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Drain Cleaning 101: What It Is, How It Works, and How to Know When You Need It

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Clogged drains are one of the most typical plumbing issues in homes. You can use DIY tools and techniques to solve the clogs in your kitchen and bathroom in some cases. However, when more severe blockages exist, it’s best to work with a licensed plumber who can use their professional equipment to clean your clogged drain.

Below is some essential information that every homeowner should know about drain cleaning methods, including how they work and how to know when your home needs drain cleaning.

What Is Cabling?

When your toilet, tub, or sink drain becomes blocked, a common tool for clearing the clog is a drain snake. Snaking, also known as cabling, involves the insertion of a long, thin, flexible auger into your drain pipe. It contains a metal coil that you twist downward until it can dislodge or hook onto a blockage to remove it.

You can obtain a manual or electric drain snake at your local hardware store. However, if you have little experience cleaning drains, you run the risk of damaging your pipes while trying to use a drain snake. If a clog requires this type of action, it’s best to call a trusted plumbing company for help.

What Is Hydro Jetting?

Another method for cleaning pipes is hydro jetting, which uses a specialized hose that pushes high-pressure water through your home's plumbing system. Before the hydro jetting process, a plumber inserts a camera into your pipes to look for damage, which could be made worse by the high-powered cleaning process. Then, a plumber inserts the hose into your drain, usually through a cleanout. The hose is attached to a pressurized water tank.

Once the water is turned on, the hose moves through your drain and cleans the inside of the pipe. Powerful water jets shoot out of the hose’s nozzle in multiple directions simultaneously. Gravity washes the debris down your plumbing system so that it eventually becomes flushed away. This removes any clogs that have accumulated in your pipes and makes your pipes’ interior just like new. Hydro jetting is powerful enough to remove years of mineral scale deposits, grease, tree roots, and other built-up debris.

What Is the Difference Between Cabling and Hydro Jetting?

Cabling only breaks apart or pulls out a blockage. Hydro jetting blasts clogs apart and removes stubborn build-up that’s shrinking your pipes’ diameter. Cabling is best for the occasional blockage. Hydro jetting typically offers the best long-term cleaning results so that future clogs don’t occur. Unlike cabling, hydro jetting must be performed by a professional plumber.

How to Tell If Your Home Needs Drain Cleaning

If your home needs drain cleaning, you’ll usually notice one or more of the following warning signs:

  • Slow Draining Sinks. If you begin to notice that water takes forever to go down the drain or that your plumbing gurgles as water drains, there may be a blockage in your pipes.

  • Frequent Toilet Overflows. If your toilet clogs or overflows frequently, you may be having sewer line problems. It’s best to seek a professional plumber's assistance to solve the issues.

  • Water Backs Up. When water fills up your sink or tub from the drain, you definitely have a clog in your pipes or sewer line. This can be unsanitary and cause water damage, so don’t ignore this issue!

  • Bad Smell. If a foul odor is coming from your kitchen drains, there may something blocking a drain, most likely grease or food particles.

Clogs don’t fix themselves. If you think there’s a blockage in one or more of your home’s drains, don’t wait to contact a professional. At The Rooter Works Plumbing and Drains, we will assess your problem and present you with the smartest options to solve the issue. To schedule an appointment, call us at (614) 412-3324, or contact us online.