The last time you had a slow drain, you may have reached for a simple solution—store-bought liquid drain cleaner. Either that, or a plunger and nothing else but a little “elbow grease” (which hopefully solved the problem!)
Of course, not only is liquid drain cleaner actually bad for your plumbing system, it will do nothing for really large backups like a severe limescale buildup, pipe damage, or even tree root infiltration in your sewer line. A better solution may be what’s called hydro-jetting [more on that below!]
“I Really Can’t Just Use Chemical Drain Cleaners?”
Any professional plumber with decent experience will never recommend those common drain cleaning chemicals found in many hardware stores and even grocery stores. We know this seems like an easy solution, but here are the facts about these liquid “drain cleaners”:
- They are some of the most caustic and toxic chemicals you can buy at the store, with the potential to injure your skin and eyes.
- They can damage the lining of your plumbing pipes.
- The chemicals in these drain cleaners aren’t able to dissolve certain types of clogs—they might only push the problem further down in the sewer line, creating a bigger problem later on.
“Can’t I Use a Drain Snake to Remove the Clog?”
If a plunger doesn’t work, an at-home drain snake may do the trick. But it really depends on how far along the clog is. If it is a superficial clog—near the drain opening—a standard drain snake might be all you need. But if it is further down the drain, you’ll want a large professional drain auger—or hydro-jetting!
“What Is Hydro-Jetting and Will It Hurt My Pipes?”
Hydro-jetting is similar to using a drain snake, but with an important difference. A drain snake has an auger on the end that allows you (or our pros) to pick out whatever is clogging your drain. But sometimes, the clog is just too stubborn and needs to be scoured out of your drain.
And that’s where a hydro-jet comes in. A hydro-jet also has an auger on the end, but instead of picking out a clog, the auger is multi-directional and sprays a high-pressured stream of water into your pipes, essentially cleaning out the pipes. It’s an effective drain cleaning method because not only does it get rid of your current problem, but it prevents further clogs from forming, too.
Why Plumbing Maintenance Is Key
Not all plumbing clogs can be prevented. But a great way to ensure that your plumbing is in the best shape possible is by scheduling plumbing maintenance! It helps to catch problems before they start—for example, if we notice through video pipe inspection that you have aging pipes susceptible to corrosion, then you can have repiping done before you ever have to suffer from a leak.
In addition to maintenance and clog prevention through hydro-jetting, it’s a good idea to know the signs that you’re in need of plumbing repair, too. These signs include:
- A drop in water pressure.
- Unusual spikes in your monthly water bills.
- Obvious signs of water damage.
- A strong smell of mold or mildew.
- A running water meter, even though all water appliances are off.
- Visible leaks.
If you do notice any of these signs, please don’t hesitate to give our pros a call!