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Today’s post is a little different as we check out a new kind of product—DrainFunnel. Before we dive in, you should know that DrainFunnel was designed and developed by Justin Hillsten, a personal friend of mine.

DrainFunnel product feature - overall

DrainFunnel is a 3D-printed insert that installs in your drain and prevents hair from clogging on its way down. Their Kickstarter just launched last week, but it’s already well on its way to its goal.

Drain Funnel

Drain Funnel prototype (positioned on my hand for relative size)

Does your drain have a problem with hair? Read more about this innovative solution to a persistent problem.

The Design of the DrainFunnel

The design of the DrainFunnel is surprisingly simple.  It’s based on a flexible form that replaces the cover of your existing drain.

Unlike comparable products that are designed to catch hair, DrainFunnel provides a safe and effective way for hair to travel through the pipes and directly into the sewer. This approach eliminates the need to ever touch, clean out, or interact with the hair in any way.

DrainFunnel in use at tub

In form, it is a flexible piece of silicone-like material, that forms a cone of sorts. It has 6 linear openings that allow water to flow through, with a wide opening at the top and a narrow opening at the base (closest to the drain).

Bottom side of the DrainFunnel

Bottom side of the DrainFunnel

How Does the DrainFunnel Work?

The concept was based on the shortcoming of traditional drain systems, which use a metal insert that has a cross brace. When hair comes in contact with the cross-bracing, it frequently gets caught and tangles.

When the tangles become serve enough, the drain clogs until the water can no longer pass through freely.

DrainFunnel in action

DrainFunnel is designed to direct the hair down your drain, by only passing through one quadrant of the cross-brace. Simply unscrew your existing drain cover, pop in the drain funnel and watch the hair wash away.

Testing The DrainFunnel

In order to test the theory that water would, in fact, wash down the drain and not get stuck in the pipes, the product development team started testing. They installed the DrainFunnel on a bathroom and ran clear pipes from the tub to a spot where water could empty into a bucket, which it did.

 

3D printing prototype

3D printing prototype

Once the internal testing was complete, they mailed off 100 3D-printed prototypes to users who had the chance to try out the Drain Funnel in their own tubs and showers.

When that too was met with positive feedback, the team turned their efforts to their Kickstarter campaign which is currently still running.

DrainFunnel in a drain

DrainFunnel in a drain

Potential Setbacks

While the DrainFunnel is certainly a unique approach to a common problem, it does come with a few small setbacks.

  1. It’s only a prototype: Without crowd-funding or backing by a major investor, the progress in the production of the DrainFunnel is a bit slow before it makes it onto local shelves.
  2. It is not available in all drain sizes: Although 3D printing is relatively quick and inexpensive, this product still needs to be sized to the exact dimensions of your drain in order to be a proper fit. While they are experimenting with variable sizes, it’s possible that it might not be available in the exact size you need. In fact, this is what happened in our situation. Due to the unusual size of our drains, I was unable to fully test the DrainFunnel in my own home.
  3. It has not been tested for septic systems: A septic system is a separate tank that addresses everything that goes down any drain in the house. As septic system owners will know, it is never recommended to put anything besides toilet paper and waste into the septic system. Even though the hair may not tangle on its way down, because it cannot quickly decompose, it is generally unsafe in a septic tank and can cause some serious backlog.
Drain Funnel in a drain

The DrainFunnel situated in my master bathroom tub drain

Should You Buy the DrainFunnel?

So all the above considered, should you buy the DrainFunnel? This product is definitely cool and on the cusp of a really unique idea. If you have a lot of hair clogging up your current drains, and you do not own a septic system, the DrainFunnel could be a great option for you.

DrainFunnel in use

It feels a little foreign to allow the hair to flow down the train. The simple concept of it feels almost wrong, but after watching their experimentation with the tub pipes, hearing the testimony of DrainFunnel in beta testers’ homes, and seeing it in action for myself, it’s hard to see any real issue with the hair simply flowing through the pipes.

Update Coming – because the early DrainFunnel prototype didn’t fit any of our drains, we were unable to put it to the test. However, once the product formally launches we’ll get a DrainFunnel that fits and put this through our normal testing procedures.

If you’re interested in learning more about the DrainFunnel or to help fund this project and get one for yourself, you can check out their campaign on Kickstarter and also visit their site at DrainFunnel.com

Know of other cool home products that are just starting out and deserve a spotlight feature? Shoot us a message and tell us about it, you could see it featured next on Modern Castle.