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Drain Cleaning FAQs and Answers


Stephens Plumbing

December 1, 2015


Your Most Common Drain Cleaning Questions, Answered

Having been in the plumbing industry for 30 years, we’ve found that a lot of homeowners often have the same questions. Many of these questions involve clogged drains—what causes them, how to prevent them, and how drain cleaning works. Because we know many of you have the same questions, we’ve compiled a list of our most frequently asked drain cleaning questions below.

How can I prevent my sink drains from getting clogged?

Drain clogs are most often caused by a buildup of soap scum, hair, cooking grease, or other substances. To prevent your drains from getting clogged, you should watch what you’re putting down your drains and learn some DIY drain cleaning maintenance methods.

Whether it’s your toilet, shower, or kitchen sink, you should be very careful what you’re letting into your drains. To help prevent clogs, make sure never to put toxic chemicals, grease/oils/fats, medications, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, flour, eggshells, stringy foods, or fruit rinds/peels down your drains.

There are a few great methods you can try to avoid buildup and drain clogs as well. Try using a screen grate over your shower drain to minimize the amount of hair allowed down. Run hot water through the drain after each time you use the sink to avoid buildup. For a little extra maintenance, periodically put a cup of vinegar or a handful of baking soda in your drain, let it sit, and then follow it by hot water.

Should I do it myself or hire a professional for my drain cleaning?

This depends on the severity of the problem. If your drain is clogged, you can try using a plunger, snaking the drain, or any of the natural DIY methods above. If you have no plumbing experience, it’s best that you don’t start taking apart any pipes or using chemicals on the drain—as doing either of these could actually make the problem worse.

If multiple sinks or drains are clogged/backed up in your home, you’re going to need professional assistance. This is because the clog could actually be a backup within the main line, or it could indicate another more severe problem. If you’re ever in doubt or a problem turns out to be worse than you first thought, you should always call a plumber.

How will a plumber unclog my sink drain?

Your plumber will typically use one of two methods to unclog your drain: hydro jetting or snake drain cleaning. Snake drain cleaning is a method used when the clog is located close to the drain. Using a specialized tool called an auger (or plumbing snake), your plumber can reach down to manually unclog a drain.

Hydro jetting is when your plumber operates a hydro jetting machine (consisting of a water tank, a pressurizing machine, and a specialized hose) to clean out your drain. The hose is inserted into your pipes through the cleanout, allowing the pressurized water to clean out any debris. This method can leave your pipes less susceptible to future buildup as well.

How do tree roots get into my sewer line?

Believe it or not, tree roots can actually be the cause of your clogged sewer line. This is because tree roots are attracted to water and can sometimes make their way into underground pipes through a crack or loose joint. Once they’re inside the pipes, they can continue to grow and take over and cause complete blockage.

How can I keep my garbage disposal from smelling?

Even after its run, your garbage disposal may still retain an unpleasant smell. Fortunately, if there’s no clog, there’s a very easy fix. Fill up an ice cube tray with vinegar and water (1:1). Once frozen, toss a couple of cubes with a few lemon slices down your kitchen drain. Turn on the garbage disposal for about 30 seconds, and your drain should smell great and be much cleaner!

30 Years of Expert Drain Cleaning Services

If you didn’t see your question on here or you want to learn more about our drain cleaning services, contact us anytime. We service Long Beach, the South Bay, Orange County, and the areas surrounding LAX. Our experts can assist you with everything from fast and effective drain cleaning services, to gas line services, to bathroom remodeling, and more. Learn more about our drain cleaning services below.


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