Clogged drains and sewer lines are common problems, especially in older homes and commercial buildings. When they happen, they can cause a mess with overflowing water, debris and sewage, and foul odors. Flushing the toilet can back water up into your bathtub or shower. The result is usually an emergency call to a plumber for help.
Although clogged drains and sewer lines create messy problems, they can be unclogged safely and efficiently with the right equipment. Depending on the specific problem, a plumbing snake or hydro jet can be used to unclog the drain. Both methods are effective, but it's important to use the right one for the job.
Plumbing snakes, also called plumbing augers, are simple pieces of equipment that are easy to use. They consist of a long metal tube that encases an inner cable with blades or a corkscrew auger attached to one end. The opposite end has a crank. The long metal tube is inserted into the drain, then the crank is turned to force the tube into the pipe. As the tube goes deeper into the drain, it will either open up the clog or twist around whatever is clogging the drain, so it can be pulled out. Plumbing snakes with straight tubes are best for clogged sink drains, while snakes with J-bends are best for clogged toilets. In addition to crank model plumbing snakes, there are also motorized snakes, but they should be used by experienced professional plumbers to prevent damage to pipes.
Pros – Plumbing snakes are easy to use and gentle on drains and pipes. If you're home or office has an older plumbing system, a plumbing snake is best. Older pipes are often too weak to withstand the water pressure from a hydro jet.
Cons – Plumbing snakes have limited capability to remove clogs. With large clogs, they may not be able to push through the entire blockage to allow full water flow. Some of the clog may be removed, but the drain will likely require more unclogging.
Hydro jets are more sophisticated plumbing tools than snakes. They consist of a high-pressure hose with special nozzles. The hose connects to a machine that provides pressurized water through the nozzles. The force of the water and the special nozzles breaks up clogs by blasting them through the drain and pipe. The water pressure is so strong, it can blast through clogs caused by hair, grease, oil, mineral buildup, paper, debris, and even tree roots and force them down the pipes. If you plan to use a hydro jet, it's best to check your pipes for damage first with a camera operated drain inspection by a professional plumber.
Pros – Hydro jets are effective on all types of clogs and blockages. The water pressure does all the work, so you don't need to use chemicals or declogging agents, which often aren’t very effective anyway. Hydro jets are environmentally friendly tools for homes and businesses.
Cons – Hydro jets are not a safe option for homeowners who want to clear their own drains. The water pressure can harm weak or fragile pipes, causing even more damage. It's best to hire a professional plumber who can inspect your plumbing lines and ensure a safe job.
If you're experiencing clogged drains and other plumbing problems, call the professionals at Bill Fenwick Plumbing. We can help you with all of your home and office plumbing needs.