You've probably cleaned out several drain clogs with a plunger or hand-crank snake, so when your drain develops a clog you can't break up, you may be stumped. Home methods of drain cleaning are often ineffective on clogs deep in a sewer pipe, and some clogs are nearly impossible to break through unless commercial equipment is used. Calling a plumber to clean the drain may be necessary. Here's how a professional might tackle the clog.
Determine The Nature Of The Clog
Commercial drain cleaning equipment is powerful, and it's so powerful that it could damage your pipe. That's one reason a plumber may decide to use a pipe camera before attempting to clear the clog. By putting a camera into the pipe, the plumber can get a look at the pipe's condition and tell if it's weak and corroded. The camera also identifies the type of clog so you'll know if your drain has a problem with tree roots, wet wipes, or scale and grease buildup. In addition, a pipe camera can pinpoint the location of the clog, which might be useful information in determining how deep to send in the drain cleaning tools.
Clear Out The Drain
A plumber often uses a motorized snake to chop through a clog. The plumber passes a thick cable into the drain and then turns on a motor that spins the head to cut through roots and paper clogs. These commercial snakes are much more powerful than hand-crank snakes and the cables are longer, so they can clean out deep clogs, and they'll cut through about anything.
Another option your plumber might consider is to use a hydro jet. This tool is useful for cleaning off grease and scale that cling on the sides of the pipe. With this, the plumber passes a cable into the pipe that has a water jet on the head. The water scrubs the sides of the pipe in addition to busting up a clog. The water might be too powerful for weak and corroded pipes, so your plumber has to take care when choosing the right method of drain cleaning.
You don't always need a plumber to clear out a clog. If the clog is near the top of the drain, you can often push it through with a plunger, dissolve it with hot water, or chop it up with a small snake. One thing you should probably avoid is using chemical drain cleaners since they are dangerous and can pose a problem if they don't work and the plumber has to deal with the clog later. Although plumbing pipes are usually strong and able to withstand some abuse, you need to be careful with chemicals or being aggressive with a snake because you could cause damage. If you're struggling with a drain clog, calling a drain cleaning service is a safe way to deal with the problem.