Drain Cleaning 101: What It Is and Why It Matters
Drain cleaning may sound pretty straightforward, but it’s one of the most misunderstood services plumbers provide. Many see drain cleaning purely as an interventional measure to clear clogged pipes, while others think it’s just a form of preventative maintenance to keep clogs from occurring in the first place. In reality, it’s both!
But most of the confusion comes from when it should be performed as a part of routine plumbing maintenance, when it needs to be done because of a blockage and how it’s done. So this article will lay out everything homeowners need to know about drain cleaning, from when (and how often) it should be done to how professionals do it.
How to Tell Drain Cleaning Is Needed
Drain cleaning for general clog prevention is a service homeowners can get done every two years or so as part of their routine plumbing maintenance. This general recommendation is to help minimize the risk of drain clogs in the average home by clearing away grease, soap scum, hair, and other debris that may have become trapped in the home’s drain pipes and sewer line.
However, some homeowners who are careful about what goes down the drains or gets flushed down the toilet may get away with having their drains cleaned on an as-needed basis. So what are the signs of a clog that indicate drain cleaning is needed? Here are some common symptoms of a clog or blockage:
- Slow drainage in sinks, showers, or tubs.
- Standing water around drains.
- The toilet doesn’t flush properly or gets clogged easily.
- Frequent drain clogs.
- Unpleasant odors are coming from drains.
- Gurgling or bubbling sounds coming from drains.
- Sewage is backing up out of drains.
Method #1: Drain Snaking
Drain snaking is a tried and true method that plumbers have used for ages to unclog pipes. It involves feeding a long metal cord with a corkscrew-like auger at one end into the line. The plumber rotates the head of the drain snake by hand or with the help of an electric motor, allowing the drain snake to bore into clogs. The obstruction can then be pulled out – although, in some cases, the auger simply breaks it apart.
A drain snake (also referred to as a plumber’s snake) is a great way to clear pipe clogs since it’s highly effective and has a lower risk of damaging the plumbing (unlike store-bought chemical drain cleaners). However, it’s not very effective as a preventive measure since it doesn’t do a great job of cleaning residue and debris from the pipe walls, which can contribute to future clogs.
Method #2: Hydro Jetting
Hydro jetting is a newer method of drain cleaning and clog removal that has unique advantages. A hydro jet machine is essentially a pressure washer designed specifically for pipes. A special hose nozzle sprays a high-powered water jet that blasts through clogs as the plumber feeds the hose into the pipe. This method is often used to clear clogged sewer lines in addition to being used as a preventative measure since it can also prevent clogs from forming.
Hydro jet machines can produce extremely high-pressure water streams capable of cutting through virtually any type of blockage – but this can also damage the pipes in some cases (especially with older lines or weaker materials), so it’s not always the first choice for removing clogs. However, hydro jetting is highly effective at washing away stubborn residue and grime from pipe walls, making it great for long-term clog prevention.
Ultimately, the method used will depend on the type of clog, the condition of the pipes, and the purpose of the drain cleaning service (whether it’s for clearing a clogged pipe or for preventative maintenance). But in either case, it should always be performed by a trained professional to ensure the job gets done right and avoid any damage to the plumbing system!
About Guardian Plumbing and Drain
Guardian Plumbing and Drain is a local plumbing contractor serving Cobourg and the surrounding areas. They offer free estimates, same-day service, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Call them today for drain cleaning services in Cobourg, ON.