How To Fix (and How Not To Fix) a Blocked Drain | Point Loma Electric and Plumbing

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How To Fix (and How Not To Fix) a Blocked Drain

It’s an all-too-familiar tale: First, water starts going down the drain slower than normal. Then it barely seems to be draining at all. Before long, water pools up and won’t budge in the slightest. It’s a blocked drain, and anyone will agree that it can’t get fixed a moment too soon. 

So in the interest of solving the problem as quickly as possible, many people reach for the first available option. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always turn out to be the best one – or even close to it. That’s why this article will go over three different methods frequently used for clearing drains, two of which are highly effective and one of which does more harm to the plumbing system than good.

Drain Augers (aka Drain Snakes)

One popular method for clearing drains is the auger or snake. This durable, flexible metal coil ends at one end in a portion of wire resembling a corkscrew. This end of the coil is sent down the affected drain to drill into the blockage, either breaking it apart or “hooking” it so that one can pull it out. 

Drain snakes come in varying lengths and can be fed into the drain by hand or with an electric motor. They are commonly used by plumbers and DIY’ers alike. However, a drain snake can scratch porcelain fixtures in untrained hands and severely damage pipes made from less durable materials. When performed by a pro, snaking is a safe and effective way to clear blocked drains and even clean the pipe walls to some degree.

Hydro-Jetting Machine

Another great method for unclogging drains is hydro-jetting, which involves using a special kind of high-powered pressure washer. The operator of this machine feeds the water hose into the drain. The hose nozzle sprays a powerful jet stream straight ahead to blast away obstructions while several smaller jets spray behind the nozzle at an angle, helping to propel the hose forward.

Once the blockage has been broken up and washed away, the operator pulls the hose back up while the rear-facing jets spray the pipe walls once again to remove any leftover residue or grimy buildup. Hydro-jetting is used for both fixing stubborn clogs and routine drain cleaning. Due to the extremely high water pressure involved and the equipment’s specialized (and expensive) nature, this is another drain clearing method best left to the pros.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

The final method on this list is very popular among homeowners due to its accessibility, affordability, and relatively easy application – chemical drain cleaners. These products, sold in most hardware stores and supermarkets, contain harsh chemicals which react to the water and organic matter in a drainpipe to generate heat and dissolve the clog.

Unfortunately, the pipes themselves are not immune to this chemical reaction and may get damaged in the process. It’s also not uncommon for these products to “scar” fixtures like sinks and tubs. In addition, they can produce toxic gases, cause severe burns, and be fatal if swallowed, so great care must be taken when using them. In general, the risks involved in using chemical drain cleaners are not worth the rewards.

About Point Loma Electric and Plumbing

The award-winning Point Loma Electric and Plumbing has provided 5-star service to their community for over 30 years. They offer up-front, competitive pricing, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee on every job. Their licensed, insured, and background-checked experts are ready to handle anything, so call Point Loma now for drain cleaning in San Diego, CA!

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