Sewer Clog Basics

A clogged sewer drain is no laughing matter. How to best handle it depends on the details of the clog and the drain pipe.

Pipe Inspection

A pipe inspection is a must before having the main drain cleaned. Attempting to clear out the drain without an inspection can lead to major damage due to unknown issues or problems along the pipe. If a pipe is collapsing, for example, then using an auger to snake out the drain may tear apart the drain line so that the only option is to replace it.

Inspections also reveal the cause of the blockage, which can help you determine the best way to have it removed. The best method for treatment depends on the type of clog, the severity of the buildup, and the shape of the drain pipe. If the drains are relatively clean except for something like one wad of paper lodged in place, then you may be able to clear the drain without a full cleaning.

Common Drain Issues

One of the most common causes for clogs along the main drain is tree roots, which make their way in through small joints in the drain pipe. The roots are looking for moisture and nutrients. Toilet paper and various hygiene products are other major sources for main drain clogs.

The kitchen and bathroom can be the causes of many drain issues. Grease and food residue from the kitchen coats the inside of the drain pipe, leading to a sticky clog that attracts more and more debris. Bathroom water waste can behave in a similar way, with soap scum coating the inside of the pipe and trapping hair and other debris.

Drain Jetting Vs. Augering

Drain jetting consists of feeding a high-pressure water hose down the drain pipe. The hose nozzle is designed to shoot jets of water forward, to the sides, and backward so that all residue is cleared from the pipe and pipe walls. Jetting works especially well for removing tree roots as well as grease and scum that is coating the pipe walls. Further, it is safe for most pipes because the pressure can be adjusted lower when dealing with older pipes or those with minor damage.

Augering is also known as snaking. A long cable with a sharp end is fed into the drain. This cable effectively drills through any clog, so it is best suited to the removal of tree roots or solid clogs, such as toilet paper clumps. It doesn't work as well for cleaning out scum buildup. Further, augering can punch holes in older or weak drain pipes.

Contact a hydro jet drain cleaning service to learn more.