Many homeowners reach for caustic drain cleaning chemicals when they experience a slow or clogged drain. However, these chemicals pose a significant risk of burns and possible blindness if occupants of the home are splashed with or otherwise exposed to these chemicals.
There are several other options that require only a bit of physicality and some simple equipment, Your weapon of choice will usually be based on both your personal preference and the severity of the drain clog. This equipment is basically divided into two groups: plungers and drain augers.
What are your choices in plungers?
Traditional ball and stick plunger
It's always best to choose the simplest path first. Most households that possess any type of plunger have the traditional semicircular rubber ball on a long round wooden stick. The concave ball is pressed against a sink or toilet drain to create a vacuum, then depressed and released repeatedly with the stick. This hopefully creates enough pressure to dislodge any clogging agent and send it down the drain line and into the sewer system.
The air pump plunger
This type of plunger requires less physical exertion with arms and shoulders than a traditional plunger. It resembles a small air pump with a concave rubber plunger cup tip. The rubber cup is pressed against the drain and the handle depressed repeatedly with one hand while the other hand holds the plunger body in place.
This type of plunger has the same objective as a traditional ball and stick plunger, which is to build enough air pressure in the drain pipes to push a clog through the system.
The air blaster plunger
This is a variation of the air pump plunger, but instead of building pressure in the drain line, the handle is pumped to build up pressure within the body of the pump. When sufficient pressure is built, a trigger is pulled that releases a quick blast of pressurized air into the drain. This plunger model must be held tightly against the drain when the trigger is depressed, or the operator may experience an unwelcome shower of dirty water.
What are your choices in drain augers?
Drain augers are used when plungers just won't remove a clog. They consists of a round flexible metal cable with an auger tip. This tip is shaped like a spring with a sharp tip at the end. The cable is fed into the drain line slowly, twisted continuously as it is fed to burrow through accumulated sewage. When an obstacle is reached, additional pressure and twisting are applied to sang the offending clog with the auger tip. The auger cable is then withdrawn, hopefully with the clog attached to the auger.
This type of auger is simply a cable with an auger tip and a handle and/or reel to twist the retract the cable manually. Some manual augers have attachments that can be connected to power drills for additional speed and power for twisting.
These augers are powered by hydraulics and are used on the most stubborn clogs. they must be used with care, because they can cause damage to older drain and sewer lines.
If none of these options work to clear your drain, you'll need a drain cleaning company, like Backlund Plumbing, with more powerful equipment, such as water blasters that can dislodge even the toughest clogs.