Drain Cleaning 101: The Plumbing Basics You Need for a Clean Drain

by | Oct 13, 2021

Are your drains acting up? Is water starting to pool in your dishwasher every time you run it? If so, you might need to clean your drains. Cleaning your own drains can be an intimidating process if you’re not a pro with training. Don’t worry. Here are a few basic tips that should help you tackle your clogged drains.

Drain Cleaning Chemicals

There are a wide variety of drain cleaners out there that seem like easy solutions at first glance. While drain cleaning chemicals can be effective, it’s important to keep in mind that they indeed contain chemicals that can be hazardous to your pipes and, more important, to your health if accidentally ingested.

Be very careful when considering drain cleaners. If the clog is bad enough that one round of commercial clog remover doesn’t cut it, don’t subject your pipes (or yourself) to more. Instead, consult a plumber. Most pros have special solutions to these problems that limit pipe damage and keep your home safe. 


Has your tub, toilet, or sink ever gotten seriously blocked? So seriously that nothing seemed to clear the clog? A drain snake is usually a good recourse in this case. 

Drain snakes (otherwise known as cables) are long, flexible metal coils that you can feed into a drain. The main advantage of a drain snake is its length, allowing you to access deep clogs and break them apart with ease. 

You can find two types of drain snakes online or at local hardware stores: manual and electric drain snakes. The big difference between the two is how they operate. A manual drain snake will require you to crank the device to feed and retract the cable manually. Of course, an electric drain snake is more automatic.

Unfortunately, since the average homeowner doesn’t have professional plumbing experience, many people harm their drains and pipes when using snakes. If you think your drain needs snaking, call a professional to do the job. Most plumbers use several different types of snakes. They will assess your plumbing, check the clog, and pick the right device based on those details.

Hydro Jetting

Hydro jetting is a more advanced process than snaking, meaning you’ll need to call a trained plumber for this service. Hydro jetting is like pressure washing the inside of your drain. Your plumber will feed a camera into the drain to look for existing damage. If all looks well, the plumber will feed a hose attached to a pressurized water tank down the drain to spray water in all directions. The water jets are powerful enough to break up any scale, grease, tree roots, or other debris in your pipes.

Snaking vs. Hydro Jetting

In terms of performance, the biggest difference between snaking and hydro jetting is precision. A snake will break up a clog, but it leaves a lot of material behind. All of the mineral deposits, grease, and other debris clinging to the walls of the drain will remain. Hydro jetting will break up everything until the drain is completely clean. 

However, accessibility is an issue. Drain snakes are incredibly easy to find in hardware stores. All you need to do is walk to the plumbing section. The equipment required for hydro jetting is more specialized. If your clog requires this kind of service, you’re probably going to have to call a plumber. 

When to Clean Your Drain

Clogged drains can be tough to detect. Sometimes, it seems like your sink is simply slow to drain for just a moment, and so you’re quick to forget about it. Eventually, the clog will worsen, and it will seem as though it came out of nowhere. To keep ahead of clogs, pay attention to the following warning signs.

Your Sinks Drain Slowly

If your sinks aren’t draining water quickly, there may be a clog or blockage affecting it. If the drain gurgles while draining, it’s time to check or call a plumber.

Water Keeps Backing Up

If water suddenly fills your sink or tub (usually after flushing), it’s likely there’s a clog in your drain or main sewer line. This is a critical warning sign that you should take seriously. The root problem can result in water damage and unsanitary conditions.

Your Toilet Won’t Stop Overflowing

Is your toilet overflowing or clogging just about every time you use it? If so, there’s a blockage somewhere in your sewer line. 

There’s an Awful Smell in the Kitchen

Usually, foul smells that seem to be coming from the kitchen sink result from old food or grease. These messes can be easy enough to clean on your own. However, if that doesn’t seem to be the cause, you may be smelling sewer gases. In that case, evacuate your home and call your plumber immediately for sewer drain cleaning. You’ll likely also require sewer drain repairs. 

Call Indiana Leak Detection to Clean Your Drains

If you need professional drain cleaning services, Indiana Leak Detection can help. We’ll send a drain cleaning plumber directly to you to investigate the cause of your blocked drains. If you’re having problems with your drains, don’t hesitate! Call today to schedule an appointment for our drain cleaning services.




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