plumber using electric drain snake

Drain Cleaning: What It Is & When You Need It

Unfortunately, clogged drains are nothing new for most homeowners. If you’re lucky, a plunger can solve the problem, but there are instances in which this simple tool can only do so much. When a plunger fails, it’s time to look at professional drain cleaning and explore which option makes the most sense for your home’s current plumbing issue.

HOW DRAINS GET CLOGGED

A clog might seem like it formed suddenly, but the truth is that most clogs are “in the works” over a long period of time. Substances like grease, food remanents, flour, soap scum from bar soap, residue from cleaning products, and minerals in hard water build up on your pipe walls gradually, making the pipes’ already narrow diameter even smaller. These conditions make your home’s drain-waste system ripe for a clog.

In addition to the materials that cause buildup, several other items cause clogs in homes daily across the country. Hair is a major culprit. Not only can globs of wet, matted hair cause an obstruction, but hair can also tangle other obstructions together.

Several types of trash items that people flush down toilets are also infamous for causing clogs. Disposable wipes (even ones that claim to be flushable), facial tissue, napkins, and paper towels are prone to get caught in pipes because they are made to hold their shape against moisture. Feminine hygiene products cause clogs for the same reason.

SIGNS THAT YOU HAVE A CLOGGED DRAIN

Clogs can reveal themselves in numerous ways. Keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • It takes a long time for water to drain out of your sink/bathtub/shower.

  • Water backs up into your sink/bathtub/shower.

  • Your toilet fills up with water or overflows when you flush instead of flushing the waste away.

  • There is an awful smell coming from one or more of your drains.

  • You hear gurgling from under one of your sinks whenever you run water down the drain.

If you spot one of these red flags, it’s time to look into one of the two professional drain cleaning methods below.

PROFESSIONAL DRAIN CLEANING METHODS

Snaking

Snaking (also called cabling) involves a long steel cable with a sharp hook (or auger) at one end. The tool itself goes by many names: drain snake, plumber’s cable, plumbing auger, etc. They are available in motorized models as well as models that you operate by manually rotating a handle.

To clear a clog with a drain snake, a plumber unwinds the “auger-end” of the cable down into the drain. Because the cable is flexible, it bends with curved piping, including the P-trap, to reach clogs up to 50 feet deep in your plumbing (depending on the cable’s length). Once the drain snake encounters the obstruction, the auger catches onto it and pulls it out.

Technically, any homeowner can visit their local home improvement store and buy a drain snake. However, if you don’t have experience with snaking, you do open yourself up to two main risks:

  1. You might buy the wrong type of drain snake. There are different sizes and lengths for various purposes. If you purchase the incorrect type, that’s basically your money down the drain (pun intended).

  2. You could damage your pipes. If you aren’t familiar with how to operate a drain snake for the clog you’re trying to fix (and if you’ve bought the incorrect type for the job required on top of that), you may damage your pipes while digging around for the clog.

If you have any hesitation about using a drain snake, it’s best to contact a plumber to tackle the clog for you.

Hydrojetting

Hydrojetting is both a way to solve a clog as well as a means to prevent clogs from occurring. When comparing hydrojetting to snaking, think of hydrojetting as “the big guns,” strong enough to blast away nasty problems that are unique to sewer lines, like built-up dirt and waste, small animal nests, and invasive tree roots.

Before hydrojetting, a plumber will perform a sewer camera inspection. They complete this step not only to see what’s causing the clog but also to inspect the pipes’ condition to see if the plumbing can withstand the intense water pressure involved with jetting.

Once the plumber determines that hydrojetting is still an appropriate solution for the problem, they will insert a hose into the home’s sewer pipes. A machine sends water at extremely high pressure through the hose. The water jets out in multiple directions from the hose’s head, strong enough to pulverize tree roots and cut through years of grease, dirt, waste, and soap scum buildup.

The high water pressure involved with hydrojetting can pose risks to your plumbing and human safety if mishandled. That’s is why no one should ever complete this drain cleaning method without the proper training to handle the equipment.

Call Dial One Sonshine today at (714) 252-7460 today to receive effective, same-day drain cleaning at a budget-friendly price!

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