How does a drain cleaning work?

January 27th, 2020

We’ve all had it happen. You start the shower or brush your teeth, and that water will just not go down. The drain needs to be cleaned. There are a couple different paths to take, but which one is best for you? Stick around and find out!

DIY Drain Cleaning

If you’re a handy person, this one might be for you. Although, it’s very important to know your limitations and when it’s best to call Expert Services- Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical. If it’s a sink, often times the clog is stuck in the piece called the “P-Trap.” This is typically designed to be readily accessible and taken apart with ease. Although, depending on the age of the home, and what type of pipes you have, it can be a little tougher. This piece is designed to stop plumbing odors coming up from the sewer system by blocking it with a small amount of water, but it also catches a lot of gunk. Put a bucket under the trap, disassemble the trap, and clean the gunk out. This oftentimes will restore flow. If not, the blockage is likely further down the drain line, and a drain cleaning by a professional is going to be needed.

FAQ: Why don’t I just get a drain auger from a big box store and try it myself?

Answer: Hand-crank augers do not have the needed torque to clear a hard blockage, and the powered augers that do have that torque are often expensive, and they require formal training to operate them safely. Dozens of people every year and injured performing drain cleanings improperly. Skip the hospital visit; leave it to Expert Services- Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical.

Drain Cleaning with an Auger

Cabling, (Also known as Augering) is a drain cleaning technique where a plumber has a long cable that is rolled into a drum. This drum is spun via an electric motor, that then turns the cable. The end of this cable has a head that can chew up debris in the line. These augers can range anywhere from twenty-five to two hundred feet in length, depending on the type and size of cable needed to perform the drain cleaning.

Although, without proper procedure done by the drain technician, the line will only be cleared, and not cleaned. What that means, is the clog will only be displaced, and not fully cleaned out. This could lead to another blockage in the near future. The best way for a drain technician to perform a drain cleaning is by swapping to different heads on the cable throughout the drain cleaning process. The first head, is shaped like a spear. It goes into the pipe and pops the blockage. The water is then able to flow, but it is not entirely clean. The roots, or whatever was blocking the line, is still clinging to the side of the pipe. The second head that goes down is shaped like a U, with teeth. It scrapes the sides of the pipe, clearing as much debris off the sides of the line as possible. This is highly effective, but can still not treat the issue entirely. Much of the debris can still be inside the line. The drain technician might recommend he use a Jetter.

Drain Jetting

Jetting is a procedure that uses a thin hose that goes down the line, that has extremely high pressurized water jets on the tip of the hose. This blasts away any debris inside the line, making the interior as clean as the day the pipe was layed. These jetters come in every size. Municipalities even use this method of sewer cleaning on city main lines. This is the best way to have a sewer cleaning done.

Although, it’s important to understand one simple truth: If a sewer backs up, there is something broken.


After a drain cleaning is done, it is best to have the sewer scoped, to know why this happened. After a camera is ran down the drain line, the technician may offer to perform a sewer main repair or a sewer liner. A sewer main repair is often needed after a sewer has backed up, because no healthy drain line should ever have issues with backing up. A sewer liner can fix these issues once and for all. If you want peace of mind, it is best to have a sewer repair performed. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call, and we can have an expert stop by. It Doesn’t Hurt to Call Expert Services- Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical!