How Do Plumbers Unclog Drains? Our Houston Pros Explain

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How Do Plumbers Unclog Drains?

There’s no worse start to a day than finding out that your bathroom or kitchen sink drain is clogged. Drain clogs, of course, are not confined solely to sinks; we can find them in our tub drains, shower drains, washing machine drains, and even toilets. Especially toilets. A clogged drain may seem like a serious plumbing issue, but it is usually localized to a single drain or bathroom and can be remedied quickly.

Your first instinct may be to grab your phone and call a professional plumbing company in to break up and flush away the blockage. Maybe you’ve already looked over Nick’s Plumbing’s popular “Do-It-Yourself” blog about how to clear your drains safely. If not, follow this link:
https://nicksplumbing.com/clearing-your-own-drain-clog/ and see if any of our DIY methods will work to eliminate your clog.

If you’ve gone over the do-it-yourself list and you’re still looking at a sink or tub full of water that isn’t going anywhere, give Nick’s Plumbing a call to schedule one of our licensed and experienced technicians to come out to clear your drain or sewer line. While you’re waiting for us to arrive, let’s look at the difference between the do-it-yourself methods of drain cleaning and those used by professional plumbing companies.

How Professional Plumbers Clean Your Drains

It’s all the stuff you wouldn’t expect to find in the average homeowner’s garage.

Drain and sewer lines that are clogged with decades of coagulated cooking grease, shampoo, and hair can’t be cleared with a bottle of Drano or a plunger.

Frustrated Woman Trying to Unclog Her Kitchen Sink in Houston

More challenging, denser clogs will need a bit more power to break them up and flush them away. Professional plumbers have a wide array of tools available to aid in clearing clogs, using technology that didn’t exist in the plumbing industry as little as a decade ago. Several specialty tools are aboard the truck of every competent plumber, from pipe wrenches, blow-torches, and hydro-jetting machines.

Manual Drain Snakes:

A manual drain snake, also known as a plumber’s snake or a drain auger, is a small boring tool that rotates slowly as it’s physically pushed through a stubborn clog. The terminal end of the device is a corkscrew-shaped hook that is fed into a clogged drain or toilet. Rotation of the hooked end occurs when the handle of the drain snake’s drum is turned, which also feeds more of the snake into the drain.

Manual augers are especially useful in clearing simple drain or toilet clogs, dislodging debris, and passing through the sewer system. In most clogged drains, the manual plumbing snake is sufficient to clear minor blockages relatively close to the drain opening.

Motorized Drain Snake:

When a blockage is discovered to be further down the drain line than the manual snake allows (10 feet) or is too solid to budge without assistance, a motorized drain snake is brought onto the job site. Powered snakes can reach as far as 150 feet down a drain or sewer line, combined with an electric motor’s added torque and continuous rotation.

Motorized drain snakes are most effective when used to remove blockages caused by tree root infiltration but are also used for clearing grease, food waste, and sewage clogs. Motorized drain snakes can sometimes make a lousy plumbing situation worse; for instance, if your pipes are old and corroded, using a powered drain snake can break off chunks of metal, making the clog worse and shattering the line.

High-Definition Drain and Sewer Line Cameras:

If your plumber hasn’t had success after attempting to clear a drain or sewer line with a motorized snake, it could indicate a complete blockage further down your sewer line. One of the recent technological advances that have most helped the plumbing industry is the high-definition snake camera.

Getting a look at the interior of a pipe structure and seeing what is causing your drain blockage is a game-changer. Knowing exactly where a clog is and what it is made up of before treating it, your plumber can determine the best tools and most straightforward approach for the job.

Hydro-Jetting Machine:

As exciting as plumber’s snakes and drain cameras are, neither holds a candle to when we get to use the hydro-jetting machines. By employing concentrated water jets, it can flush away decades of built-up grease, soap, and other nastiness that hangs out in your drain and sewer lines.

Powerful water streams from a hydro-jetting machine can reach as high as 35,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) and have more than enough power to eliminate any trace of residue from your pipe walls, leaving them in a “like-new” condition.

Kitchen Sink Drain in Houston Clogged with Food

What Causes Drain Clogs?

First off, we can’t solve a problem if we don’t recognize it.

Just about anything we put into our drains and toilets will eventually contribute to a serious drain clog. Whether we’re flushing too much toilet paper or putting pasta and chicken skin into the garbage disposal, we’re asking for a world of trouble.

Having a toilet back up into your bathtub is a horrifying experience, but in the plumbing world, it’s merely an inconvenience.

DIY drain cleaning methods are great for localized, relatively easy clogs and partial blockages that can cause slow drains. We cannot stress enough to stay away from chemical drain cleaners. They’re bad for the environment, bad for your plumbing, and potentially detrimental to your health as well. Regular use of a harmless, enzyme-based drain cleaner that uses bacteria to eat away at the organic material in our drains can help to prevent future clogs.

Who Can Unclog My Drain and Sewer Lines?

If you’ve tried all the do-it-yourself remedies and that clog still won’t go away, it’s time to call in an experienced and licensedplumber to do the job. Professional companies like Nick’s Plumbing & AC have the experience and equipment to identify your clog and clear it regardless of its location. Call us today to schedule your appointment with the best drain cleaning company in Houston, Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning.

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