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We all know that blocked drains are a pain in the you know. No matter what causes clogs, backups and sluggish drainage in the kitchen, bathroom, or elsewhere, they’re all disruptive of domestic or commercial life. And they upend the smoothly running functionality that we cherish and expect in our homes and businesses. In other words, drain issues can cause a major headache.
Here in the greater San Antonio, TX area, bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of San Antonio are acknowledged experts in the fine art of clearing blocked drains. You’ll know you need one of their professional plumbing technicians when the tell tale signs of a clog appear. Contacting them and booking an emergency or drain cleaning maintenance call may be one of the smartest household decisions you’ll ever make.
You Know Your Drain Needs Cleaning When …
- There are mysterious odours – if your bathroom or basement smells like a sewer, there could be a blockage that requires a thorough drain cleaning. Don’t be tempted to throw a toxic drain product down your pipes and hope for the best. Most clogs require physical clearing, and that demands a pro with the right tools for the job.
- You hear gurgling or sputtering noises in the sink – strange noises can be an indication that water is not clearing a drain clearly. Some of them can be quite dramatic, as water struggles to push past a clog made from hair, soap, paper products, grease and other materials.
- Water circles the drain for a long time – an effective drain clears quickly, without a lot of noise and splashing. If water seems to be circling and clearing the drain slowly or in fits and starts, it may indicate a blockage somewhere down the line.
- There is standing water in the shower – we all know the icky feeling of standing in shower water that isn’t draining cleanly. It’s a sure sign that there may be a problem, with the drain itself, down the line or somewhere in the plumbing stack or sewer mains (especially if there is also a foul smell).
- Water backs up causing floods – extreme amounts of water tend to collect at basement levels, but water will back up wherever it can. A backup could indicate a burst pipe, but it can also be the result of a severely blocked pipe or drain.
The Perils of Drain Snaking
Professional drain cleaning, especially if the plumber is working on an emergency blockage or clog, will often require the use of a plumber’s snake. This slender, flexible auger is designed to snake through pipes and physically disrupt anything that is obstructing the free flow of water. They are tricky to use, requiring a basic understanding of plumbing infrastructure and a certain amount of dexterity.
Drain cleaning is not a good candidate for the DIY treatment. Messing around with plumbing stacks, pipes, traps and drains can cause more harm than good if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. One false move and you could end up with a costly puncture or break, one that will require an even more costly and complicated repair than if you’d hired a pro in the first place.
There are several physical hazards associated with drain cleaning as well. These involve toxic fumes and substances that need to be handled with care. Don’t be tempted by product promises and DIY videos that make plumbing look simple. It’s not.
Furthermore, many insurance companies require that a certified plumbing technician complete and sign off on any repairs that might arise in order for a claim to be honored.
The Plumber’s Toolkit
Beside the infamous plumber’s snake, what else does a professional drain cleaning technician carry in his or her toolkit? These are a few of the classic tools, many of them requiring specialized knowledge to operate correctly.
Pipe wrench – the other iconic plumber’s tool. It has traditionally been used on threaded iron or steel pipe joinery so is less common now with the ascendance of PVC piping. However, it’s still needed for sewer mains and larger infrastructure.
Plunger – Ok, so maybe you already have one of these in your home already. But in the hands of a pro, this humble tool likely works a lot more efficiently than yours does.
Hose cutter – a hacksaw can work in a pinch, but cutters for PVC, pex and copper tubing are designed specifically for plumbing
Video camera – an indispensable and thoroughly modern tool for troubleshooting and diagnostics, a tiny snake-mounted video camera similar to the one used by surgeons can explore drains and pipes without having to dismantle them.
Propane torch – especially when copper piping or metal joinery needs sealing, a torch is used to apply heat and solder.
Why You Need a Pro
For drain cleaning, or for any plumbing job really, beyond what a homeowner can accomplish with a household plunger, the advantages of hiring a professional are abundant.
- They have the right knowledge to troubleshoot efficiently, and fix the problem right the first time.
- They carry the right tools for the job. Not all of these are available from the corner hardware store. And neither is the skill to use them effectively.
- Guaranteed work is certified. This is important should a dispute arise, a problem reoccur, or if there is an insurance claim or municipal inspection involved.
- They can save you money in the long run. Too many times, DIY repair jobs go wrong and cause damage that then becomes an emergency plumbing call. Save the expense and the heartache and call in a professional at the first sign of trouble.
- Peace of mind. Never underestimate the concept. It’s worth its weight in gold.
A specialist or plumbing professional may be essential for emergencies, but regular maintenance plumbing services and inspections can also head off many problems at the pass. If you own a home or business in the area and think that your property could benefit from commercial or residential drain cleaning, call bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of San Antonio, TX to learn more about their extensive menu of drain cleaning and other plumbing services.