We rely on drain pipes to transport wastewater away from our homes and to the local water treatment facility. These pipes are designed to handle most wastewater, but grease, oil, fat, hair, soap scum, food waste, debris, and foreign objects can create a clog in the pipe. When this happens, your pipes may be subjected to damage from high-pressure levels and standing water. Proper drain cleaning will prevent damage to your pipes and fixtures. Here are signs you need drain cleaning and different drain cleaning methods.
Signs You Need Drain Cleaning
You should perform regular drain cleaning with all-natural enzymatic drain cleaners, or another mild drain cleaner, about once or twice a year as part of your standard plumbing maintenance. However, clogs can still develop in between cleanings.
Signs that you need to perform drain cleaning include the following:
- Smells coming from your drain
- Slow draining sink
- Standing water
- Frequent clogs
- Drain flies
Clogs deep in your sewer line will likely impact all of the drains in your home. It's best to address them at the very beginning when they only impact one drain and are easy to reach.
Drain cleaners are chemicals used to dissolve the material causing the clog. Most of them use harsh chemicals that work well. However, harsh chemicals can cause damage to your pipes and fixtures, so they should be used sparingly and only for the worst clogs.
You can find all-natural enzymatic drain cleaners that won't cause any damage to your pipes. However, the enzymes only eat certain organic materials. They also aren't as strong as chemical drain cleaners, making them less effective against tough clogs.
Remember to keep all drain cleaners out of the vicinity of small children and pets as the chemicals can be fatal when consumed. If you suspect drain cleaner poisoning, visit the emergency room right away.
Drain snakes and augers consist of a long wire with a pointed head. You feed the cable into your plumbing system until you reach the clog. The head then dissolves the clog at the source. You will either turn the snake manually or apply the appropriate setting on a powered auger. Snakes only work if the cable can reach the clog. Deep clogs in pipes with a lot of twists and turns may be unreachable for the average auger.
The best offense against drain clogs is a strong defense. Use drain strainers and be mindful of what you toss down the drain. Finally, perform regular drain cleanings via a professional plumber—such as Rooter Express Plumbing & Drain.