Drain Cleaning 101 by ASAP Drain Guys & Plumbing

Drain Cleaning 101

Clearing a clogged drain is the most common reason for calling for a plumber.  It’s also the plumbing problem most people attempt to tackle themselves.  True, it’s handy to keep some liquid drain cleaner and give it a try, but that’s often not the best solution and frequently just delays calling in a professional to clear the clog and get your life back on schedule.  In the worst case it can damage a garbage disposal or even your plumbing.

So let’s discover a few important things about drain cleaning and when it’s best to call in an expert.  There are several types of drain clogs, usually described in terms of the type of fixture — shower, toilet, or kitchen sink.  But the real issue is what’s actually causing the back up or slow drainage.

Shower and Tub Drain Cleaning

Most shower drain problems are caused by a build up of hair and soap scum.  So the first step is to open the drain and pull out any obvious obstruction.  If that doesn’t solve it, liquid drain cleaners are reasonably effective on this type of blockage.  Just don’t over do it.  Follow the cleaner’s instructions, and don’t use it more than once or twice.  If it’s still no-go, it’s time to call a residential plumber.  Drain snaking will completely take care of the problem in most cases.

Toilet and Sewer Drain Cleaning

With large diameter pipes, a toilet rarely clogs from normal use.  A toilet back up is usually the result of foreign objects in the toilet itself, or tree roots penetrating the sewer line between the building and the street.  Either way, a toilet clog is not really something you want to, nor should, treat yourself!

Depending on the exact nature of the problem, a sewer expert will use an auger or high-pressure jetting to clear the blockage.  If it’s a matter of tree roots, you’ll need to do something about the tree or the type of sewer pipe.  If there’s been significant damage it will be necessary to repair or replace the sewer line.  That could be digging a single hole for a spot repair, or digging a trench in order to replace a length of pipe.  There are also trenchless methods to avoid disturbing landscaping, driveways, and walkways.  A professional plumber will discuss the options with you, and then provide a detailed estimate and schedule.

Kitchen Sink Drain Cleaning

Kitchen sinks will need drain cleaning from time to time due the build up of grease and food debris.  A clog can develop gradually over time, or suddenly when something that should be kept out finds its way into the garbage disposal or drain.  Liquid drain cleaners sometimes work, but are less effective against food debris and grease.

If you want to try a do-it-yourself approach, the first step is checking the J-trap and the outlet of the garbage disposal.  If the problem is in the drain pipe itself, drain snaking may at least partly solve the problem.  But often that just punches a hole through a grease plug.  You’ll get some drain flow, but that hole will close back up relatively soon and you’ll have a sink full of water all over again.  Only special truck-mounted hydro-jetting equipment will completely clean out your pipes.

Commercial Grease Traps

Restaurants and just about any commercial facility where food is prepared or served will have a grease trap.  The trap intercepts heavy oils and grease, and keeps them from going into the sewer line where they can cause big problems.  Grease traps need regular scheduled cleaning as well as inspection to make sure they’re working properly.  Neglecting them can lead to a business disruption or even health code violations.  That means that it’s well worth the expense of bringing in an outside expert.  A commercial plumber knows the ins and outs of the many trap designs, and can complete the FOGS (fatty oils, grease, and solids) measurements and reporting required by the EPA.

ASAP Drain Guys & Plumbing Professional Plumbing Services

As with just about everything, if you want to be sure the jobs is done right without the risk of causing yet more problems, bring in a professional.  Rather than just any local plumber, they should be fully trained and licensed plumbers specializing in drain and sewer services.  Like the experts as ASAP Drain Guys & Plumbing.  We have the training, experience, and special equipment needed to completely solve all your drain, sewer, and grease trap problems.  That includes an in-pipe remote video camera to exactly locate and understand the nature of your particular clog.  We’re your best choice in San Diego.

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