Cleaning your home’s drain pipes with professional-level effectiveness does not have to be hard on your time or your budget. In fact, drain cleaning can actually be quite simple, if you know the proper tools and techniques you can use for at-home jobs! In this blog, we’ve provided an outline for five of the most useful drain cleaning tips and tricks you can use today to improve your drain’s performance.
1.) Hot Water and Homemade Solutions
Probably the most straightforward and harmless drain cleaning solution is hot water. Just running your faucet on its highest setting through your drain pipe can often dislodge minor clogs, and clear away grime; for drain pipes, temperature can work just as well as chemical cleaners at removing gunk and debris buildup! If your sink’s water flow is not high enough, or it’s water temperature too low, try running boiling water through your drain instead.
Hot water applications are also effective cleaners for bathtub drains, where the tub faucet is directly above the drain. Just like sink faucet water cleaning, hot water run through your tub faucet can potentially clear out any grime and clogging materials within the drain pipe.
This solution is less effective for shower drains, as they receive hot water flow on a regular basis. In these cases, you may want to try a homemade, safe chemical solution.
A mixed baking soda and vinegar solution can also clear out stubborn gunk in your home’s drains, especially in shower drains that receive hot water regularly. A very effective home remedy, these solutions react to one another within your drain pipes, and can dissolve most minor clogging elements. They are also much safer than commercial chemical cleaners, which can corrode pipes and cause skin and eye damage upon accidental contact.
2.) You Can Snake Your Own Drain Like the Pros
Another drain cleaning alternative, growing in popularity today, is drain snaking. Once considered only a professional practice, drain snakes, or augers, can be commonly purchased at home improvement stores, and are relatively simple to operate.
These snakes are fed through drains, and grab at clogs and blockages upon contact; then, they will either break away the blockage and force it safely through your plumbing, or can be pulled out with the clog material intact.
In a separate blog, we go over the drain snaking process in detail, but here is a quick recap of how to remove clogs with a drain snake:
- Feed the drain snake into your clogged drains and turn the snake’s handle clockwise
- Keep feeding the snake into the drain pipe until you feel resistance
- Rotate the snake against the blockage, and capture clog materials
- Pull the snake from the drain slowly, as not to lose the clogged gunk
- Reassemble your drain cover and test drain performance
Now, you can remove clogs and grime buildup with professional efficency!
3.) Your Home Plunger Can Do the Trick
As you may or may not be aware, the standard toilet plunger in your home right now can be used to resolve drain clogs! Simply fill your sink to a halfway point with water, and form a tight seal around the drain entrance with your plunger.
Simply push back and forth fluidly for about half a minute, forcing pressurized water into your drain and building up pressure with every push. It can also help to smear petroleum jelly around the rim of the plunger, as this improves the plunger’s suction to your sink, and creates a much tighter seal. You can also buy a specialized sink plunger at your local home improvement store, a model more efficient at removing sink clogs.
4.) Video Inspection Can Detect Major Clogs and Buildup
For more severe clogs, you can contact your local plumbing professionals and receive a professional video inspection of your drain pipes. These inspections are completed using wire snakes much like standard plumbing snakes, but in this case fixed with a small camera.
These video inspection snakes are fed through your damaged, clogged or dirty pipes, and can use video relay to detect virtually any damage, such as:
- Root infiltration
- Drain pipe cracking
- Blockages and loose debris
- Chemical corrosion within a pipe
- Collapsing inner pipes
Professional-grade video inspections of your home drains can determine whether your pipe’s poor performance is due to severe damages, or if your pipe is merely obstructed, such as by hair, oil or grease.
Plumbing specialists can also use video inspection snakes to check how successful a cleaning was, and give homeowners peace of mind that their drain pipes are effectively cleaned. This innovative technology, similar in concept to the tube cameras used by surgeons and medical professionals, gives customers more accuracy and detail that they could ever expect from a plumbing service.
5.) Keep Your Drain Clean With Routine Inspection
Something many homeowners forget is the importance of regular drain pipe inspection. These inspections don’t even have to be completed by a professional; you can self-diagnose your drain pipe performance at home, and should do so once a month. A regular self-inspection and cleaning schedule can largely prevent grime, debris, gunk and other objects from gathering in your drain pipes.
That said, you should not completely abandon professional drain pipe inspections. Most plumbing professionals suggest having a specialist inspection once a year, if not more. This is because these specialists know the signs; they know what to look for in problem areas, where to look for it, how problems develop and the ideal remedial steps you should take in you specific circumstances.
When the times comes to call a professional plumbing service, there are three key traits to look for:
- Unmatched service quality
- Efficiency and prompt service
- A fair, affordable price
Sometimes, home remedies won’t be enough to effectively clean your drains. If you feel in over your head, know when to call a plumbing professional. If you’re experience frequent drain clogs or other performance abnormalities, or would like to set up a professional inspection of your home drain pipes today, contact us right now!