3 Plumbing Techniques to Unclog Your Drain

June 26, 2018

The drains in the sinks and showers of your home are responsible for removing dirty water from your home and taking it to a sewer or septic system. When they are working as they should they are effective in doing so but when you have a clog in your drain it can be a nightmare.

As a homeowner, there are a few do-it-yourself remedies to try to unclog your drains. A plunger can be helpful with minor clogs but if it is a big one farther down the drain, this will not do much.

Drain openers may be more effective if it is a bigger blockage but the chemicals in them can cause damage to your pipes. As a result, you may want to consider hiring a professional plumber if you have a clogged drain. A plumber is experienced and has the tools needed to unclog your drain in a way that will remove the blockage and keep your system intact. Below are methods that plumbers have at their disposal to unclog a drain in your home.

1. Camera

Before a plumber chooses a tool to use to unclog your drain, it helps to know where in your pipes the blockage is and what it causing it. That way, the plumber can assess the best course of action and determine what tool will be most effective.

To locate where the blockage is and what is causing it, a plumber typically has a camera at his/her disposal. These cameras consist of a small hose 6mm to 10mm in diameter attached to a monitor. The plumber inserts the house into the drain and can view the blockage on the monitor. In doing so, the plumber can determine exactly what is causing the clog, eliminating the guesswork and unclogging your drain quicker and more efficiently.

2. Snake

Although drain clogs can be stubborn and allow little to no water to drain from your sink or shower, sometimes it needs a gentle method to push things along and remove the blockage. This is also a preferred method for older plumbing systems that might not be able to handle strong, harsher unclogging methods.

In situations such as these, a plumber will often turn to a snake tool. This consists of a long, flexible auger attached to a crank. As the plumber turns it, the spiral shaped-end breaks up the debris causing the clog and pushes it down to the sewer or septic system. This type of tool has proven to be effective in removing clogs caused by oil, hair, grease, and food.

Similar to the snake is a cable cleaning machine where different attachments can be used to break up the debris. This tool can be used to grab the materials causing the debris and bring it back up as opposed to just knocking it down the drain.

3. Jetting

In situations where a plumbing system is able to handle a stronger, harsher method of removing a clog and the blockage may be larger or more stubborn, a plumber will utilize a jet system.

There are two common types of jetting systems used by plumbers: a water jet system and an air blasting system. A water jet system is a pump that can spray high-pressure water into a drain, knocking the blockage down. This is used for bigger blockages deeper into a plumbing system and it is also effective in cleaning pipes to achieve better water flow. An air blasting system uses pressurized air to break up clogs. Air systems are better-suited to clogs higher up in drains and are more sensitive to older plumbing systems that may not be able to handle the force of a water jet system.