Likely the most common problem a person faces with their plumbing system is a clogged or blocked drain. This is a look at what drain cleaning tools are used to handle this issue, which ones you might try without risking your plumbing system, and when to call in a licensed and professional plumber to handle it instead. It is a lot safer to use tools designed for this purpose rather than trying to make do with something as you are less likely to cause damage to the pipes.
Common Drain Cleaning Tools
It makes sense for a person to have some basic tools, for DIY and for plumbing, to handle simple tasks that are not a risk to handle such as a blocked toilet, or clogged drain. Here is a look at some of those tools and how they work.
Drain Auger (Plumbers Snake)
Known as drain snakes, plumber snakes or drain augers, they are a very flexible clog removing tool. It consists of a long wire with one end attached to a handle you turn and the other to the head. You thread the head down and turn the handle. Some people prefer the type of drain snake that has a small clasp at the head so that you can try to grab at the blockage and drag it out. Otherwise, the idea is to manipulate the head forwards and backwards when you reach the blockage and then when you break through it, pull it back in and you will pull out some of what is causing the clog, likely hair.
They come in a number of different sizes and shapes. You can get drain augers for toilets or sinks. A drain snake is something anyone can buy and use but if you move it too quickly or are not careful with your manipulation you can damage the pipes. A plumber has better skill and experience with this tool but you can also easily learn how to use a drain snake if you want to.
Every home should have at least a plunger or two. It is one of the most basic plumbing tools but one of the most often used tools. A plunger is not just to unblock a toilet. It is possible that some drain clogs can also be removed using a plunger. The use of suction and release is effective but it might take 5 to 10 minutes of vigorous action. You also need to get the right size for the kind of drain you are using it on. When the vacuum created gets the clog loose the material becomes easy to move. A plunger does not require a lot of skill and you are not going to damage the inside of your pipes.
Using water pressure is another option to handle your drains. Using an adapter on your garden hose you can create a stream strong enough to reach the clog and break through it, washing it away.
A lot of hardware and supply stores sell small wire brushes designed for heavy cleaning. Using a combination of hot water and soap you can use a brush like this as if it is a toothbrush pushing it into the drain and cleaning what you can reach with it.
Pro Drain Cleaning Tools
When looking at drain clearing tools it makes sense to mention rooters, though this may not be a tool you have in your home. It is essentially a larger auger or plumber’s snake as they are used for large drains. This is a more common tool for plumbers to have.
CCTV Drain Cameras
Drain cameras are a bit like a rooter where a camera is a feed into the drain allowing plumbers to see exactly what’s causing a blocked drain. The potential for repairing damaged or broken pipes is also easily assessed with drain camera inspections.
Water jetters use high-pressure water to clear serious drain blockages, even tree roots! Also known as drain jetters or hydro jet drain cleaners they are brought in when the big guns are needed for serious stormwater and mainline sewer blockages.
These are some great drain cleaning tools to have around the home for when you need them. It is not just your shower or bath that will get clogged. Your sink drains in the bathroom and kitchen can too, as can anywhere else you have a drain like a laundry room. While some of them are at least safe to give a try, it is always better to hire a professional plumber for anything more stubborn than a plunger can handle. They know what they are doing, have more and better tools, and can get this kind of work done a lot quicker leaving you to avoid the stress and hard work! Just look online and find someone with experience who you can trust.