Drain Cleaning Techniques – The Different Ways Plumbing Professionals Clear and Maintain Drains


The myriad variety of different problems and complications that can come up concerning household plumbing can easily overwhelm the average homeowner or renter. Repairs and modifications to water supply plumbing and pipes in the home should always be performed by a plumber or other knowledgeable and properly equipped personnel. But when troubles arise in the other plumbing network in the home, the maze of pipes leading from drains to a wastewater line flowing to a septic tank or utility main, there are more options available, both for the do-it-yourselfer and those ready to call a professional.

A drain service should be consulted when their expertise and powerful tools and equipment are required to either figure out the issue or to solve a known problem. A single clogged toilet or slow drain can often be addressed by the resident, particularly if they own the proper tools (both toilet and sink plungers, both drain and closet augers, for example).

Many times routine maintenance can be performed by the person living in the home. For example, drains subject to build up from grease, such as kitchen sink or shop floor drains, can be treated regularly with enzymatic drain cleaners. These bacteria cultures are much safer than caustic liquid drain cleaners, and can be used to keep up free flow in certain situations. Other routine task a resident may be expected to do include enzymatic treatment for a septic tank or the clearing of minor clogs.

However, more complicated maintenance, such as tree root removal, or more intricate repair or investigation, such as camera inspection of plumbing pipes and hard water buildup removal, require the help of a drain cleaning service, or rooter business. Rooter businesses and personnel will be equipped and eager to figure out whatever is causing any problem with drains and wastewater draining. Continue reading to learn more about the different services a drain cleaning and clearing business should provide.

When a treasured item like a wedding ring has been lost down a drain, when the cause or location of a clog is unknown, and when drains throughout the home have been performing poorly or worsening over time, then nothing beats getting a camera right to the source. These modern instruments are powerful cameras and lights which send back a video signal via fiber optic cables to the tool operator. A television screen, computer monitor, or other video device displays exactly what is seen inside the plumbing of the home, and the pro can know just how to fix the problem. Cameras can be extended down drains and access points via auger cables or drains rods-stiff but flexible rods which can navigate plumbing without tangles-and modern setups have radio transmitters capable of sending the exact depth and location of the camera to the receiver.

Electric and gasoline powered motorized drain augers are the “rooters” used by rooter services. They will vary in size, depending on the required task. Clogged drains and toilets can often be cleared using handheld drain augers and closet augers-tools designed for safe use around fixtures. But when the cable must be extended more than a couple feet and a larger power tool is required.

The drain service professional will use a tip on the end of the auger’s stiff cable appropriate for the job. Certain soft clogs and types of solid blockages from the home can be broken up or retrieved out of the pipe. A heavier duty, mechanical grinding head may be used when the blockage is more solid and built up. Damaged pipes with intruding tree roots or earth must be bored clean regularly with such a tool, otherwise the pipes will need to be repaired or replaced, which can be much more costly and time consuming.

Drain or sewer jetting is the rinsing clear of the interiors of plumbing and pipes with high-powered pressurized water through cutting nozzles extended down the drain. The pressures and cutting abilities of these tools is remarkable.  When used correctly, jet washers can remove any sort of build up or blockage that can be eroded away. This includes mineral build up, calcification, and other hard water residue. Greasy, oily, fibrous, or paper blockages can be sliced to bits with the cutting jets, and the flow of water flushes all parts and bits away. Even some tree root intrusions can be tackled with drain and sewer jetters. Only very solid blockages, such as foreign objects flushed down the toilet may not be handled with a hydro-jet but may be removed with other equipment.

Rooter services and plumbers also will clear any clogged sink, toilet, or other drain. If a problem is recurring, a drain service may be helpful in finding out why it keeps happening. But there are many very routine tasks, such as unclogging a toilet or clearing any household drain that can be accomplished without having to call a pro. Having tools like a bellows sink plunger, and a closet auger for the worst clogged toilets can mean saving hundreds of dollars in a single use. These are common hand tools that every resident should have at hand for emergencies.

Every community has a number of plumbers and professional drain or rooter service businesses available. A good tip for finding a local business online is to include your zip code in a search query. Search engines will recognize that you are interested in finding a local drain service or local plumber. You can also consult your telephone directory to find a drain service to call for your difficult maintenance or plumbing emergency.

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