How To Deal With Clogged Drains: DIY vs. Professional Services

25 June 2024


A clogged drain is a common household problem that can cause serious inconvenience and potential damage if not addressed promptly. Whether in the kitchen, bathroom or laundry room, drains can become clogged for a variety of reasons, including build-up of hair, grease, soap scum or food debris. Knowing how to unclog a drain effectively can save you time and money. In this blog, we share several proven methods for unclogging a drain, from simple home solutions to more advanced techniques, to restore smooth water flow and prevent future clogs.

Common Causes of Drain Blockages

Before delving into the methods of addressing clogged drains, it’s crucial to understand the common causes of blockages. Drain blockages can occur due to various factors, including the accumulation of hair, soap residue, grease buildup, food particles, foreign objects, and mineral deposits.

Additionally, external factors such as tree roots infiltrating sewer lines or structural issues within the plumbing system can contribute to blockages. Identifying the root cause of the clog is essential for determining the most appropriate course of action.

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What Issues Can Drain Blockages Cause?

  • Leaks: Drain blockages can lead to leaks in the plumbing system, causing water damage to surrounding structures and potentially resulting in costly repairs. When drains become blocked, water pressure can build up behind the obstruction, leading to leaks or even burst pipes. This leakage can damage walls, ceilings, and flooring, requiring extensive repairs.
  • Slow Drainage: One of the most common signs of a drain blockage is a slow drain, where water takes longer than usual to empty from sinks, showers, or bathtubs. Blockages restrict the flow of water through the drain, causing it to drain slowly. This not only creates inconvenience but can also indicate underlying issues within the plumbing system that require attention.
  • Sewer Line Issues: Severe drain blockages can affect the sewer line, leading to backups and potential contamination of the property’s water supply. If a blockage occurs in the main sewer line, wastewater can back up into sinks, toilets, and drains throughout the property. This poses health risks and requires immediate professional intervention to resolve.
  • Structural Damage: Prolonged drain blockages can cause structural damage to pipes and surrounding infrastructure, compromising the integrity of the plumbing system. Blockages can exert pressure on pipes, causing them to crack, corrode, or collapse over time. This can result in costly repairs and may require extensive excavation to access and replace damaged sections of the plumbing network.
  • Health Risks: Blocked drains can create an environment conducive to the growth of harmful bacteria and mold, posing health risks to occupants of the property. Stagnant water trapped behind blockages can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, leading to unpleasant odors and potential health hazards. Resolving blockages promptly is essential to maintain a safe and hygienic living environment.

DIY Drain Cleaning Methods

DIY drain cleaning methods offer homeowners a cost-effective and convenient way to address minor drain issues without the need for professional assistance. Several DIY techniques can effectively clear simple clogs and restore proper drainage:

  • Plunging: For clogged sinks and toilets, a toilet plunger or sink plunger can be highly effective in dislodging minor blockages. Ensure a tight seal around the drain and plunge vigorously to create pressure and dislodge the obstruction.
  • Homemade Drain Cleaner: A mixture of baking soda and vinegar can serve as a natural and environmentally friendly drain cleaner. Pour a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down the drain, and allow it to sit for several hours before flushing with hot water. This combination helps break down organic matter and clear minor blockages.
  • Boiling Water: Boiling water can be poured directly into the drain to dissolve grease and flush away debris. This method is particularly useful for clearing grease buildup in kitchen drains.
  • Manual Removal: In cases where the clog is within reach, such as in a shower drain or bathroom sink, manual removal of hair and debris using a drain snake or a pair of pliers can be effective.

While there are some benefits of DIY drain cleaning and it can provide temporary relief for minor clogs, they may not always address underlying issues or stubborn blockages on all types of drains. Moreover, improper execution of DIY solutions can potentially cause damage to plumbing fixtures or exacerbate the problem.

Professional Drain Cleaning Service

For stubborn and severe clogs and other plumbing issues, a professional plumber is essential to avoid extensive damage to your plumbing system caused by pesky drain clogs. They can clean drains perfectly thanks to their specialized tools and heavy-duty liquid drain cleaners.

Here is how the process works:

  • Initial Assessment: Licensed plumbers conduct a thorough inspection using advanced video cameras to identify blockages and underlying issues like tree root intrusion or pipe corrosion.
  • Advanced Equipment: Utilizing state-of-the-art hydro-jetting equipment and specialized drain snakes, professionals effectively and efficiently remove stubborn blockages. In addition to high-pressure water jets, they are also properly trained to use some chemical drain cleaners that are ideal for stubborn clogs and much stronger than anything you could buy off the shelf yourself.
  • Environmentally Friendly Solutions: Employing eco-friendly and non-toxic methods ensures minimal impact on plumbing systems and the environment while clearing blockages.
  • Preventative Measures: Offering tailored advice on preventing future blockages through proper maintenance and proactive drain care practices.
  • Long-Term Maintenance Plans: Providing personalized, scheduled routine drain cleaning appointments ensures ongoing functionality and minimizes the risk of developing severe blockages and risk of damage, avoiding costly repairs over time.
  • Customer Education: Taking the time to educate homeowners on the importance of proper drain care empowers them to maintain optimal plumbing performance between professional servicing appointments.

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Why DIY Drain Cleaning is a Bad Idea

DIY drain cleaning often involves the use of chemical cleaners, which can be a risky solution for addressing clogs in sinks and other plumbing fixtures. These chemicals not only contribute to environmental harm but can also cause dangerous chemical reactions within your plumbing system, potentially damaging pipes and leading to costly repairs.

Additionally, chemical cleaners are frequently ineffective against the toughest clogs, which might require a more robust approach, such as a high-pressure stream of water, to clear thoroughly. This method, typically employed by professionals, can safely and effectively remove blockages without the adverse effects associated with harsh chemicals. Resorting to DIY methods without proper knowledge and tools can exacerbate the issue, leading to greater inconvenience and expense.

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Benefits of Professional Drain Cleaning Services

Professional drain cleaning services offer expertise, specialized equipment, and long-term solutions for addressing stubborn blockages and maintaining optimal drain function. Licensed plumbers and professional drain cleaners possess the knowledge and experience to diagnose complex drain issues and implement effective solutions. Here are some key benefits of opting for professional drain cleaning services:

Advanced Equipment

Professional plumbers utilize high-tech tools such as drain snakes, hydro-jetting equipment, and video inspection cameras to identify and remove blockages efficiently. These tools allow for thorough cleaning of drain lines and inspection of hidden areas within the plumbing system.

Thorough Inspection

Professional drain cleaners conduct comprehensive inspections to identify underlying issues that may contribute to drain blockages. By addressing root causes such as tree root intrusion, pipe corrosion, or structural defects, professionals can prevent future clogs and minimize the risk of potential damage and costly repairs.

Safe and Effective Solutions

Professional drain cleaning services prioritize safety and employ environmentally friendly techniques to clear blockages without the use of harsh chemicals. Unlike store-bought drain cleaners that contain caustic substances, professional-grade solutions can be non-toxic and pose minimal risk to plumbing systems and the environment.

Long-Term Maintenance

By scheduling routine drain cleaning appointments with a professional service provider, homeowners can ensure ongoing maintenance of their plumbing systems and mitigate the risk of future blockages. Regular drain cleaning helps prevent the buildup of debris that causes frequent clogs and maintains proper drainage throughout the property.

Cost Comparison: DIY vs Professional Services

When weighing the cost of DIY drain cleaning versus professional services, it’s essential to consider factors such as the severity of the clog, the complexity of the issue, and the potential risks involved.

While DIY methods may seem cost-effective initially, they can lead to additional expenses if not executed properly or if they fail to address underlying issues. In contrast, professional drain cleaning services offer a comprehensive solution that addresses the root cause of the problem and provides long-term benefits.

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Drain Cleaning Services in the Greater Montreal Area

At Plomberie Pro Drain, we specialize in comprehensive plumbing services tailored to address a wide range of issues for the residents of Montreal. Our professional drain cleaners excel in tackling stubborn clogs and preventing pipe damage. We prioritize long-term solutions to ensure lasting results for our clients.

Whether you’re dealing with persistent blockages in your kitchen sink or require preventive maintenance for lasting solutions, our team is equipped to deliver top-notch service. Trust Plomberie Pro Drain for reliable solutions and peace of mind for all your plumbing needs!

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