When you call out a professional plumber to deal with your blocked drain, you may be surprised by the number of options available in their plumbing armoury to deal with the problem successfully. Here we take a look at the pros and cons of five different methods that can be used to clear a blocked drainpipe.
A tried and tested plumbing solution, plungers come in a range of different sizes and strengths. A plunger fits snugly over a pipe end, bath or sink grate, and intermittent pressure is then applied to create a suction effect. Ideal for removing small blockages, plungers are easy to use, convenient and economical. Unfortunately, they have limited effectiveness, and are only of use for removing small blockages in close proximity to where they’re applied.
2. Water closet auger
Also known as the toilet auger or plumbing snake, the water closet auger is a bendy wire coil that has an auger bit (a screw-shaped end) at one end, and a handle at the other. The auger is useful for baths, sinks and toilets. It can help to break up blockages, as well as hook bits out of the pipe. Augers are useful for smaller blockages, or blockages which aren’t too impacted. They have limited effectiveness for removing firm blockages (such as tree roots), or those which are tightly lodged.
3. Plumbers’ plunger
These are flat discs of rubber (or similar material), to which a handle can be screwed. Working in the same way as a traditional plunger, they can be customised to provide a close fit on a range of different pipes. The plungers are capable of exerting a considerable amount of pressure, and are ideal for removing blockages in straight sections of pipe. The main disadvantage of these is that a good fit is required for the plunging action to be successful. In addition, these don’t push blockages out of the way, they only exert a pulling effect.
4. Small water hydro jet
As the name suggests, a water hydro jet consists of a tank of water and a powerful pump that will blast the water down the pipe towards the blockage. The water is released at high pressure: around 4000 psi when the jet is used for clearing larger, main drain pipes, and around 1200 psi for smaller pipes. Perfect for removing most blockages, the water jet commands sufficient force to clear away grease, dirt or other build-ups. It may not be strong enough to blast away tree roots. Unfortunately, the machine uses a lot of water and can be time-consuming and costly to deploy.
5. Cable drain cleaning machine (large or small)
Arguably the most powerful tool a plumber has available, the cable drain cleaning machine consists of heavy-duty cables which are sent down the pipe to clear the blockage. The cables are heavy and strong: quite capable of shearing through a tree root or other solid blockage. Unfortunately, they’re not quite so good at dislodging grease balls or similar. Although they may break up the grease ball, enough may remain to adhere to the sides of the pipe for build-up to reoccur in the near future.
At Pinnacle Plumbing, our skilled team will always opt for the method that’s going to give the best results with the least disruption and expense to our customers. Using our expertise to diagnose the type of blockage and its position in the pipe, we will deploy the right equipment to deal with your blocked drain effectively, no matter what the issue might be.