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Drain Cleaning: The Answers to 5 Common Questions

Homeowners generally don’t clean their drains until there is a problem such as a clog or blocked pipe. Pipes and sewers back up when water and waste can’t flow freely. To avoid this, routine drain cleaning is recommended. Gervais Mechanical is happy to offer drain cleaning services to our customers.  

Here are the answers to 5 common questions that will help you get this important job right.  

1. Why are clean drains important?  

One of the most important things all homeowners should do to ensure the working order of their plumbing system is drain cleaning. Everyday items such as hair, soap, food scraps, or grease can easily accumulate and clog drains.  

Clean drains are vital to the proper functioning of the home. If drains are not kept clean, dirty water builds up. This water will turn stagnant, producing an intense, foul odor. If left unchecked, the smell can carry over to other areas of the house. Over time, that dirty water can leak and cause ceilings, floors, and walls to stain, warp, or crack. Stagnant water promotes the growth of mold and mildew. Even more, a home with drains that continually clog is generally more at risk of flooding during a heavy rainstorm. A timely drain cleaning service can prevent these potential problems. 

2. Why should I hire a professional to clean my home’s pipes? Can’t I do it myself? 

While cleaning pipes and draining water buildup is not overly complicated, dealing with your home’s plumbing can cause more harm than good if you don’t know what you’re doing. In addition to the sheer convenience of enlisting a professional service, there is also the peace of mind that comes with knowing experts have addressed and assessed the situation.  

Yes, a clogged drain may just simply require cleaning out accumulated hair or soap build up, but there is also a chance that a clogged pipe could be a sign of a bigger issue. For example, a septic system that hasn’t been cleaned in a very long time may cause sewage to backflow up the drainpipes and into the house. If the sewage has spilled over into the septic system’s leach field, the pipes there may need to be replaced at considerable expense. If the house is attached to a municipal sewer system, clogged pipes may mean that the water company has been working on the sewer line.  

Another cause of clogged drains could be tree roots that are infiltrating the underground main drain. Professional drain services offer reassurance that the drains are cleaned properly, and other components of the plumbing system have been evaluated to see if there are other issues that need to be addressed. 

3. Are off-the-shelf drain cleaners ‘good enough’ for the average home? 

Many homeowners have experienced a slow drain or clog in the shower or kitchen sink now and again. Many believe the easiest solution is to purchase an off-the-shelf drain cleaner and pour it down the drain. While this easy and inexpensive option seems like a good idea, it is actually a recipe for disaster.  

Chemicals in drain cleaners are not only hazardous to you and your loved ones’ health, but they can also be harmful to your pipes. The chemicals can erode the interior lining of pipes, which means the likelihood of leaks increases with each use. While chemical products will usually free up water flow temporarily, they don’t entirely remove the obstructions. Therefore, the clogging is likely to recur.  It is best to contact a professional drain cleaner. 

4. How often should a homeowner clean their pipes and sewer line? 

If you want to have total peace of mind that your pipes and sewer line are in good shape, professionals should inspect and clean the system every one to three years at a minimum. This is particularly important if you have lots of roots near your pipes. If you have trees or large bushes planted too close to the sewer line, their roots can push through the pipe and create a clog or cause damage.  

5. Are there any tips or home remedies for drain cleaning? 

To keep your pipes and sewer system in good shape, the following tips are inexpensive and easy to implement.  

  • If you don’t already have a strainer in your kitchen sink, get one. They are inexpensive and invaluable for keeping food and other items from going down the drain. 
  • The strainer in the kitchen sink should be cleaned out nightly. This prevents debris and bits of food from making its way into the pipes.  
  • Make sure that the debris beneath the strainer is also removed. 
  • Every other day, sprinkle some baking soda over the drain of your kitchen sink and wash it down with hot water. The cleaning properties of baking soda have the power to dissolve gunk in the pipes before it takes hold.  
  • Baking soda freshens up the smell of drains, just like it does when it’s placed in a refrigerator. This is very useful for combating odors. The same process can also be used in bathroom sinks and shower drains.  
  • Combining baking soda and vinegar can help clear away grease, soapy residue, and other deposits. Twice a month, sprinkle the baking soda and pour one cup of vinegar into the kitchen sink drain. Allow it to sit for an hour or so. Then, pour a kettle full of hot water down the drain. The acetic acid in vinegar acts as a cleaning agent. 

Gervais Mechanical Services is one of the most experienced residential and commercial plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning companies, providing the highest quality Plumbing/HVAC products. From the simplest to the most complex plumbing tasks, our team can assist with maintenance and emergency plumbing. We offer expert drain cleaning services such as: 

  • Sewer lines installation and repair 
  • Drainpipe snaking and pipe repair services 
  • Pipe relining for blocked or cracked pipes 
  • Video inspections 
  • Catch basin clean up to prevent flooding, clogged pipes, and environmental issues.  

Let Gervais solve your drain problems correctly the first time.  We offer 24-hour emergency services. Contact us for a drain consultation first. 

Questions? Contact Us.

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