A clogged drain is just one of those things that everyone eventually deals with at some point, especially for homeowners. For small clogs, it is easy to grab for DIY drain cleaning methods like, chemical drain cleaner, a drain snake, or a plunger. Depending on the clog some of these solutions may work temporarily. If the clog is severe, or you are unsure of the root of the issue, a plastic drain snake or even a more high-tech drain snake rental may not be enough to do the trick.
Some Common DIY Drain Cleaning Methods –
- Plastic Drain Snake: A plastic drain snake somewhat resembles a long zip tie with thorns. It works by inserting it into your drain (like your tub drain or bathroom sink) and then bending with the pipes, with the intensions of snagged some built up hair and other minor obstructions. Since this product is plastic and extremely basic, it doesn’t typically do much for anything other than extremely minor blockages or some hair accumulation. The major limitation with drain stick designs are that they are limited by their length. So, they can only dislodge minor clogs at the beginning of the drain.
- Drain Snake Rental: For a more heavy-duty drain snake, you may consider renting or buying a hand-powered tool, rather than plastic. This type of drain snake is typically metal with a long flexible cone-shaped auger on the end. This is used in a similar manner to the plastic drain snake, but it is fed into the drain line while turning a handle to spin the cable inside the pipe. When you feel resistance on the tool, you’ve likely found your blockage. This drain snake method will have better results that a plastic model, but it can be more dangerous. The best drain snake option for your drain will be dependent on the severity of the clog and type of drain.
- Chemical Drain Cleaner: Chemical drain cleaner is a very common DIY drain cleaning solution, but it should be avoided. Chemical drain cleaner works to use its harsh ingredients to break through tough buildups within your pipes, but the problem is that it cannot differentiate between the blockage and your actual pipes. Meaning this chemical can actually eat away at your pipes and plumbing system guts. Older and PVC pipes are especially susceptible to chemical damages.
- Plunger: A plunger is most commonly used on toilet clogs but can also be used on a drain to provoke upward pressure to dislodge a clog. However, this could also lead to reverse flow and regurgitation of sludge.
Limitations Of Drain Snakes, Chemical Drain Cleaner, and Plungers –
- Length – These household DIY tools are limited by their strength and length. At the end of the day, unless the clog is extremely minor and/or right at the surface, many of these DIY cleaning tools won’t do the trick.
- Knowledge & Safety – Using a harsh chemical may appear to clear your clog, but it can actually do more damage than good. Additionally, using a powered drain snake can be dangerous to you and your pipes if you are inexperienced or unsure of how to use it. Some potential damages associated with using a powered drain snake is accidentally running a snake up through a toilet and cracking it. Also, if you don’t know your septic setup, there could be a T or a Y anywhere in the house and this would re-direct the snake in an unwanted direction, reaching a toilet or appliance and damaging it.
Do I Need Professional Drain Cleaning Services?
- The main issue with these DIY drain cleaning options is that you may be masking the real problem or only providing a temporary fix. This could lead to neglect of a larger issues, creating more costly issues that could have been prevented.
- Additionally, by using a drain snake incorrectly or using harsh chemicals, you may be creating new issues that could require a more extensive solution.
- Hydro jetting is the process of using a high-pressure flow of water to clear the interior of a plumbing pipe and dislodge clogs. What’s great about this professional drain cleaning service is that it can remove severe buildups like scale, grease, and other harsh and harmful debris. This method is best for extreme clogs and is the best drain cleaning solution for permeant results and for removing the root of the issue. Due to the intensity of the pressure created by hydro jetting, some pipes cannot handle it. But, your professional plumber can determine if it’s the right solution for your unique situation.
- Camera’ing works great to see how your system is setup and produce the most accurate results.
When hiring a professional plumbing service to clear drain clogs, you are ensuring that the actual source of the problem is found and addressed rather than temporarily masking an issue. Additionally, a drain that continues to clog could be an indication of a main line clog, which is much more serious requiring professional machinery. While a drain snake, or plunger may work in certain scenarios, these tools’ abilities are limited.
When dealing with something as important as your home’s plumbing system, it is always best to call the professionals to ensure the correct and best drain cleaning method is used. Contact Kulk’s Plumbing & Heating for all of your drain cleaning needs. If you are in need of emergency plumbing services, we can help 24 hours a day!