If you’re like most people, you take running water in your home for granted. If sinks and showers drain and the toilet doesn’t back up, the average person doesn’t give much thought to how a plumbing system works.
At some point, every homeowner faces the challenge of a blocked drain.
The good news is that you don’t need to tackle the problem alone. Call a plumbing service, and your blocked drains will be a thing of the past.
While it might seem like magic, there isn’t much mystery to clearing blocked drains. With the right tools and techniques, your plumber will soon have the water moving in the direction.
Read on to find out what plumbers use to clear the clogs.
Plungers Work Great to Clear Blocked Drains
Whether you own or rent your home, a plunger is one item you should keep handy. A plunger can break up light clogs in sinks and showers. Plungers also work well to unclog toilets.
If a plunger is on your shopping list, you’ll have three types to choose from, including:
- Sink plungers
- Toilet plungers
- Accordion plungers
A sink plunger—also called a cup plunger—has a handle with a flat, rubber cap on the end. Primarily designed for bathroom and kitchen sinks, some sink plungers work well on tub and shower drains.
At first glance, sink and toilet plungers look alike, but the toilet plunger has a flange that folds out from the cup. The flange makes it easier to create suction, which you need to clear a toilet clog. Toilet plungers often work on sink and tub clogs as well.
Accordion plungers are specifically designed to clear toilet clogs. A smaller cup fits perfectly in the toilet bowl, allowing the pressure needed to unblock the drain.
When you call a plumber to look at a blocked drain, the first tool they often use is a plunger. You may have a heavier clog when a plunger doesn’t do the trick.
The Drain Snake
Most plumbers will try breaking up the clog with a manual drain snake if the plunger fails to move the clog.
A drain snake is a flexible steel cable with what looks like a corkscrew at the end. Drain snakes also have a crank-style handle. The plumber places the end of the snake into the drain opening and uses the crank to push the cable through the drain.
They move the end around when they reach the clog until they feel the clog break.
Hair is one of the most common causes of blocked drains. Plumbers use a smaller type of drain snake, called a hair snake. Hair snakes have a small hook on the end that grabs onto hair and other debris.
Drain snakes work best on clogged sinks and bathtubs. They’re not suitable for clearing toilet clogs.
Drain snakes come in manual or motorized models (a.k.a., Electric Eel).
Motorized drain snakes can make mincemeat out of more stubborn clogs. They work best on the bigger pipes within the plumbing system.
Drain Augers for Larger Pipes
Like a drain snake, a drain auger is another tool your plumber will keep in the truck.
While the drain snake works great on clogged sink drains, plumbers use drain augers to clear clogs in larger pipes like those found in toilets or your shower.
One thing to keep in mind when dealing with a blocked drain is the age of your plumbing system. Even the most powerful auger can’t remedy plumbing issues caused by old age.
Your Plumber May Need to Use a High-Pressure Water Jetter
Depending on the cause of the blockage, the above tools may not work. The problem may be further down in the system when the standard plumbing tools don’t unblock drains.
Plumbers use a water jetter to break through the toughest clogs. These high-powered tools use high pressure to force water through the plumbing pipe. The pressure not only breaks up the clog but also flushes the sewer line.
If you haven’t cleaned the drains recently, you likely have a buildup of residue on the pipe walls. water jetting helps get rid of residue, which can prevent future clogs.
When you discover sewage backing up in your home, your plumber will likely attack it with a high-pressure water jetter.
Tree Roots and Blocked Drains
Excess bathroom tissue, hair, or FOG in your pipes causes most clogs. Another culprit of blocked drains is tree roots.
Tree roots love sewer pipes. The roots naturally gravitate towards heat and water—found in abundance in plumbing pipes. Tree roots also thrive on oxygen and nutrients found in wastewater.
Slow or blocked drains are often the first clue you have a tree root problem.
Plumbers use a motorized auger to get down to the root of the problem. They feed the auger down through the pipe, and it chops the roots into bits. Afterwards, they flush the line with a hydro jet.
Do Plumbers Use Chemical Drain Cleaners?
You may wonder whether your plumber will try one of the chemical drain cleaners to unblock your drains. Your next thought is likely, “ if plumbers use drain cleaners, why shouldn’t I go buy one at the store?”
First, chemicals don’t work as well as plungers, drain snakes, or hydro jets to clean blocked drains. Second, chemical drain cleaners can damage your pipes.
Those drain cleaners people buy at the home improvement store work by reacting with organic materials. In a clogged drain, organic materials are hair, food particles, and soap residue. The reaction creates heat, which dissolves the clog.
Unfortunately, the heat reaction also affects the pipe walls. And, if the chemical doesn’t dissolve the clog, it will sit on top of the clog, putting you at risk of breathing in the fumes.
Talk to a plumber before you attempt to unblock drains with anything other than a plunger. It could save you time and money. If you can’t wait for the plumber to arrive, try a safe homemade remedy.
Regardless of the cause, you can’t wait long to deal with a clogged drain. Waiting can result in the clog growing larger. Ignoring the clog may also cause damage to your plumbing system.
When you call Charlie the Plumber to take care of blocked drains, you’ll benefit from a plumbing company that uses the best equipment to locate the clog and make repairs fast. Don’t let a slow-moving drain put a stop to anything. If you’re located in Brisbane, Logan, or the Gold Coast, contact us to schedule plumbing services.