Everything You Wanted To Know About Drain Cleaning

If you’re like many homeowners and business owners facing a sewer flow problem, you’re probably weighing the pros and cons of traditional mechanical drain cleaning methods versus modern pressurized drain cleaning such as hydro jetting. Often, the information available is either highly technical and difficult to understand or full of sales hype and suspicious promises. You’re left confused and frustrated, and no closer to a decision.

Specialized Pipe Technologies values your business, and we want you to have the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about your drain cleaning options. Here is an open and honest discussion about both mechanical, non-pressurized drain cleaning and pressurized technology, so you’ll understand your options and can make the best choice for your needs and your budget.

What Is Drain Cleaning And Why Does It Matter?

Drain cleaning is the process of removing the clogs and debris that accumulates on the inside of your sewer pipes to improve waste flow and sewer function. Pipe buildup is a normal, natural part of sewer behavior, just as trash is a normal part of daily life in a home. If you don’t remove your trash regularly, it will pile up and cause problems. Likewise, buildup in your pipe will eventually cause sewer flow problems and result in a clogged drain if it isn’t removed. For this reason, drain cleaning is an essential part of a good home or business sewer maintenance.

Drain cleaning falls into two basic categories: emergency cleaning and preventive cleaning. Emergency cleaning is for times when your drain has already stopped up and you’re dealing with an overflowing toilet or standing water in your sink or basement. At this point, drain cleaning is no longer optional and you need help fast. SPT is a professional drain cleaning company that has effective tools for removing these blockages to restore sewer service quickly, and we’re available 24⁄7 for emergency repairs.

Preventive draining cleaning is the proactive approach to sewer maintenance, in which drains are cleaned on a regular schedule to remove the buildup before it starts causing problems. Preventive cleaning schedules are completely up to the homeowner or business owner and can be anything from a monthly drain cleaning that keeps restaurant pipes free of grease to an annual home drain cleaning to remove tree roots, hard water scale, and waste product buildup for a drain problem-free home life. You can have as much or as little of your drain cleaning as you like. SPT offers a wide variety of preventive drain cleaning options to fit our customers.

Pressurized Drain Cleaning Vs. Non-Pressurized (Mechanical) Drain Cleaning

There are several types of drain cleaning tools, which can be loosely grouped into “pressurized” systems and “non-pressurized” systems. While each of these tools can be used for drain cleaning, there are some instances where one method is unequivocally a better choice than the other. Here’s a comparison of the two to help you evaluate your options.

Mechanical Drain Cleaning

Non-pressurized, or mechanical, drain cleaning tools are the old tried-and-true methods that drain repair technicians have been relying on for decades. The most commonly used is the drain auger, often referred to as a “drain snake” because of its characteristic shape. Another, more recent addition to the field is the drain cutter, which has saw-like teeth to chop up drain clogs and buildup. Both of these require only the tool itself, with no additional connections or material needed.

The primary benefit to drain augers and cutters is the cost: Service is usually inexpensive and takes little time. For a simple, everyday clog like excess bath tissue in your toilet, mechanical drain cleaners will do what’s needed to remove the obstruction so that wastewater can flow away from your house again normally. Cutters will remove some of the mineral buildup and roots from the pipe as well.

Mechanical drain cleaning tools do have limitations, however. Cleaning is usually incomplete, especially for sticky residue like grease and stuck-on waste products that can’t be readily grabbed and removed with the augering tool, so it’s most often used specifically for clog removal rather than general drain cleaning. Mechanical tools also don’t remove accumulated bacteria, insect larvae, and other unpleasant residue hidden deep in the drains. Mechanical tools are best reserved for the removal of clogs, roots, and mineral buildup.

Pressurized Drain Cleaning

Pressurized drain cleaning involves modern technology that cleans drains with a high-pressure spray of clean water. The force of the water is extremely high, which is powerful enough to break up most blockages, mineral and waste buildup, and even tree roots. The tool used is a specially engineered nozzle attached to a long water hose, so it’s a relatively uncomplicated system.

Pressurized drain cleaning provides a much more thorough cleaning than mechanical methods, reaching into hard-to-clean places like elbows and bends to fully remove all the buildup. It also removes difficult clogs, sometimes proving more effective than non-pressurized methods, and it’s a cleaner system, washing the debris harmlessly down the drain as part of the process.

The downsides to pressurized drain cleaning are few but worth noting. Pressurized cleaning requires access to a water source unless the provider brings their own tank, and refills may be required depending on how deep the problem lies. It also costs slightly more than non-pressurized systems, so it’s usually reserved for preventive cleanings and stubborn or recurrent clogs.

Depending on your situation, SPT will recommend the right solution for your needs. We believe that the value we provide is the most important part of our relationship with our clients, so you can count on us for a fair and honest recommendation.

What Is Hydro Jetting And Is It Right For Me?

Hydro jetting is the most commonly used form of pressurized drain cleaning system - so common, in fact, that it’s almost synonymous with the service. This innovative tool has a unique, multi-directional nozzle that jets water in a complete sphere at forces over 4000 pounds per square inch. The nozzle is attached to a long water hose, which allows cleaning well below the surface in most home and commercial applications. Because the force of the water is strong enough to cause damage if used incorrectly, SPT’s technicians are highly trained in effectively using hydro jetting technology.

Hydro jetting offers many of the advantages seen in all pressurized drain cleaning systems, but at a higher degree. For example, hydro jetting scours off years of thick mineral and waste buildup in minutes, restoring the walls of the pipe to pristine condition. There is no leftover grease, insect larvae, or stuck-on waste particles to begin the pipe buildup process anew. Pipes cleaned with hydro jetting typically stay clean longer and work better in the meanwhile, for sewer flow that’s like that in a new system.

Clog removal is another area where hydro jetting excels. The system’s nozzle includes forward-and rear facing jets that pulverize clogs in seconds, for fast and complete removal of the obstruction. There are no large leftover fragments that travel further down the pipe and jam again. Instead, only tiny particles remain that rinse into the sewer main with the water, and the obstruction is completely gone.

Another important use of hydro jetting is for scouring away rust and corrosion that have formed in the interior of the pipe. When properly directed, the jets remove the flakes and dust that indicate oxidation, a common problem that eventually leads to pipe deterioration and collapse. Hydro jetting easily removes areas of corrosion, even if they’re buried deep in the sewer system.

Let us help you with your hydro jetting needs.

Unexpected Benefits Of Hydro Jetting

When you have your pipes cleaned with hydro jetting by the pipe repair specialists at SPT, you enjoy several long-term benefits that may not be obvious but have been consistently seen by our customers. The most common one is an improved sewer flow in older homes and business structures. With the pipes instantly returned to a like-new condition, sewage and waste flow out rapidly and cleanly. You no longer have to wait minutes while your sink drains or your tub empties, leaving a messy residue that you’ll have to clean afterward. Instead, the particles rinse away in the quick-moving water, for less clean up and more free time.

Hydro jetting also reduces the occurrences of drain clogs altogether. As mineral buildup and waste accumulate on the sides of the pipes, it takes less and less material to stick in the narrowed pipe. Often, the inexorable buildup of hard water scale leads to almost daily toilet clogs and sink backups. Rather than dealing with the recurrent blockages, you can have SPT clean your drains to remove that scale, which reopens the pipe so that more material can pass through unimpeded. You’ll rarely need to deal with drain blockages, which not only saves you time but also money in repair costs.

Bacteria, biological waste, household cleaning chemicals, decomposing paper – all of these things contribute to pipe corrosion that wears away at pipe walls and forms holes. Corrosion is the leading cause of pipe damage and costly sewer repairs, and eventually, that expense can run up to thousands of dollars. Hydro jetting removes the foreign substances from the inside of the pipe, protecting it from further damage and decay. A cleaned drain pipe can last years longer than a dirty one, saving you money on repairs and preventing the frustration of a complicated sewer repair project.

Regular drain cleaning also reveals hidden problems lurking in your sewer system by cleaning away the debris that covers the early warning signs. Pipes don’t just collapse suddenly; they decay slowly over time, and that process reveals itself with micro-fissures, thinning areas, pipe dust, and spider web cracks. When spotted early, problems such as these can be easily repaired with pipe lining and sealing, preventing further damage. Drain cleaning exposes the pipe surface so problems can be identified while there’s still time to fix them.

Hydro Jetting As Part Of Trenchless Sewer Repair

Hydro jetting plays an important role in trenchless sewer repair, helping with both the diagnostics and the repair process. Without this powerful, in-pipe cleaning system, many trenchless solutions wouldn’t be possible.

Because hydro jetting removes caked-on layers of buildup, it’s often coupled with sewer camera inspection technology during the diagnosis phase of SPT’s trenchless sewer repair and routine annual drain inspections. First, the pipe is thoroughly cleaned with the hydro jetting system, then it’s carefully inspected with the camera system. If additional areas of damage are revealed, more of the pipe is cleaned, and the process is repeated until the full extent of the damage has been exposed.

This back-and-forth ensures that every trenchless sewer repair fully restores the sewer system, eliminating the danger of completing a sewer lining repair only to find that it didn’t fix the whole problem. It also reveals potential problems during a routine inspection, so that less expensive solutions can be used to shore up the pipe and extend its life. Hydro jetting is an essential piece of the inspection and repair process.

Contact SPT Today For Your Drain Cleaning And Hydro Jetting Needs

Remember: it’s important to always choose a well-qualified drain cleaning provider such as SPT for your hydro jetting service. Specialized Pipe Technologies is a leader in effective, innovative hydro jetting technology throughout. Our expert technicians have performed hundreds of drain cleaning services and our customers enjoy the superior results that our commitment and expertise bring to every project. We have the tools you need to keep your drains clean and functioning far into the future. Call us for your drain repair today!

We proudly offer our wide range of drain cleaning services in Florida, Southern California, Nevada, Northern Ohio, and the MidAtlantic with offices in the following locations:

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    Specialized Pipe Technologies

    For over 25 years SPT has provided sewer, water line and storm drain inspection, cleaning and non-invasive pipe lining solutions. We help property owners and managers clean and repair their existing pipes using “no-dig” non-invasive renewal techniques. SPT repairs leaks and cracks with our internal “pipe-within-a-pipe” lining process that uses existing access points and doesn’t require tearing out walls or landscaping. 

    Our expert pipe lining installation teams have rehabilitated more than 2 million linear feet of pipe!