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Clogged drains are a very common problem and one that you’re likely to have to deal with are some point or other. Instead of calling the plumber every time it happens, wouldn’t it be great if you could clear it yourself?
If you can clear clogged drains on your own you won’t have to waste time waiting for the plumber. At the same time you’ll save money too, allowing you to spend it elsewhere.
The only caveat is that you need the right tools in order to clear clogged drains. And you’ll find out exactly what tools work best right here and right now.
Basic Tools to Clear Clogged Drains
More often than not you don’t need professional or complex tools to clear clogged drains and can get the job done with simple and basic tools instead. Some of the best tools that you should definitely own are:
For clogged toilets, sinks, or shower drains – whipping out your trusty plunger is a good first step. Ideally you should cover any overflow outlets to maximize the pressure as you pump it.
Chemical drain cleaners
Although chemical drain cleaners can be effective, you should use them sparingly. The stronger the chemical drain cleaner you use, the more damage it could potentially do to your pipes – and the more dangerous it could be if it comes into contact with your skin and eyes.
Always take precautions when using chemical cleaners and be sure to check that you choose the right type depending on the blockage and pipes you’re cleaning.
Small wire brushes
For minor blockages that are somewhat close to the outlet, sometimes a small wire brush will be enough to clear it out. Pouring hot water or soap down the drain before brushing may help too.
Essentially drains snakes are made up of a crank attached to a long coil of metal wire that can be pushed down the drain. When the wire reaches the clog the crank can be turned to break up and capture the material clogging the drain.
It should be noted that drain snakes are sometimes also called drain augers and the terms are used interchangeably nowadays. However technically drain augers have larger diameters for use in larger pipes.
Another useful tool that you probably already own and which will help in some situations is a hair dryer. This can be useful if pipes are frozen (as opposed to being blocked normally) as you can slowly heat up the pipes and thaw the ice that is blocking them.
Professional Tools to Clear Clogged Drains
If you want to take things a step further and equip yourself to deal with more difficult cases, you could invest in a few tools that professionals use to clear clogged drains. Some of the best options include:
Motorized drain snakes
While mostly the same as drain snakes, this type of tool is equipped with a motor as opposed to using a manual hand crank. That allows it to rotate the wire more quickly, and makes it more effective at clearing out blockages.
A hydro jet basically consists of a hose that blasts out high pressure (and in some cases, high temperature) streams of water into the pipe as it is threaded through it. In doing so it not only clears out any blockages, but also cleans the pipe and gets rid of grease, soap, and other sludge.
Care should be taken when using a hydro jet as if it is not used properly it could damage your pipes.
As its name suggests this tool is similar to a hydro jet but uses pressurized gas as opposed to water when clearing out clogged drains. If a drain is constantly being filled with flowing water this method can be more effective than most others.
The same care should be taken when using an air-burst cleaner as a hydro jet.
Video inspection equipment
Sometimes it can be hard to identify exactly where a drain is clogged, and video inspection equipment can help on that front. By using a miniature video camera mounted on a fiber optic cable you will be able to literally see what’s going on inside the pipe and where it is clogged.
As you can see these tools will give you more options to clear out clogged drains without having to call a drain company. To be perfectly honest you may not need tools such as these in most cases, but it doesn’t hurt to have them available just in case.
All said and done it is up to you to decide which tools you feel your home would benefit from. It is recommended that you at least have the basic tools so that you don’t need to immediately call a plumber at the first sign of a blockage.