The Process of Professional Drain Cleaning:
What to Expect

Professional drain cleaning might sound a little silly. What, is there a certificate you can get in using a plunger nowadays?

However, the reality is that clogged drains are more than a nuisance, and fixing them correctly requires more than a plunger and a bottle of liquid drain cleaner! In this article we’ll address common signs that your drains need cleaning, and take an in depth look at the tools and methods that professional plumbers use to keep your drains flowing smoothly!

Collage of different drain clogs

How to Tell If Your Home Needs Drain Cleaning

Before we get started, it is important to know that clogged drains aren’t just annoying, they can actually cause serious problems to your plumbing system. Check out our article on the impact of drain blockages on your plumbing system to learn more.

Here are some telltale signs that you are experiencing clogged drains and might need to contact a professional plumbing service:

Slow Draining Sinks & Tubs:

This is a common sign of a blockage in your drains. When water drains more slowly than usual, it suggests that something is partially obstructing the flow of water in your pipes, often a buildup of hair, grease, or other debris.

Frequent Clogs:

If you’re experiencing clogs regularly in your kitchen or bathroom sink, shower, or toilet, it’s a clear sign that there’s a persistent issue in your drainage system. Frequent clogs indicate accumulating blockages that aren’t being fully cleared.

Unpleasant Odors:

Foul smells coming from your drains are a tell-tale sign that there’s a buildup of waste, potentially including food particles, grease, or even sewage, in your pipes. These buildups can lead to bacterial growth, which produces the unpleasant odors.


Gurgling Noises:

If you hear gurgling sounds coming from your drains, it indicates that air is trapped in your pipes due to blockages. These sounds occur as water displaces the air in the pipes, struggling to navigate around the blockage.

Water Backups:

Water backing up out of drains, especially in areas like sinks or shower drains, is a serious sign of a blockage. If water re-emerges instead of flowing down the drain, it means that there’s a major obstruction preventing the normal flow of water.

The Advantages of Using a Professional Plumber

Alright, so you’ve got yourself a clogged drain. No big deal, just run to the store and pick up a bottle of liquid drain cleaner, right? We urge you to reconsider. We don’t say this because it puts plumbers out of a job, but because we’re trying to save you from giving us much bigger and more expensive jobs.

Chemical drain cleaners are like a bandaid – they only cover up the problem. However, unlike a bandaid, these DIY cleaning products can actually make the problem much worse! The caustic chemicals can damage pipes, resulting in severe water damage and costly repairs.

Additionally, there are some types of drain clogs that liquid drain cleaners are never going to be able to fix, like misaligned sewer lines, stuck foreign objects, or tree root intrusion. A skilled plumber will have the know-how to accurately diagnose your problem and the specialized tools necessary to fix the problem without causing further damage.

What to Expect from Professional Drain Cleaning Services

Initial Consultation and Assessment

Professional drain clearing begins with an initial consultation and assessment. During this stage, your plumber will discuss your specific concerns and symptoms, such as slow draining sinks or frequent clogs.

This conversation helps them understand the potential scope of the issue. A preliminary inspection of accessible parts of the drainage system and a proposal for next steps may follow.

Advanced Inspection

A crucial step in professional drain clearing is the advanced inspection, often involving the use of high-tech camera systems. These specialized cameras are inserted into your drains, providing a live feed that allows technicians to pinpoint blockages and assess the internal condition of your pipes.

Camera inspection is highly effective in identifying the exact location and nature of the issues within the drains, including hidden problems like pipe damage, root infiltration, or buildup not visible from the outside.

The Cleaning Process

Drain Snaking or Cabling

This is a traditional method for clearing clogs in drains. It involves using a long, flexible metal cable with a spiral coil at the end, known as a snake or drain auger. The snake is inserted into the drain and pushed through the pipes until it reaches the blockage.

Once it reaches the clog, the spiral end hooks onto the debris, allowing the technician to dislodge or extract the material blocking the pipe.

Drain snaking is particularly effective for removing clogs caused by accumulated hair, food particles, or other soft materials. It’s a common, less invasive method suitable for minor to moderate blockages.

Black bottle of dliquid drain cleaner being poured into bath drain.

Hydro Jetting

Hydro jetting is a more powerful and comprehensive drain cleaning technique. It uses a high-pressure water jet similar to a pressure washer to clean the inside of the plumbing pipes.

A specialized nozzle attached to a hose blasts water at high pressure, effectively breaking up and flushing out clogs and buildup from the pipe walls. This includes grease, soap scum, mineral scale, and other stubborn residues that snaking might not remove. Hydro jetting can even be used to remove tree roots in some cases.

This clog-busting technique not only clears blockages but also cleans the entire diameter of the pipe, making it an effective method for maintaining and preventing future clogs.

Black bottle of dliquid drain cleaner being poured into bath drain.

However, it’s important to note that hydro jetting is a more intense process that should only be performed by professionals and your plumber will first determine whether or not your pipes are a good candidate for hydro jetting.

Additional Recommendations & Guidance

After your plumber has finished unclogging your drain, they may give you some additional recommendations and guidance. Oftentimes, clogs come about from inappropriate disposal of kitchen grease, paper towels, or other organic material that is not appropriate for your home plumbing system.

Just like the dentist telling you that you should probably be flossing more, this advice isn’t always easy to hear but it comes from a place of compassion! We want your drain pipes and plumbing in general to work great – even if that means less work for us!

Get Your Drains Flowing Again

There is no reason to put up with sinks that won’t drain or to have every shower end with you standing in a pool of water! In the short term these are daily annoyances and in the long term, clogged drains lead to more severe plumbing problems.

While there are DIY solutions available, you risk prolonging or even worsening the problem. Instead, the best way to get clean drains which flow smoothly is to contact a local and licensed plumbing service.