Clogged drains are one of the most common plumbing problems you can have in your home – but if you’ve got a 24-hour drain cleaning service on call, you can take care of it quickly and easily! No matter how stubborn the leak or clog is, experienced plumbers can ensure you have fully functional fixtures again.
So, how does a 24-hour drain cleaning service work? What should you expect? And what can you do to help speed up the process? In this article, Roto-Rooter California tells you everything you need to know about drain cleaning services!
I. Why You Shouldn’t Use Chemical Decloggers
For many people, if they have a clogged drain or toilet, their first impulse is to go buy a bottle of chemical de-clogger at the store. After all, these products are cheap, and they advertise themselves on how quickly they supposedly work.
However, there are a couple of issues here. The big one is that these bottled decloggers use extremely caustic chemicals to try to break down clogs – and those chemicals can easily damage your pipes. A single application won’t cause problems, but over time, they will start to wear the pipes down, especially plastic pipes.
Also, they don’t work as well as advertised. If the clog is thick, the declogging liquid will simply sit on top, without penetrating into the clog.
As an alternative to chemical decloggers, try creating a mix of 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup vinegar (or lemon juice), and one cup of water. This is a much gentler mixture than the storebought products use, but it’s almost as effective at clearing minor clogs.
If that doesn’t fix the clog, you’re better off calling in a 24-hour drain cleaning service to do the job right!
II. Methods Used for Clearing Your Drains
Professional plumbers have access to advanced tools and techniques that most everyday people can’t use. This makes them more effective at clearing out stubborn clogs.
The most common methods include:
1. Snaking / Cabling
Plumber’s snakes are small augers (drills) built into a highly flexible hose. The basic idea is that the snake is fed into the drain until it hits the clog, then the auger is extended to drill into the clog. By ripping the clog up and allowing water to penetrate into it, the clog will typically break up quickly afterward.
This is the most common way plumbers take care of smaller clogs, and those near to the drain or other outlet they’re clogging.
Plumber’s snakes are actually available to purchase at home improvement stores if you want one, but they take some skill and practice to use effectively. An amateur could potentially even damage their plumbing if they don’t know what they’re doing.
2. Video inspection
So, what happens if the clog is further down in the pipe, or inside the walls? In this case, the plumber needs to find the clog before they can deal with it. This means using video inspection, typically with a fiber-optic camera fed into a drain and then pushed through until it finds the clog.
This is necessary because clogs deep in the floor, or in the walls, will sometimes require digging into the material to get access. You want to know exactly where the clog is, to minimize the amount of damage that needs to be done.
Fortunately, there is another alternative, which often allows plumbers to get deep-set clogs without doing any damage to the walls or floor.
3. Hydro jetting
For hard-to-get-at clogs, or clogs so large and tough that they can’t be physically removed, there’s one more tool: high-pressure hydro jets. The principle is simple: the plumber takes a specialized high-pressure water jet and blasts it into the pipes to physically knock the clog out of the way.
This requires specialized equipment that is only available to plumbers since it can be quite dangerous if used incorrectly.
However, hydro jetting cannot be used in all situations. If the plumber suspects that a pipe is cracked or otherwise compromised, they can’t hydro-jet because it could break the pipe and cause more problems. This is another reason video inspection is so important! They can inspect the pipes leading up to the clog and decide whether the system can stand up to a high-pressure attack.
III. What to Expect When You Call A 24-Hour Drain Cleaning Service
So, what actually happens when you call an emergency plumber? Most of the time, it’s a quick and easy service call where you can sit back and let the plumber do the hard work.
When the plumber arrives, they’ll likely ask you a few questions about your home’s plumbing, such as whether you’re having any other problems aside from the clog. Sometimes they can fix two problems at once, or something that seems like a clog might actually have a different cause. Answering their questions accurately can speed up the service call, and ensure you get the best experience.
They’ll also typically prepare the space to be worked on with drop cloths or tarps, to grab any water that comes out, and prevent water damage to your home.
From there, they’ll use one of the methods mentioned above – or sometimes more than one in succession. If a clog can be cleared with a plumber’s snake, there’s no reason to break out the hydro jet. So, if at first, they don’t succeed, don’t worry. They’ve got other tools at their disposal.
At the end, a good plumber always checks their own work. They should run water through the affected drain to make sure it’s flowing smoothly, and that no other problems are occurring. They might also ask if you have any other issues, you want looked into. Since they’re already at your home, take advantage of this! You’ll spend less by combining two jobs into one, rather than having to pay for two separate service calls.
IV. How You Can Prepare for Plumbing Services
Even though the plumber will be doing most of the work, there are still a few things that you can do which will improve the experience, or speed things up. Since plumbing services are typically paid by the hour, a little extra legwork can potentially save you money.
1. Warn the plumbers ahead of time if sewage is involved
If the clog is in a sewer line or involves a septic tank, the plumbers need to know that before they drive to your home. Working with wastewater requires an extra level of hazmat safety gear that they might not bring if they think it’s just a regular clogged drain. The delay in getting appropriate equipment will increase costs, as well as add to the time that wastewater is sitting around in your home.
2. Clear a path to the clogged drain
It’s easy for a house to become cluttered, especially if there are kids, but this can cause problems for the plumber. You want to make sure they have a straight shot from your door to the affected drain. So, pick up any items which might be in the way, or cause a tripping hazard.
Also, if you have furniture in the way, consider moving it to make a better path. If the plumber does need to use a hydro jet, they may have to haul in some larger equipment to do it. Or, in some cases, the hydro jet is kept in the van, but they’ll need to run a hose to the drain.
Either way, if you make it easy to access the clogged drain, things will go more smoothly.
3. Check other fixtures in the house
As mentioned above, you can save money if you combine two plumbing jobs into one service call. So, as you’re waiting for your 24-hour plumber to arrive, do a quick check of your other faucets and water fixtures. This is the perfect time to take care of any other issues if you’re having them.
4. Understand there might be bad news
Plumbing systems are complicated, and something that seems like a simple clog might be a symptom of a much bigger problem. For example, if a tree root has grown into and through a pipe, it can behave much like a clog – but will be far more difficult to fix.
This isn’t common, but not every seemingly simple problem has a simple solution.
Roto-Rooter Provides Top-Quality 24-Hour Drain Cleaning Services
Roto-Rooter are your California plumbing experts! With nearly 90 years of experience doing plumbing jobs of all sizes, we’ve built a reputation no other plumbing company can match – and we live up to that reputation every time we make a house call. Our plumbers are highly trained, strictly professional, and use all the best in current gear and techniques.
If you have a clogged drain or toilet, don’t wait for the problem to get worse. Contact Roto-Rooter ASAP or call us at 800-491-ROTO for fast plumbing services at any time of day or night!