Drain Cleaning

Quick Summary

Every home experiences drain clogs now and then, usually caused by built-up hair, fats and other greasy materials. To remove these blockages, homeowners can take the affordable DIY approach or can call on professional plumbers to clean out household drains and prevent ongoing clogs. 

About Drain Cleaning Services

You’ve probably experienced a drain in your home progressively get more and more clogged. It starts with a slow-draining tub or a toilet that won’t flush, and suddenly a problem that seemed manageable is much more inconvenient.

What starts as a small blockage can eventually lead to overflows, burst pipes or complete backups. These larger consequences can be much more costly to fix than a simple drain checkup as part of routine home maintenance.

Drain cleaning services can help identify the cause of your clogged drain, remedy the problem and even recommend preventive measures you can take to stop recurring drain blockages.

Benefits of Drain Cleaning Services

Regular cleaning is a necessary process to maintain any sink drain. Routine drain maintenance helps to clear clogs, freeing up the pipe from any debris or wastewater products that might be stuck.

Drain cleaning service can help address the following household problem areas:

  • Bathrooms: Sink and tubs that drain slowly typically contain a buildup of hair and soap scum. Toilet paper or other clogs may not be removable with a plunger if they are seriously stuck, and can be a source of bad odors. Drain opening or unclogging can speed up slow drains and ease the pressure on your bathroom plumbing lines.
  • Kitchens: Built-up grease clogs or food waste in garbage disposals are common problems in kitchen drains. Eventually, blocked kitchen drains can produce bad odors that worsen as the drain line clog gets worse.
  • Main lines: In some cases, clogs can affect deeper plumbing lines, non-detectable by most homeowners. Problems in the main line of residential plumbing systems can require extensive plumbing repair and high associated costs.

Clogged drains aren’t just an inconvenience—they can gradually cause an increase in pressure,  eventually leading to leaks. Unmitigated water leaks slowly lead to water damage and can promote mold growth.

Professional drain cleaning services can help unclog drains, preserve your plumbing system and prevent future costly problems. All homeowners should conduct routine drain maintenance to limit the need for professional intervention.

DIY Drain Cleaning Process

Most people tend to take a DIY approach to drain cleaning before calling in a plumber. Depending on the nature of the clog, at-home remedies can be quite effective if you catch the problem soon enough.

Two types of DIY drain cleaning methods are: 

  1. Physical removal — using a specialized tool, such as a drain snake, to remove clog-causing materials.
  2. Chemical drain cleaners — dissolving the source of the clog with powerful and fast-acting cleaning products.

When using chemical drain cleaners, wear the proper protective equipment, like gloves and goggles, and work with good ventilation. Alternatively, you can use enzyme-based drain cleaners. As a downside, these products can be harmful if inhaled and may wear down pipes if used for a prolonged time.

A homemade alternative is to use vinegar and baking soda, followed by hot water to clear the clog as much as possible.

Clog Prevention Tips

Homeowners can take important clog-prevention and drain maintenance steps to keep plumbing systems running smoothly.

All homeowners should follow these basics of proper drain maintenance:

  • Dispose of products properly: Avoid dumping products down the drain. Household products like everyday cleaners, makeup and nail polish remover, and medicine should be disposed of in the trash.
  • Separate oils into sealed jars: Never dispose of motor oil, cooking oils or greases in the drain. Put these materials into sealed containers and throw them out separately.
  • Use a drain strainer: To prevent kitchen sink clogs, catch food particles and coffee grounds in a fine drain strainer. Use one in the bathroom sink or tub drain too for stray hairs and other materials that can clog up the drain pipes.

Proper drain hygiene practices are important for the longevity of your plumbing and preventing future maintenance and repair costs.

Professional Drain Cleaning Services

The decision to hire a professional often comes after failed DIY attempts at unclogging a drain or even after recurring drain problems. Sometimes, you might also need to hire a professional if you’ve lost an item down the drain and need to retrieve it safely.

Professional plumbing services are particularly essential when clogged drains have been chronically neglected or when pipes were poorly installed to begin with.

When performing drain cleaning services, professionals use specialized processes to clean drains, such as hydro jetting. Using high-pressure jets of water, plumbers can efficiently blow through clogs in plumbing lines in a safe and effective way. Professionals are also available in emergency situations for especially bad plumbing blockages.

Cost of Drain Cleaning Services

Drain cleaning costs vary depending on the option you choose. DIY drain cleaning is a more cost-effective solution than hiring a professional. A drain snake costs under $100, and is a tool you can use for a lifetime. Chemical drain cleaners cost under $20, plus the cost of the necessary personal protective equipment.

Professional drain treatments are more expensive, ranging from $100 to $500. Costs will depend on the services the specific drain requires, the hourly rates of plumbers in the area and the types of tools that are necessary for the job.

In some cases, insurance and home warranties may cover the cost of drain cleaning. Always review your homeowners’ insurance policy and warranty coverage to ensure you don’t pay more out-of-pocket than is necessary. When contacting a professional drain cleaning service, compare quotes from a few companies to ensure you’re getting a fair deal for quality service.

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3 References
  1. EPA. (2002). Where Does All the Dirty Water Go? https://www3.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/centralized_brochure.pdf 
  2. Sussex County Delaware. (2020). Tips on How to Avoid Drain Clogs from Fat, Oils, Grease. https://sussexcountyde.gov/tips-how-avoid-sewer-clogs-fats-oils-and-grease-fog 
  3. Angie’s List (2020). How Much do Chicago Plumber’s Cost? https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-much-do-chicago-plumbers-charge.htm
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