Drain cleaning is a task that most homeowners don’t think of until there is a problem like slow drains or a clogged pipe. However, routine maintenance should become a part of regular home maintenance if you want to head off problems before you need an emergency plumber.
This comprehensive guide explores how to deal with clogged pipes and the value of regular drain cleaning.
Routine Drain Cleaning
Though many homeowners don’t think about cleaning their drains on a regular basis, doing so is a good way to minimize the likelihood of problems like clogs or backups. Here are some tips:
- Run hot water down your drains regularly, especially in the kitchen. This can help prevent grease and other debris from accumulating.
- Avoid pouring oils or fats down your sinks, as this can harden and cause clogs. Instead, pour grease into a container, let it harden, and then dispose of it in the trash.
- Use a drain strainer in your sink or shower to catch hair and other particles that could lead to blockages.
- If you have a garbage disposal, make sure that you use it correctly and don’t overstuff it with food waste.
- Periodically use a homemade drain cleaner (see below) to keep your pipes clean and clear.
- Have your plumbing system inspected periodically by a professional plumber to ensure that everything is in working order.
By following these tips and taking the time to clean your drains, you can help keep your plumbing system running smoothly for years to come. Plus, if a problem does arise, you’ll know the best way to tackle it!
Drain Cleaning For Clogged Pipes
Even the best-maintained drains can become clogged. The typical causes include:
- Accumulated hair and soap scum in bathroom drains.
- Food particles and grease in kitchen sink drains.
- Foreign objects or excessive toilet paper in toilet drains.
- Tree roots infiltrating outdoor drains.
- Mineral buildup in pipes over time.
When it comes to drain cleaning for blocked drains, there are a few methods that can be used. Each method has different advantages and disadvantages, depending on the type of blockage as well as the skill level of the person performing the work.
Plunging is one of the most common and easiest ways to clear a blocked pipe. It can be done with either a regular plunger or a specialized tool called an auger that has a long handle and a flexible coil end. To use either, all you need to do is submerge the plunger or auger in the water and pump it up and down. This will create a vacuum that can dislodge whatever is blocking the pipe.
Homemade Drain Cleaner
Making your own drain cleaner is a great way to save money while still getting the job done quickly. There are a number of “recipes” for DIY drain cleaners online. A common one is made by mixing one cup of baking soda with a half cup of white vinegar, and then pouring it down the affected pipe or drain. The combination of the two ingredients creates a reaction that can help break up clogs.
Chemical Drain Cleaners
Chemical drain cleaners are easy to use, but they should be used with caution since many of them contain caustic substances that can cause damage to pipes if used incorrectly. If you do choose to use a chemical cleaner, make sure that you read the instructions carefully and follow them exactly.
Manual augering involves using a specialized tool called an auger to manually remove any debris from the pipes. This method requires some skill and should not be attempted without proper training. It is best used for blockages that are located deep in the pipes, and it can also be used to remove tree roots that have grown into the pipes.
Snaking is another form of drain cleaning that involves using a long metal cable to penetrate clogs and break them up. This method requires some skill as well since you need to be able to properly guide the cable into the pipe without damaging it. It is best used for tough clogs that can’t be removed by plunging or chemical cleaners.
Hydrojetting blasts high-pressure water through the pipes to break up clogs and remove debris from the walls of the pipe. It is best used for large clogs or when the blockage is located deep in the pipes, but it can also be used to prevent future blockages by removing built-up sludge.
Which Unclogging Method Should You Use?
While drain cleaning can often be done by a homeowner with the proper tools, tougher clogs should be left to an experienced plumbing company. Attempts at removing clogs can ultimately cause more damage if done incorrectly.
If you are going to try unclogging on your own, here are some guidelines based on the common causes of clogs:
- Bathroom drain clogs are often a result of hair or soap scum. To clear the clog, you first ensure that the filter area is cleared and then attempt to plunge the drain. If that doesn’t work, you can try using a homemade or chemical cleaner, followed by manual augering if needed.
- Kitchen drain clogs are usually the result of food particles or grease build-up. To clear these clogs you should first use a plunger and hot water. If that doesn’t work, then you can make a homemade cleaner or use a chemical drain cleaner. In worst-case scenarios, you may have to use snaking methods.
- Toilet clogs are usually the result of too much toilet paper or foreign objects being flushed down the toilet. Plunging and using hot water is usually sufficient for clearing these types of blockages, but if that doesn’t work you may have to use a manual auger.
- Tree roots infiltrating outdoor drains usually require hydrojetting in order to be completely removed. Professional help is recommended for this type of clog since it requires specialized tools and knowledge.
If you’re having trouble with your drains, it’s important to get the issue fixed quickly before the blockage causes any more damage. Whether you choose to do the work yourself or hire a professional, make sure that you take all necessary safety precautions and follow all instructions carefully.
As a precaution to avoid a frantic search for plumbers near me in an emergency, contacting a Florida plumbing company to do a routine inspection of your plumbing can be helpful in establishing a relationship should you need someone.
Stronghold Plumbing In & Near Lakeland
Whether you’re looking for free plumbing estimates, or routine or emergency plumbing services, Stronghold Plumbing is here to help. Our team of experienced plumbers in and near Lakeland responds in minutes, not days.
Contact us today!
FAQ’s – Drain Cleaning
Is it important to clean drains even if they’re not clogged?
It is important to clean your drains regularly even if they are not clogged. Over time, the buildup of sludge and debris can slow down water flow and create blockages that will require professional drain cleaning. Regular cleaning can also help prevent expensive repairs or replacements in the future.
Is hydrojetting safe on all pipes?
Hydrojetting is generally safe on any type of pipe, but it should not be done on any pipes that have cracks or other damage. It is best to contact a professional who can assess your plumbing and determine whether hydrojetting is the right method for you.
How often should I clean my drains?
It is recommended that you clean your drains at least once every few months to keep them running smoothly. If you notice any signs of clogs, such as slow draining or bad odors, it is best to take care of them immediately.
Are there any natural drain cleaners?
There are several natural ingredients that can be used to make homemade drain cleaners. Baking soda and vinegar are a common combination that many people use to clear up minor clogs. Other natural ingredients include lemons, salt, and borax.
Do I need to call a professional plumber if my drains are clogged?
If your attempts at unclogging the drain do not work, then it is best to call a professional plumber. They will be able to assess the situation and determine the best course of action for getting your drains back in working order quickly and safely.