For Edmonton homeowners, a nasty drain clog can prove troublesome if you don’t know what to do about it. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place to learn how to handle one of life’s many inevitabilities – a clogged drain.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a trusted friend that’s an Edmonton plumber who could tell you what to do every time a dreaded drain clog happened? Most of us aren’t so lucky, but Mr. Rooter is happy to stand in for you.
Read on to learn the best method for sewer cleaning in Edmonton, Alberta.
The Dangers of a Clogged Sewer Line
In Gwynns Falls, Baltimore, during 2019, the public sewer system released nearly 20,000 gallons of water into the streets. Eventually, the city managed to get it under control. As it turns out, the overflow was a result of grease and rags clogging up the city’s septic system.
Officials advised the public to avoid direct contact with the septic water. They also acknowledged that there were problems with the water system before the overflow, such as water that’s not even suitable for swimming. As a result, Baltimore officials reemphasized that the public should avoid contact with surface water in the area.
In your home, the drain system is something that you want to keep flowing properly because any water that has gone into your drains is now contaminated with all kinds of stuff that you’d probably rather not think about. When you do have a backup it is important to get it fixed quickly and cleaned up properly to avoid exposure to this nasty stuff.
Drain backups happen for a variety of reasons, but whatever the cause of yours, make sure you get it fixed right so it doesn’t keep happening over and over again. In fact, sometimes the problem might not be with the pipes, it might be a problem with a toilet, or maybe someone is putting things down the drain that shouldn’t be going there.
Dealing With Sewer Backup In Your Home
If you find that you’ve had a sewer backup in your home there are 2 things to focus on. First, you need to fix the problem so it doesn’t continue happening. Second, you’ll need to perform sewage spill clean up.
We’ll focus on the cleanup here. We recommend that for any sewer backup that has spread into any wall, appliance, furnace, water heater, or your personal belongings that you get a professional in right away to do the cleanup. While a small cleanup around the floor drain is well within the capabilities of most homeowners, we generally find that anything beyond that doesn’t get cleaned up properly.
Did you know that mould can start to grow in wet walls within 24-48 hours? Usually the backup happens in the utility room of the home, which usually houses your furnace. Imagine mold starts growing in the basement, and then every time your furnace turns on it is circulating it throughout the house! This is serious business, if it’s beyond your ability, call a professional.
Different Ways to Clean Your Drain
In your home, you can prevent plumbing emergencies by having an expert come to do annual inspections and perform proper maintenance. However, you can’t always avoid drain clogs.
The most common thought when people try to figure out how to unclog a sewer drain is to use chemical drain cleaners. These chemicals rarely do anything to help unclog the drain, however they do corrode your pipes. There are other, better ways to unclog a drain.
Better methods range from using simple manual tools to high-tech plumbing equipment. Whatever method the plumber chooses to deploy, the end result is a plumbing system that works like new.
By avoiding chemicals, you’ll extend the life of your drainage system. Most skilled plumbers will start out by attempting to clear your drain with manual tools such as a snake or an auger, although it will depend on individual scenarios. When used properly, they can help the plumber to clear your drain quickly.
Typically, a plumber will use a snake if the clog is in your sink or toilet. A drain snake is an excellent tool for clearing small obstructions, such as hair, tissues and other debris.
Hydro jetting is another eco-friendly solution for clearing your drain. When plumbers use this method, they connect a nozzle to a high-pressure water hose. The system exerts so much pressure that it can clear nearly any obstruction, such as grease, sludge or soap scum. Believe it or not, hydro jetting can even cut out roots with the right equipment!
This method will also clear the buildup in the joints and cracks of your plumbing system. When a plumber uses hydro jetting to clear your blockage, it conveniently flushes any debris into the city’s municipal sewage system.
Unlike chemicals, hydro jetting will not corrode the metal in your pipes. This technique relies purely on water and extreme pressure to clear your drain system.
A Good Place to Start is the Plunger
An unfortunate drain clog can prevent you from using your sink, shower, toilets and appliances. Typically, this experience is extremely frustrating. When this occurs, you can’t brush your teeth without the basin filling up or do dishes without dirty water backing up into the sink.
Chemical drain cleaning agents are the most toxic goods that you can buy at the grocery store. They can damage your eyes and skin, and they don’t work very well if at all. Also, drain cleaning chemicals are designed to clean some clogs, but not all of them. The chemicals are also dangerous for your plumbing. So avoid at all costs!
Anytime you experience a clog, if you want to try to tackle it yourself reach for your trusty plunger – if the clog is only affecting one drain. If the clog is affecting more than one drain, you should call a professional Edmonton plumber immediately.
When you use the plunger, apply equal force as you push it up and down. The idea is to create pressure that will dislodge the clog. You may have to plunge the clog 20- to 30-times before the blockage breaks free. You can use a plunger in sinks, toilets, showers, tubs and floor drains that have backed up.
While plunging doesn’t always do the trick it can be surprisingly effective in some cases. And really, everyone has a plunger so you won’t be out anything to give it a try.
Using a Handheld Drain Auger
Next, you’ll want to try a handheld drain auger. A drain auger is also called a drain snake. To use it, you’ll need to pull the cable out of the drum and feed it into the drain that is clogged. You’ll want to put it into a cleanout some point after the P-trap because it’s very hard to push a cable through one. If you can get it out to the clog turn the handle to rotate the cable. With any luck it will either burrow through or catch onto the clog. Now if you pull the cable back hopefully you’ll bring the clog with it.
Cables do best at clearing clogs from hair or other hard blockages. They don’t tend to work very well with grease or sludge clogs because they just poke through back and forth but the clog just heals every time like T-1000! These handheld cables are usually 15-25’ long so it gives you some reach but not a lot.
We don’t recommend handheld augers when the clog is affecting more than one drain. This is because the blockage is more than likely far down the drain line and in a bigger pipe. You’ll need to hire a professional plumber, they will have the tools to get it done.
Large Sewer Augers
The large sewer augers are the big leagues as far as drain cleaning goes. Your average homeowner doesn’t own one of these, nor should they. These machines are heavy (approximately 200 lbs) and are very dangerous to use.
While these are available for rent from some places, we strongly recommend against their use by untrained persons. Many plumbers have been injured by these machines, usually by the cable catching their hand and twisting it around the cable. If you are at this point, we urge you to call a professional.
Hydro Jetting in Action
In New Castle County, Delaware, the city showcased its brand-new hydro jetting system. The technology enables city workers to find problems in the County sewer system and prevent grease, oils and fats from causing issues with the city’s sewage system.
During the demonstration, workers cleared a blockage to show residents how they can prevent overflows and blockages with routine maintenance. They used the city’s sewer cleaning truck and a hydro jetting nozzle to clean grease from the inside of the sewage system. Using high-pressure water, the workers also removed grease from the walls of the sewer.
City officials expressed that once grease enters the city sewer system, it cools off, gets hard and turns white. Eventually, it builds up and blocks the sewers if workers don’t clear it regularly. Without proper maintenance, the grease buildup will cause a nasty backup into local businesses.
Hydro jetting keeps the city’s sewer system running properly. With routine maintenance, city workers can reduce the cost of maintaining local plumbing and prevent sewage backups.
The city-sponsored the demonstration to show residents how pouring grease, oils and fats down their drains affects the city sewage system. The exhibition was part of the yearly Great Schools Clean Streams program.
City officials expressed that sewer clogs are entirely preventable. The cost of hydro jetting is far less than the cost of cleaning up sewage overflows.
The city’s program works. New Castle County experienced 75 overflows in 2005. Since launching the hydro jetting maintenance program, overflows have dropped by 67%. In 2017, for instance, there were only 26 overflows in the city.
Hydro Jetting in Your Home
Hydro jetting is a great option for large municipal pipes, but its a great option for drain cleaning in your home too. The only difference is scale, we use much smaller equipment in your home than Epcor would use in their pipes.
A great way to think of hydro jetting is pressure washing the inside of your pipes. When you have had backups lots of sludge and gunk sticks to the walls of the pipes. It slows down the flow and provides more stuff for waste to get stuck on. The only way to clean this up is by hydro jetting the pipe. It’s amazing how well this works to clean a drain, it really pays to use the right tool for the job!
Where hydro jetting really shines is on clogged kitchen sink drains. With kitchen sinks the clog is usually caused by grease, tiny bits of which have been depositing in the pipes for years and years. Once it gets bad enough it can turn into a real humdinger of a clog. Putting a cable in won’t move the grease along, it just pokes holes which tend to heal again (remember T-1000?) as soon as the cable comes back out. But hydro jetting breaks up the grease into small chunks and forces it down the drain. We often hear after jetting a kitchen sink drain that it has NEVER drained this good!
That’s not all a hydro jetter can do. Mr. Rooter even has a larger one that can cut roots! Imagine enough water pressure to cut roots! When we first got this tool we didn’t believe it could be done, but we were so wrong. When it comes to nasty root blockages or sludgy sewers, this is the only way to go.
The Sewer Camera - A Vital Tool
Most people don’t think a sewer camera is a necessary part of drain cleaning. In some smaller drains it isn’t very feasible to get a camera down the pipe, but in larger drains it is imperative to see what is causing your problems!
Often when your sewer is clogged we put our camera down the sewer before the sewer has been cleaned up so we can see what is causing your problems. Was it roots? Perhaps there’s a section of your sewer that isn’t going downhill? Maybe someone flushed a Barbie doll? There are a lot of potential causes, some of which are cause for alarm, and some really aren’t. But you’ll never know until you see for yourself in a sewer camera. Make sure you get to see the problem with your own eyes, it is much easier to understand what is causing your sewer backup when you can see it for yourself.
How to Unclog a Sewer Line With Drain Cleaners
Ok I’ll admit, this is not really a thing. Drain cleaning chemicals like the one that rhymes with “Braino” kinda suck. If a drain is totally clogged and you pour this into the fixture, how is it going to get down to the clog? It isn’t. It’s just going to sit there slowly dissolving whatever it comes into contact with. This includes steel sinks and every type of drain pipe. The older drains that were made of copper or cast iron really suffer when put in contact with drain cleaner chemicals. If you thought a clogged pipe was bad, drain cleaners will eventually leave you with holes in the pipe, or no pipe. This is much worse, we don’t like delivering this news.
However, there is some hope. We have a product that is environmentally friendly and works really well, within limits. This product is called Total Drain and is a Mr. Rooter specific product. It is comprised of billions of bacteria in every dose. When poured down a slow kitchen sink drain for example, these billions of bacteria get to work right away munching any grease or other food they can get their tiny hands-on.
This product works well with frequent small doses down a slow drain. But please understand, it is great for drain maintenance or for cleaning up a slow drain, but it won’t help at all for a fully clogged drain. Even if your drain is really slow, it might be too far gone for the bacteria to save it. You might need to get a plumber out to get it draining first, then keep maintaining it with Total Drain from there.
It’s also worth mentioning that if you are on a septic system these bacteria couldn’t be happier in there. There’s an endless supply of food for them, and your septic system will feel the benefits. It will work better, stay cleaner, and require pump-outs less frequently!
The Best Choice - Local Professional Service
When the going gets rough, it’s best to hire a professional plumber for drain or sewer cleaning. Plumbing experts are specially trained to deal with tricky plumbing and sewage problems. They can clear annoying clogs and prevent any further damage to your drainage system.
When searching for a professional plumber, you should only trust certified, experienced and licensed technicians. Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Edmonton only hires the most skilled talent in the Edmonton area. What’s more, our expert plumbers deliver service with a smile.
You can trust our plumbing professionals to handle your drain clog with care. All of our staff members are local residents who live and work in the community.
You can count on Mr. Rooter Plumbing in Edmonton to fix any plumbing problems right the first time. Call us today at (780) 429-3600 for a rapid assessment and repair of your most challenging drain or sewage problems.