Everyone has to deal with clogged drains every once in a while, and there’s no denying they’re obnoxious. While they’re not the most difficult issue to deal with, though, there are still right and wrong ways to go about it. This week, we’re going to go over a couple of professional drain cleaning techniques that are used for drain cleaning and one common technique that should never be used.
For a long time, the go-to method for plumbers who needed to clean out a clogged drain was to use a drain snake. They’re still quite popular, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a professional plumber who didn’t have one in their truck or van. A drain snake is basically a long cord with an auger attached to the end of it, similar to a drill bit. The plumber lowers the cord into the drain until the bit makes contact with the clog, at which point the plumber uses the bit to drill through the clog and pull the remains out of the pipe. Drain snakes can be hand-cranked or motorized.
While drain snakes are excellent for removing clogs, they are not perfect. The snake is only really good for removing clogs that have already formed. If you have waste buildup in your pipes, but a clog hasn’t actually formed yet, then you’d likely be better off making use of the method below.
A more modern technique for drain cleaning, hydro jetting involves blasting a high-pressure stream of water into the pipe to remove any clogs or waste buildup. This method is much more thorough than drain snaking, and as such is used mush more often in a preventive fashion as well as a corrective one. Hydro jetting has supplanted drain snaking as the drain cleaning method of choice for some plumbers, although it will likely not completely replace it any time soon. The one drawback of hydro jetting is that it subjects the pipe to above-normal pressure during use. If the pipe is old or corroded, the added pressure from the hydro jet might actually cause it to spring a leak! As long as you have a professional contractor you trust taking care of things for you, though, that’s not something you should have to worry about.
Store-Bought Drain Cleaners
Now, let’s go over one of the most common drain cleaning methods: store-bought drain cleaners. Most homeowners resort to one of these, instead of calling a professional when they have a drain clog. This is a very bad idea. While store-bought drain cleaners do tend to work well, they do so only because they contain a lot of highly corrosive materials. These caustic substances can actually eat away at the pipe itself if used often enough, making it more prone to leaks and ruptures. If you care about the health of your pipes, never use store-bought drain cleaners. Always trust a professional to clean out your drain for you.