Drain cleaning is a specialty service performed by plumbers and there tends to be more confusion about it than almost any other service. For that reason, we are going to dispel the 5 biggest myths about drain cleaning
Chemical drain cleaning products that can be purchased at the hardware or grocery store, are not a replacement for a professional drain cleaning. In fact, many times people will turn to one of these products, and after they fail to work, call a professional. Part of the problem with this scenario is that when the technician goes to run the drain, it is now filled with a chemical that has specific warnings about toxicity. These chemicals can cause burns to their skin, hands and face when it splashes on them when clearing the drain with a machine.
Not only is a machine better equipped to handle a clogged line, it is more environmentally friendly and won’t corrode the drain pipes. Chemicals are designed to dissolve the problem, which means high concentrations of the thick liquid could be sitting there also attempting to dissolve the pipe (it doesn’t know the difference). A machine simple runs along the circumference of the pipe to clear the clog and push it through.
This is a tricky myth. In a way, the drains are all connected. However, they are also separate. Picture your body. There are a variety of veins that run to and away from the heart. In essence, they are connected but one runs to your foot and another runs to your arm. In a home, water runs in and waste water runs out. Just as you can have a clogged artery, you can have a clogged line. This clog can affect other areas, but the clog is in one spot.
All drains do connect to the main sewer line that leads out and away from the house. A clog in the sewer line can back up additional lines in the house. Clearing one clog can clear the others, but it depends on where the clog or clogs are located.
There are machines that can be rented, as well as drain cleaning videos and blogs that can walk your through the process. Overall, we feel a main sewer line cleaning needs to only be performed by a professional drain cleaner. Toilet clogs can sometimes be addressed with a plunger or simple 6 foot auger, both found at a hardware store. However, improper use of a hand auger can cause problems, so if the toilet clog isn’t fixed with a plunger, or if you know a toy, hairbrush or other awkwardly sized object has fallen in the toilet, it is a good idea to call a professional to pull the toilet, remove the object and reset the toilet.
Not knowing how to use a drain cleaning machine can cause serious injury. Usually by the time a you have exerted the time, energy and money doing it yourself, and possibly not getting desired results, could have been better spent on hiring it out.
Sewer back-ups are fairly common for homeowners. The amount of trees in your yard can lead to regular sewer back-ups. The use of products that don’t move through the sewer line well can also be a recurring culprit. Low flush toilets are also know for clogging and for not having enough force and water to push things through completely. These are all things that replacing the sewer line won’t fix. An annual sewer line cleaning will help to keep your sewer line clear and reduce sewer line back-ups at the fraction of the price of a sewer line replacement.
All plumbers don’t do drain cleaning. It is a specialized service and some plumbers choose to not focus on that service and choose another instead. Also, even though it is a specialty, it is not a required element in plumbing code, so drain cleaners can be professionals in that area without having a plumbing license. It is important to know that distinction as some professional drain cleaners are not qualified to do licensed plumbing work, such as replacing a faucet or installing a water heater. If you are unsure, just ask your plumbing company if they have specialized plumbers or if they use non-licensed plumbers to do the work. There are benefits to both scenarios and it will depend on your specific goals as to which way to go.
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