challenge

    2 Discussions


    6 years ago on Step 5

    I have a 50 foot worm and a drum I made with 3 legs, 2 long ones and 1 short one to set level on the sloped roof. I crank the drum by hand. I cleared a blockage between the kitchen sink and the big line exiting the house under the cement slab this morning. It still drains a little slow. I think my steel worm needs a bend on the front end like yours, but am afraid it will hang up and not come back out. What do you think?

    Doctor What
    Doctor What

    10 years ago on Introduction

     Cool mod!

    I once picked one of those up by the cord when I was a kid.  I nearly threw up when I found out what it was used for.