Drain Clearing & Cleaning Category
Your household drain system isn’t a lot of things. It’s not a garbage can, a toxic waste disposal or a recycling receptacle. Drains are designed to accommodate certain liquids and some liquefied or finely-pulverized solid materials. Anything that falls outside those specifications may cause a nasty clog and/or damage or deteriorate your plumbing. This, in turn, will necessitate the services of a professional plumber to resolve the problem at your expense.
It’s simpler—and less expensive—to keep things that don’t belong in your drains out of your drains in the first place. Here’s a list of the top 10 usual suspects:
- Grease and fat. They may go down as a liquid but they harden in your pipes and cause an accumulation of sludge that eventually triggers clogs. Throw it out with the regular trash.
- Coffee grounds. Inside your pipes they accumulate at the lowest point in the household plumbing, causing blockages. Dispose in the trash.
- Paper towels and most other paper products. With the exception of toilet paper, any paper that goes down drains does not decompose and will cause a pipe blockage.
- Rice and pasta products. These foods do not disintegrate but swell inside your pipes, eventually obstructing flow of waste water.
- Hair. It’s another ingredient of the sludge that forms inside plumbing and causes clogs. Place hair strainers over drains.
- Bath salts. Unless the label specifically states that the product fully dissolves, assume that it doesn’t and don’t let it flow down drains.
- Eggshells, corn husks, onion skins, etc. Any food products that are undigestible don’t belong in your drains, either.
- Cat litter. This is very water-absorbent and thus extremely hard to clear out of your plumbing once it causes a clog.
- Nail polish remover and other solvents. These are bad for pipes and rubber seals and will eventually degrade plumbing.
- Caustic drain openers. Strong drain openers that include sodium hydroxide or other harsh chemicals may destroy pipes. If you can’t open a clogged drain with a simple plunger, contact a plumber.
For a clogged drain or other plumbing issues, in greater Cincinnati contact the professional plumbers at Apollo Home.
Today, professional drain cleaning and maintenance usually means power rodding or hydro jetting. Plumbing techniques and technology have advanced to methods that are more effective and easier on your pipes. It’s a recognition that simply punching a hole in an obstruction causing a clog with a snake or other instrument is frequently a temporary expedient. As long as conditions inside the pipe that reduce free flow of waste water persist—usually the accumulation of sludge or other residue—the drain is prone to clog again.
Power rodding or hydro jetting are the latest implements in a professional plumber’s arsenal to clear clogs as well as the conditions that make them likely to recur. Here’s how each of these advancements gets the job done in very different ways.
- Power rodding is a higher-tech, more effective version of the basic drain snake. The system employs a thin metal cable that is highly flexible and doesn’t over-stress delicate plumbing as it is threaded into the pipe. At the end of the cable, a cleaning head incorporates extremely sharp cutting teeth that are specifically sized to the diameter of the pipe. An external electric motor rotating the cable spins the cleaning head and teeth at a high rate of speed. The cutting action destroys the immediate clog, but the action of the high-speed blades also scrapes the pipe walls free of sludge accumulation that reduces water flow and promotes clogs. Power rodding can also be used to remove tree roots that have infiltrated an outdoor sewer line.
- Hydro jetting utilizes the power of hot, high-pressure water to clear obstructions and clean the pipe. A cleaning head attached to a water line is threaded into the pipe. The head features apertures that emit high-pressure jets of hot water at up to 4,500 p.s.i. injected into the line by an external pump. The force of the water obliterates the clog and flushes it away without damaging the pipe. The pressurized, heated water also dissolves sludge and grease that trigger clogs.
For more information on power rodding or hydro jetting, contact the pros at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Smelly drains are drains that are likely to clog. That unpleasant odor wafting up from the sink usually indicates that the drain pipe is harboring sludge. It’s a gooey concoction of decaying organic material that has been washed down the sink or bathtub, combined with soap residue.
Sludge accumulation gradually narrows the diameter of drain pipes, slowing the flow of waste water and generating odors. In addition, as water flow through the pipe decreases, clogs become increasingly more likely. A clogged, sludge-filled drain pipe may be temporarily opened by do-it-yourself methods like using a common plunger. However, clogs are likely to recur soon as long as the sludge residue remains.
In addition, as water flow through the pipe decreases, clogs become increasingly more likely. A clogged, sludge-filled drain pipe may be temporarily opened by do-it-yourself methods like using a common plunger. However, clogs are likely to recur soon as long as the sludge residue remains. Drain cleaning by a qualified plumber is usually required for a permanent solution to chronic clogging.
The best way to prevent smelly drains and accompanying clogs is to avoid the accumulation of sludge in the first place by practicing good “drain hygiene.” Here are some helpful tips:
- Watch what goes into the drain. Avoid washing large food scraps down the drain—even if you have a disposal. Store grease in a container and throw it out with the trash. Don’t pour it into the sink. The same goes for coffee grounds.
- Install drain hair strainers in bathtubs and showers and clear hair out of them weekly.
- For regular DIY preventive maintenance, once a month pour about a cup of baking soda into each drain. Follow it with two cups of boiling water. After a few minutes, add another cup of baking soda, then a cup of white vinegar. Wait another few minutes, then flush the drain clear with more boiling water.
In addition to those indoor plumbing practices, every few years have your main sewer line outside checked by a plumber to ensure that sewage is flowing freely. Tree roots and other blockages can gradually restrict the flow and reflux sewage and odors back into the house.
For professional service to deal with smelly drains and the clogs that usually follow, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Homeowners who need drain clearing and cleaning in Cincinnati sometimes ask if so-called “green” drain cleaners are a viable alternative to other chemical methods. Most professional plumbers aren’t big fans of heavy-duty caustic drain chemicals, typically formulated with corrosives like sodium hydroxide or sulfuric acid. These harsh substances can disintegrate pipes and other components, often turning a minor clog into major expensive damage to your plumbing system. They can also be a safety hazard, not only to the homeowner who uses them but to the plumber called in to work on the system if the caustic drain chemical fails to clear the clog.
Most green drain cleaners use natural enzymes instead of corrosive chemicals to remove clogs. These enzymes contain bacteria that actually consume the organic material that is by and large the most frequent cause of drain clogs. If you require drain clearing and cleaning in Cincinnati, here are some pros and cons of trying green methods instead of harsh chemicals:
- Green drain chemicals are safer to use. No danger from chemical burns or severe eye damage, which can occur if caustic drain chemicals splash or reflux out of the drain.
- The enzymes used in green drain openers are non-corrosive and harmless to your pipes and/or the septic tank.
- Green chemicals pose no toxic threat to the environment at large or the municipal water treatment system.
- A green drain cleaner may take substantially longer to clear a clog than a conventional caustic drain chemical.
- The enzymatic approach offered by green drain cleaners is often best utilized as a regular preventive treatment to keep pipes clean and inhibit clogs before they happen.
Once a clog occurs, if green drain cleaners and/or simply plunging the drain fail to clear it, the most cost-efficient option at that point is usually to consult a plumbing professional. A qualified plumber arrives with an array of safe options to remove drain clogs of all sorts without endangering your pipes or the environment. For more information on drain clearing and cleaning in Cincinnati, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing today.
Once you confront a household drain that won’t clear with a common plunger, it may be time to seek professional drain cleaning from a qualified plumber. The fact is, other DIY options all have potential drawbacks, and may, at the least, only delay seeking the trained expertise required to open the drain. In the worst case scenario, do-it-yourself attempts may damage plumbing and cause added repair expense. Here are three common DIY strategies that may only make things worse:
Residential plumbing isn’t fabricated to withstand the effects of sodium hydroxide or sulfuric acid—the two most common chemical drain openers. These substances are formulated to dissolve organic clogs; however, repeated use can also deteriorate galvanized steel, copper, and PVC, the most common drain pipes in residential use. The worse the clog, the more likely it is that chemical drain cleaners will damage your pipes. Since there’s no water flow through a totally obstructed drain to dilute the chemical, the pipe is subjected to concentrated exposure to any caustic substance poured down the drain.
Damaging Power Snakes
It happens when inexperienced do-it-yourselfers rent power snakes to unclog drains. These industrial-strength units put a great deal of stress on aging residential pipes or joints, and in untrained hands, may actually rupture drain lines. Instead of resorting to the heavy-duty snake, a qualified professional plumber dealing with a clogged residential pipe may opt instead for hydro-jetting equipment that uses high-pressure water jets to clear clogged drains without traumatizing the plumbing.
Water accumulating in a tub or sink may not actually be the result of a clogged drain pipe that you can clear yourself. An obstructed sewer line out in your front yard may cause drain water from elsewhere in the home to back up into other fixtures. All the plunging, snaking, and drain cleaning chemicals in the world won’t open the drain, because the problem’s in your sewer.
Avoid the downsides of DIY approaches by contacting Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing for professional drain cleaning.
Clogs and blockages in a home’s plumbing can cause serious harm if they’re not taken care of promptly. There are several indicators homeowners can keep their eyes open for to get a head start with professional drain cleaning. If you see any of the following warning signs, call your plumber to schedule professional drain cleaning before a disaster happens.
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