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Drain Clearing vs. Drain Cleaning


Drain snake in bathroom sinkClogged drains can be more complicated than they seem. The method you choose to eradicate a clog can depend on multiple factors, such as the clog’s severity, the clog’s location, and the condition of your piping.

What’s the Difference Between Drain & Sewer Clogs?

Wastewater leaving your home first goes through your drains, then through your sewer line. Clogs may obstruct a drain in your home or block your sewer line. Some signs that you have a sewer line issue on your hands include:

  • Blockages in multiple drains
  • Gurgling toilets
  • Sewage smells coming from drains
  • Sewage backup in drains

It’s best to leave significant drain and sewer clogs to the professionals instead of using chemical drain cleaners that can damage your pipes.

What is Drain Clearing?

Drain clearing is the best solution for mild clogs that are close to the surface. This is the way to go when you need a fast and easy solution.

First, try a baking soda and vinegar solution as a DIY method. After letting the hot water run for about a minute, pour a cup of baking soda into the drain. Then, add a cup of vinegar and plug the drain for 10 minutes. Rinse with hot water and repeat as needed.

If the clog persists, you likely need drain snaking. This method is a plumber’s go-to for clearing minor blockages. Drain snaking uses a flexible metal coil driven by a hand crank to clear clogs.

What is Drain Cleaning?

Drain cleaning offers a solution for recurring drain and sewer line clogs. Drain cleaning restores your pipes by removing all traces of debris, not just clearing the most severe blockage.

Drain augers work similarly to drain snakes but get their power via a motor. For this reason, drain augers are best used by professionals for larger drains and more serious clogs.

Hydro jetting uses powerful water jets to blast through debris and blockages inside drain and sewer lines. Though this approach can be more thorough, you can’t use this method for old, weak, or damaged pipes.

Do I Need Drain Clearing or Drain Cleaning?

Drain clearing and drain cleaning are similar, so how do you tell which approach is right for the situation? Here’s what you should consider:

  • When was your last drain cleaning? Drain cleaning works best when done every two years. You may only need drain clearing if you’ve cleaned a clogged drain within the last two years.
  • How old are your pipes? Layers of debris can accumulate over the years, but you can’t use a water jet on deteriorating pipes. Drain cleaning with an auger is likely the best option for more severe clogs, but drain clearing with a snake is the safest option.
  • Do you have hard water? If you have hard water, mineral deposits likely contribute to your drain problems. Drain cleaning is likely needed to clear built-up gunk, but you’ll also need a water softener to prevent this from becoming a recurring issue.

Get HELP with All Your Drain Service Needs

Whether you need drain clearing or cleaning, the professionals HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric & Drains have the knowledge and experience to quickly and efficiently get your drains flowing again.

Call HELP Plumbing at (513) 333-4357 or contact us online to request drain services in Greater Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky.

Posted in: Plumbing

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