Unblocking a Toilet Drain

6 Best Drain Cleaning Methods

Got a Blocked Drain?

Most of us have encountered a blocked drain at one stage and struggled to remove the clog. Blockages can occur anytime and are incredibly unpleasant when left unresolved, so we understand your readiness to test out all possible drain cleaning methods available. Blocked drains are often a stepping stone to much more serious plumbing issues. When drains stay blocked, leaks or cracks can appear in your plumbing system, resulting in either a burst pipe or water damage.

However, it’s important to note not all methods can unblock drains, and some tend to do more harm than good to your plumbing system. This guide will cover the top ways to remove blockages at home or by a professional plumber to clear your drains.

 

Drain Cleaning: Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

When we encounter an issue with our plumbing system, we lean towards removing the clog ourselves. Choosing a DIY approach comes with potential risks for yourself and your drains. So we recommend taking safety measures like wearing gloves, long sleeves, and some form of eye protection to avoid any accidents.

Chemical drain cleaners are one of the most popular solutions used by homeowners. However, using these solvents causes just as much damage to your drain pipes as leaving them blocked. Using drain cleaners can eat away at the coating in your pipes, cause leaks, interfere with decomposing wastes by killing good bacteria, and create toxic fumes. Instead, these are a few alternatives we recommend as professional plumbers.

 

1. Hot Water

For a partially clogged drain, either from grease or food wastes, pouring boiling water may be your best bet. The heat from the boiling water can dissolve buildups of grease or loosen food wastes stuck in your drain.

Yet not all types of pipes are suitable for boiling water treatment. If you have PVC drain pipes or your toilet is ceramic, do not use boiling water as the water’s heat can melt the pipes’ lining and lead to cracks or loosen joints. Hot tap water is still an adequate replacement; however, it is unlikely to unclog solid blockages

 

2. Baking Soda and Vinegar

Everyday household items baking soda and vinegar also work well as a drain cleaning method in breaking apart stubborn blockages. Combining this acid and base creates a fizzing reaction, with carbon dioxide gas and water bubbling through the drain and dislodging the loose material.

It’s essential to cover the drain to stop the bubbling mixture from coming out of the pipe and wash the excess with hot water. Depending on how blocked your plumbing is, this process gets repeated to clear your drain fully, with each treatment lasting 5-10 minutes.

 

3. Plungers

Some blockages have slow draining symptoms that are easy to manage with a plunger. However, there are two types of plungers suited to different blocked drains.

Your cup plunger usually comes to mind for most people, often having a wooden handle and rubber cup. As a result of their flat surface, these plungers work best on bathroom sinks, bathtubs, or anything else that doesn’t have a curve. Using a cup plunger on any rounded surface won’t work as the seal cannot occur and create the vacuum effect needed to remove the clog.

A flange plunger is the tool of choice if you need to unblock a drain on anything rounded, like a toilet bowl. Unlike a cup plunger, this plunger has a rubber flap inside the cap that folds out and fits well over curved drains to provide the needed suction. Although this type of plunger doesn’t just work on toilets, we strongly recommend using a separate plunger for your toilets and sinks. Using the same plunger is unhygienic and presents a health hazard.

 

Clearing Blocked Drains with a Professional Plumber

While there are a few home remedies to clear a blocked drain, calling a licensed northern beaches plumber guarantees the clog gets removed and no plumbing damage goes unnoticed. Before drain clearing begins, any good professional plumber will conduct a CCTV drain inspection using a CCTV drain camera to identify the root cause of the blockage. The material clogging the drain will determine the appropriate course of action to resolve the issue. The following drain cleaning methods are the most common for hard-to-move blocks.

 

1. Drain Snake

Drain snakes are the following drain cleaning tool used to remove your blockage when a plunger fails. These thin cables have a rotating coil situated at its end, which chips away at the blockage as it uncoils when you rotate the hand. Drain snakes are only helpful for blockages near the opening, as their length prevents them from working on clogged material deep in your drain pipe.

While practical on close to surface drain clogs, snakes can damage your plumbing system when not handled gently. As the coil unwinds, it can scrape along the lining of your drainpipe and create vulnerabilities in the structure. Therefore, it is best to explore other methods you decide to pursue the DIY drain snake option.

 

2. Jet Blaster

When faced with sturdier materials like dirt or tree roots, we use a jet blaster at Northern Beaches Blocked Drains. Also referred to as a high-pressure water jetter, these tools feature a large water tank and a special hose designed to withstand high-pressure levels. These tools make quick work of clogs by breaking up and loosening the debris with high-pressured streams of water.

Jet blasting also comes in handy when dealing with hardened grease and other cooking materials, with their manoeuvrability allowing for easy access indoors as well. Furthermore, these tools can clear drains as long as 50 metres down the line, making them ideal for most blockage scenarios.

3. Pipe Relining

There are instances where damage is too severe because of a longstanding blockage, and it is more effective to replace the pipe entirely instead of drain cleaning. Pipe relining is a relatively new advancement in the plumbing industry, allowing for cracked or burst pipes to get repaired from the inside without needing to excavate.

The process often follows the following steps when it comes to pipe relining. First, the plumber inspects the pipes using a CCTV drain camera to check the plumbing system and locate any drain pipe breaks or blockages. A custom liner and inflatable bladder matching the pipe specifications are created and soaked in an epoxy resin.

Once inserted and positioned correctly with the aid of the CCTV drain camera, the bladder is inflated, causing the liner to seal against the existing pipe. Your plumber will check and test the relined section to ensure the pipe got relined correctly.

 

Have a blocked drain and reside in the Northern Beaches or North Shore? At Northern Beaches Blocked Drains, we specialise in blockages and can tackle all plumbing issues ranging from a blocked toilet to pipe relining. To get your drains back to normal as quickly as possible, call us at 0416 962 481 or email us at services@northernbeachesblockeddrain.com.au for a service that will last a lifetime!

 

 

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