What is Drain Cleaning and Why Do You Need It?

One of the frustrating things that can happen at home is waiting for water to slowly drain from the sink, the tub, or the shower area. No matter how cautious any homeowner is in using the sink or the tub, slow drains can still happen over time. This is because build-ups and clogs can sometimes be inevitable due to frequent use.

The good news is slow drains and clogs can be avoided somehow. Clogs can be melted and extracted or flushed through even before it becomes a problem. Mindful use of plumbing fixtures is foremost in the least of ways to avoid drainage problems. Here are some ways to mindfully use home plumbing systems:

  1. Do not pour kitchen grease or used cooking oil in the drain. Instead, dispose of it according to community regulations. Some localities have an oil recycling program, so it is best to follow these guidelines.
  2. Avoid letting bits of starchy food, food scraps, vegetable, and fruit peelings to go down the drain. Even with the garbage disposal, these food bits can still form sizeable clogs once they lump together. Have a compost pile, or dispose of these of properly.
  3. Install a hair trap in the tub and shower area. This should at least catch the hair and other soap bits that could clog the shower and tub drain. These can be easily bought in any grocery or home improvement store.
  4. Pour a kettle-full of boiling water in the drain every other week. This should at least help melt clogs that are about to form.

Drain cleaning is yet another measure that could prevent slow drains and clogs. It could also be a solution to drainage back-ups. So what is drain cleaning and why should a homeowner hire a plumber for this service?

What is drain cleaning? Drain cleaning is the thorough cleaning of all drainage pipes within a home or commercial property. This means having to clean up the build-up with specialized plumbing equipment, and plumbing expertise. While a homeowner may want to carry out drain cleaning by themselves, a thorough cleaning may not be possible. Special plumbing tools are needed to carry this out, and of course, training and experience.

There are dangers associated with self-troubleshooting clogs and clearing out one’s drains.  For instance, using over-the-counter drain cleaners can be too harsh on the piping system. It is usually a short-term solution because it can be very corrosive. It can melt some types of pipes and cause leakages in the long run.

Another danger associated with clearing one’s drainage is breakage. The drain pipes could break with too much exertion from plungers and home tools that homeowners may use to clean their drains.  Breakage will cause even more significant problems.

Benefits of professional drain cleaning

Professional drain cleaning and go a long way in terms of ensuring a smooth working plumbing system. This can be done for kitchen drains, bathroom drains, utility room drains, laundry room drains, and sewer room drains. It can be carried out as part of periodic maintenance work, or as a remediation measure for clogs.

Plumbing contractors have specialized equipment that can be used to see hard-to-reach areas that can get clogged. Their training, plus their equipment, will help ensure that the drain lines will be cleared rapidly and efficiently.

Video Camera Line Inspection Tool

A video camera that goes through the drain pipes is very efficient in finding clogs that could be deep within the pipe system. Licensed contractors use this to carry out faster drain cleaning services. Once the camera identifies the location of the clog, the plumbers will then flush the clog out through a highly-pressurized water stream. No chemicals will be used to melt the clog as chemicals can be corrosive and could damage the whole system further. Flushing is more efficient and safe when it comes to clearing out drain pipes.

After the clog has been removed, the plumber will again inspect the drain line through the line camera. This re-inspection makes sure that the clogs have been removed and the drain pipes have been cleaned out.

Dangers of chemical drain cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners may work for the time being, but it is never a long-term solution to drain clogs. It can even cause long-term problems. Here are some of the dangers associated with using store-bought drain cleaners:

  1. Chemical drain cleaners are very corrosive. If it sits on the drain pipes, it can cause corrosion and eventual leaks. While it may melt clogs, it can also melt pipes.
  2. Store-bought drain cleaners are highly toxic. These substances are a danger throughout homes, especially those with young children. Since it is usually in colors associated with fruit drinks or energy beverages, it can be easily mistaken as a drink. Once ingested, these toxic chemicals can poison the body and cause irreversible damage. Moreover, getting these drain cleaners into the skin can be highly dangerous
  3. Drain cleaners can pose a danger to pets. When drain cleaners are stored in areas that can be accessed by pets, the domesticated animals could be in danger. Ingesting the drain cleaner can immediately poison their whole system, and impair if not kill them.
  4. The fumes from store-bought chemical drain cleaners can be very harmful as well. After pouring the solution to the drains, the fumes can linger around the house for up to 48 hours. The damage to the health, specifically the respiratory system, can be highly dangerous.
  5. Once these chemical drain cleaners are in the pipe and are drained out, some of its components cannot be thoroughly cleaned during wastewater treatment. Once it is returned to the environment, it can cause an ecological imbalance that can be harmful to the whole ecosystem.

Having mentioned the dangers of do-it-yourself drain cleaners, homeowners must understand that drain cleaning should only be left to professionals.  While it may seem practical to extract clogs and clean pipes on one’s own, the expertise and equipment of licensed plumbing contractors ensure the safety and efficiency of the whole drain cleaning process.

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