What Drain Cleaning Methods Are Most Common?
At first, it doesn’t seem like much, but it slowly gets worse until it’s impossible to ignore. The kitchen sink starts draining slower than usual, and water pools up in the shower. The toilet isn’t fully flushing on the first try. Whatever form it takes, a clogged drain is no fun. When it happens, the solution can’t come soon enough.
But what is the solution? Chemical drain cleaners? A plunger? Or is it best to call a plumber and let them handle it? This article will answer all of these questions and compare some common drain cleaning methods to help homeowners find the best one for their situation.
DIY Drain Cleaning Methods
Homeowners can try several popular do-it-yourself methods before calling in the big guns. An ordinary toilet plunger can be effective at clearing blocked bathroom sink, tub, or shower drains but won’t work in a kitchen sink with garbage disposal. The key is to make sure that the bottom edge of the plunger is completely submerged in water to form a pressure seal.
Pouring boiling water down the drain may help melt or dissolve substances like grease and soap scum forming a clog, but this method should never be used on PVC pipes as it can damage them. Another great way to clear minor obstructions and remove nasty odors is to pour a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. After waiting 15 minutes while the mixture fizzes, homeowners can run hot water down the drain and repeat the process.
Liquid drain cleaners are another popular method, but it’s best to avoid them. The harsh chemicals they contain can damage the plumbing, release toxic fumes, and interfere with the biological processes in septic systems – plus, they often don’t work against tough clogs.
A drain snake is essentially a long cable with a corkscrew-like auger at one end that plumbers can use for a clog. The line is fed into the pipe until it reaches the blockage, then is rotated using a hand crank, power drill, or large motor, depending on the snake’s size. The auger drills into the clog and allows it to be extracted.
Drain snakes of various sizes are sold in hardware stores so that homeowners can use this method themselves. Still, professional plumbers are experienced in using this method to clean drains and clear clogs without damaging pipes. Drain augers effectively remove clogs but aren’t quite as useful for preventative drain cleaning, as they don’t entirely clean residue off of the pipe walls.
A hydro jetting machine is a little like a pressure washer for pipes. It uses a long hose with a special nozzle to spray water at 5,000 PSI. The nozzle sprays a powerful jet stream forward while simultaneously spraying backward at an angle to propel the hose on and scour the pipe walls. This takes care of any blockages ahead and any residue collected inside the pipe.
Hydro jetting is the ideal drain cleaning solution for preventative maintenance and removing clogs. However, the exceptionally high water pressure involved can damage more fragile pipes (such as those used in landscape drainage systems) and cause serious injury if mishandled. The machines themselves are also quite expensive, as they’re primarily intended for industrial use. For these reasons, this is one method best left to the professionals!
About Heidler, Inc.
Heidler, Inc. serves its neighbors in Annapolis, MD, and has been family-owned and operated since 1947. They always provide flat-rate pricing and are available around the clock for emergency assistance, so don’t wait to call them for professional drain cleaning services in Annapolis, MD.