3 DIY Drain Cleaning Techniques

Drain Cleaning Philadelphia PA is an important part of maintaining a healthy home. When neglected, drain clogs can lead to serious plumbing problems.

Many homeowners use DIY solutions, such as plungers or chemical drain cleaners, to clear their clogs. However, these products can damage your home’s pipes and are often ineffective.

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If your clogged drains are keeping water from flowing properly, giving off foul odors, or are even backing up into your home’s plumbing fixtures, it may be time to call in the professionals for hydro jetting. Also known as power-washing for pipes, this technique uses powerful, pressurized water jets to remove stubborn debris and clogs from drains and sewer lines. The result is clean, smooth pipes that are free of obstructions and can handle regular use.

Hydro jetting is more effective than other drain cleaning techniques because it doesn’t just punch a hole through the clog but thoroughly cleans the interior of pipes. It’s also non-invasive, meaning that plumbers won’t have to dig up your yard or dig through the walls of your home to access the clogged line. The plumber simply inserts a hydrojetting hose with a specialized high-pressure nozzle into a drain or sewer cleanout. The jet of water is able to penetrate and wash away even the most stubborn blockages, including grease buildup.

It’s also useful for tackling tree roots that have invaded sewer lines, as the high-pressure water can break up and flush away root fragments. The best part about hydrojetting is that it doesn’t use any chemicals, which is a good thing for the environment and for your pipes. Chemical drain cleaners can eat away at your pipes and leave behind harmful residue, while their production and disposal contribute to greenhouse gas emissions that speed up global warming.

However, it’s important to note that hydrojetting should only be used by a professional plumber who has inspected your pipes to ensure they’re strong enough for this method. If your pipes are old or damaged, hydrojetting could actually damage them rather than clear the clog. Your plumber will be able to recommend other, more suitable drain cleaning methods in these cases. When done properly by a professional, hydrojetting is an effective way to clear stubborn drain clogs and prevent future ones from forming. Be sure to schedule regular drain cleaning services in your home to keep your pipes in top condition.

Chemical drain cleaners are a quick and easy solution to blocked or slow-draining pipes. They are poured down the drain in liquid, gel or powder form and react with organic material such as hair, grease, food waste and other debris to dissolve it and clear the clog. These chemicals are available at grocery stores, hardware stores, and big box retailers.

The main issue with using chemical drain cleaners is that they often work too well and can cause damage to your pipes. The acidic chemicals in these cleaners can corrode or dissolve metal pipes, especially older ones. They can also leave residue that eats away at the pipes, leading to holes and leaks. Finally, these cleaners can be dangerous to your health if they come into contact with your skin or eyes.

When used properly, liquid drain cleaners can be effective. However, many homeowners aren’t aware of the proper use or application of these products. When misused, they can release noxious fumes that can irritate your nose, throat and lungs. Long-term exposure can even lead to chemical burns and blindness.

Another concern with using chemical drain cleaners is that they can mask a deeper problem with your plumbing system. If the clog is caused by a broken pipe or sewer backup, it may take longer to dissolve and could require professional help to resolve.

If you must use liquid drain cleaners, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep children and pets away from the area. Also, be sure to wear gloves and eye protection when handling the product, and always ventilate the room well. Finally, never mix chemical drain cleaners, as this can create dangerous reactions.

If you’re struggling with a stubborn clog, try using a plunger first to see if it can dislodge the obstruction. If not, it’s time to call a plumber. They can use more advanced methods to get the job done quickly and safely. And don’t forget to ask about preventing future clogs by using a preventative maintenance plan. For more information, give us a call!

Drain snakes and augers are the next step up from a plunger for larger clogs. They are thin, flexible metal cables that are coiled into a protective drum and then used to push or “punch” through a clog and pull it out of the pipe. They’re available in manual crank or electric motor versions, depending on the size of the job.

First, make sure the clog is not in the p-trap (the curved piece of pipe under the sink). If it is, you’ll need to remove it before starting snaking. If the clog is farther down in the pipes, then you’ll need to remove any fixtures like toilets or showers that might get in the way of your snaking effort. Once you’re ready to start, insert the slender cable into the drain. If the clog is in the toilet, then it’s important to remove the toilet bowl lid first so you can reach down inside to break up the clog.

When you push the slender snake into the drain, you’ll feel resistance as it goes through the clog. If you feel this resistance subside, then you’ve likely dislodged or broken up most of the clog. If you don’t, then you’ll need to keep cranking the handle until the clog is gone. After the clog is removed, it’s important to flush the sink drain with full force for several minutes. This will wash away any remaining clog material and make it easier for you to use the snake again.

A plumbing snake is a good choice for most bathroom drains, showers, and toilets, as well as kitchen sinks and garbage disposals. If you have a really stubborn clog, though, then a toilet auger is the right tool for the job. This is an inexpensive, manually-cranked snake that’s specifically designed to clear toilet clogs. It’s also a good idea to have one of these handy just in case of an unexpected toilet stoppage. You can also find these in the tool aisle at most home improvement stores. However, for a serious sewer clog, it’s best to call in the professionals.

Drains can get clogged with hair, soap scum, oil, grease and other junk that can make it impossible for wastewater to flow through. If the problem gets bad enough, you may need a professional to clean out the pipes. A plumber can use a variety of tools to clean out the clog, including plungers, snakes or hydro jets. But before you run to the hardware store for chemical drain cleaners, consider trying one of these DIY techniques.

The simplest way to unclog a drain is with something you probably already have at home: baking soda and vinegar. This simple mixture is cheap, effective and safer for your pipes than most chemical-based cleaners. Plus, it’s environmentally friendly.

To make the mixture, start by removing any visible hair or debris from the drain opening. Then pour in about 1/2 cup of baking soda. Follow this with about 1/2 cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes, then pour in some boiling water. Be sure to plug the drain with a stopper or rag to keep the hot water from splashing out of the pipe.

Another homemade and natural drain cleaner is liquid dishwashing detergent. It’s inexpensive and works well on many different kinds of clogs, but you have to be careful not to overuse it as too much can damage your pipes. Pour about 1/4 cup of the solution down your drain, wait for it to work its magic and then rinse with warm water.

Some homeowners also choose to use a snake, which is long, flexible cable wire with sharp hooks that can dislodge tough blockages. While this isn’t as fast as a drain auger, it’s cheaper and safer than chemical-based cleaners.

Other homeowners prefer biological drain cleaners, which use bacteria to break down clogs. They’re slower to work than chemical-based cleaners and can require repeated treatments, but they’re healthier for your pipes and the environment. And, of course, there’s always the good old-fashioned plunger. It’s easy to use, effective, and can be bought at most hardware stores. Using these drain cleaning methods can help you avoid expensive plumbing repairs in the future.