Cleaning a Drain Pipe – Nothin’ To It, Right?

If you’ve owned a home you’ve probably had a plugged drain of some sort.  Sometimes it’s an easy fix like plunging a toilet or clearing some debris off an outside walkway drain.

Other times it’ gets a little trickier like when the plunger just doesn’t seem to work or you can’t see a visible clog anywhere.

Here at Yes! Plumbing in Schererville, we are not only drain cleaning experts but State Licensed Plumbers also. 

This gives us an edge over the “Rooter” guys who know how to run cleaning equipment but usually don’t have much of a clue what’s going on when a problem occurs during the cleaning process.

Things to Look Out For

Toilets

Many things can happen when a drain is being cleaned.  For instance, when clearing a toilet that has been clogged, we’ve run into things that you wouldn’t expect from chicken bones to shampoo bottle and kids’ toys. 

Sometimes those can’t be cleared with standard tools. We had one toilet that had a child’s doll in it. It was small enough to flush but too big to go through the opening at the bottom of the toilet.

Once the problem was diagnosed, our resourceful plumber heated up a yarning iron (a tool used to make cast iron pipe connections), with a torch and melted the doll into pieces small enough to remove from the bottom opening.

Tub Drains

When it comes to drains like tubs, the worst thing we run into is called a drum trap.  It serves the same purpose as a modern p-trap, but it causes problems when trying to clean the tub drain.

A drum trap looks like a barrel with an opening in the bottom and another high up on the side or top.  The problem arises when trying to send a rod through the trap to clean the attached drain line.

The rod can get into the trap alright because it’s coming from the tub waste opening. Unfortunately, it has no way of finding the side or top outlet so the rod swirls around in the drum until it tangles itself up into a big ball that can’t be pulled back out. 

The drum trap is furnished with a threaded plug that after many years of use, is almost impossible to remove. The plug is usually brass and, if accessible, (a big if) can usually be chopped out with a hammer and chisel.

Then the line can be cleaned directly from the trap opening and the plug replaced with a special rubber expansion plug since the old cast iron threads are usually no longer useable.  If the plug is a steel or cast iron plug, the drum trap will need to be removed and replaced with new piping and a p-trap. And it can be very messy.

Lots of plastic sheeting is required to protect surrounding surfaces, which, if splattered usually require refinishing. Best hope your rodding person knows this and takes precautions ahead of time.

Kitchen Sinks

On drains like kitchen sinks, as plumbers, Yes! Plumbing will sometimes attempt to clean the drain or if the situation calls for it, recommend a drain line replacement as amore economical alternative.

Lines like kitchen sink drains can be so packed with grease that the process of rodding is fruitless and jetters designed to clean grease clogs cause enough of a mess by the time they get the clog cleared that it is better to star over with new pipe.

Main Sewers

Large drains like main sewers that carry the waste from all the smaller branch drains and toilets in the home require heavier duty equipment and more care in operation to avoid damage to the surrounding areas. 

The most common problems with main drains outside the building are separations, root infiltration caused by separations, sheared off pipes, undermined pipes which are sagging and causing slow spots, and misaligned joints. 

Sewer pipes shear off when the pipe is not correctly installed with a bed of gravel all the way to the foundation at the point where the pipe exits the building. The weight of the earth above the pipe causes a crack which allows sewage to leak into the ground below the pipe, eventually softening it enough to cause a loss of support and a complete cut in the pipe. 

This problem usually looks like somebody took a saw and made a clean cut in the pipe. Any other aberration such as those mentioned above, combined with roots, baby wipes, or foreign objects like rags or feminine products flushed down the drain can result in a need for major sewer cleaning time at the least, and complete sewer repair or replacement at the worst.

Professional drain cleaning service

Drain cleaning is best left to the experienced professionals who have the know-how and equipment to properly clean diagnose and repair  your home drains and sewers.

Call us today to schedule your drain cleaning service – we’ll get your drains cleaned efficiently and at the right price!