Drain Cleaning

Drain Cleaning 101


Drain cleaning is required when drains get clogged or when your plumbing drains slowly.  There are many types of clogged drains, because there are many types of different plumbing fixtures. When drains get clogged, then you will have to do some drain cleaning.  This blog will focus on interior residential drain cleaning-- stacks, and underground sewer piping within building walls that convey wastewater.

Your plumbing drain pipes can vary in length. For example the interior plumbing for a 30,000 square ft. home is capable of having 500 ft. of underground piping alone. My company installed the plumbing in a large home for a real estate developer-- and this house had a basketball court inside it!

On the other hand my house is 1200 square ft. in size.  It will obviously have less of a chance for a clog to occur and/or any other kind of plumbing problem. That is assuming the the building plumbing code was followed during installation. It's no wonder that Curt, my old boss when I used to work for Al Deal Plumbing, used to say that "big houses have big problems in them".






Here's What To Do When You Have A Clogged Drain:


If you find yourself with a clogged drain follow these steps:

1. Make a note of whether the clogged drain is isolated or grouped together with other fixtures.

2. Check the drain outlet to make sure that water is freely flowing through. The drain outlet is the sink pop=up assembly or cross bars on a tub drain.

3. Remove the trap and check for debris--especially in homes where small children live.

Bathtub tip toe drains and pop-up assemblies on lavatories are notorious for catching hair. When you take these types of drain assemblies out of the equation, you'll have less clogs. I especially recommend removing tip-toe assemblies and using simple drain plugs--especially for bathtubs.

plastic drain stopper purchased separately
plastic drain stopper purchased separately

Here's Not What To Do When You Have A Clogged Drain:


1. Refrain from using liquid chemical drain cleaners--especially sulfuric acid. It's too late to try to use liquid chemical drain cleaners on a fully clogged drain.

2. Don't use your plumbing until you're sure you've cleared the clog unless you don't mind destroying your flooring when everything backs up and overflows.

3. Most importantly, don't bite your fingernails!


Do these things before you rent drain cleaning equipment or before you call a drain cleaning plumbing pro:


1. Make sure that the clog is just isolated to one fixture only.

2. Use a plunger--fold the plunger in on a flat sink surface. Expand the plunger all the way out to use in a toilet trap way. (Be sure to check out my post in the future on how to deal with a clogged toilet).

3. Use a hydro bladder. This would apply only at places where you can connect a garden hose. For example floor drains located in basements or garages.

Remember that there's no such thing as owning a home-- It owns you! If you need to call a Pittsburgh licensed plumber feel free to get a hold of us at 412-897-4210 because we provide exceptional plumbing service to residential homeowners in dealing with your plumbing and drain cleaning needs.

Here's a preview of how I use my drain cleaning equipment:


plunger folded in for flat surface
plunger folded in for flat surface
plunger cupped for toilet
plunger cupped for toilet