How a Plumber Clears Drain Clogs and Blocked Sewer Lines

Joe Plumber installs, repairs, and maintains pipes, fixtures, and other equipment for water distribution and waste management in homes and businesses. They also help with new construction projects.


There are several routes to becoming a plumber, including a vocational program at a trade school or an apprenticeship. These programs typically take two to five years and require a license.

A clogged drain is more than just inconvenient; it could be a warning sign that you need to replace your sewer line. A plumber can use several different techniques to clean the drain, but one of the most effective is hydro jetting. Hydro jetting is a technique that uses water propelled at high speed to thoroughly clean your pipes and eliminate stubborn blockages. This method is also the best choice for recurrent clogs that have not responded to other treatments. However, hydro jetting can be dangerous if not handled correctly. Therefore, it is important to hire a plumber with experience and training.

This method uses high-pressure water streams to clean the walls of your pipe and remove grease, food particles, mineral scale, and tree roots. Unlike traditional drain snaking, which just punctures holes through the clog, hydro jetting thoroughly cleans the entire pipe and minimizes the risk of future blockages.

To perform hydro jetting, your plumber will insert a hose into your plumbing system and feed it down the drain until they reach the clog. The hose is equipped with a specialized nozzle that has multiple water jets that spray in various directions. This nozzle is attached to a powerful water tank that can withstand high psi levels. The plumber will then turn on the machine and shoot water into the clogged pipe at high speeds.

The powerful water stream obliterates the clog and flushes away the debris. The drain and sewer system will then flow freely, preventing future blockages from forming. In addition, hydro jetting is a non-invasive method that does not require the digging or creation of access points.

Another benefit of hydro jetting is that it does not use cleaning chemicals, which can be harmful to the environment and your health. The nozzle on the hose has multiple jets that spray in all directions, which ensures that every part of your pipe is cleaned thoroughly. In addition, the nozzle is adjustable, allowing your plumber to direct the water pressure in a specific direction.

Another advantage of hydro jetting is that it can be used on large commercial and municipal lines. These pipes have larger diameters than residential ones, making them more difficult to clean with snakes. In addition, the sludge and grease that accumulates in these pipes can be very toxic to the environment. Hydro jetting can also be used to clean out septic tanks and other sewage systems.

Chemical drain cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners are readily available plumbing solutions that help to clear away severe clogs or blockages in kitchen pipes, bathroom pipes, and sewer lines. These cleaners typically work by dissolving or emulsifying the organic matter that accumulates in these pipes over time, such as hair, grease, and food waste. This breakdown of the clog or blockage allows water to flow through it again, thus fixing the problem. The chemicals that are found in these drain cleaners usually come in the form of liquid or solid acids and alkaline, which are poured directly into the clogged pipe. However, it’s important to remember that these corrosive chemicals can also damage your pipes if they seep into them, especially old and galvanized ones. Furthermore, these chemicals can be harmful to your health if they get into your eyes or skin. They also produce hazardous fumes that can be inhaled if the area is not well ventilated.

Many reputable plumbers discourage the use of chemical drain cleaners, particularly the stronger ones that contain lye or sulfuric acid. These strong chemicals can corrode your pipes and may even cause them to burst. They can also be toxic to children and pets if they come into contact with them. Moreover, they can contaminate the environment by seeping into groundwater, rivers, and oceans.

Another disadvantage of using chemical drain cleaners is that they are often ineffective and only work for a short period of time before the clog returns. The chemicals may not be strong enough to dissolve the clog and can damage your pipes if they seep into older or galvanized ones. They may also be ineffective for removing large objects such as feminine products or paper towels that have been stuck inside the pipe.

The best way to avoid the risk of using chemical drain cleaners is to use a homemade alternative. These can be made with household items such as baking soda, vinegar, and hot water. The fizzing reaction of these ingredients can break down the clog and allow water to flow through again. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when handling these chemicals and to wear gloves and eye protection.

Bacterial drain cleaners

A bacterial drain cleaner is made of bacteria and enzymes that break down organic matter, such as hair and grease, in the drain line. These products are safer for the environment, pipes, and people than chemical drain cleaners. However, they are slower to work than chemical cleaners and may require repeated treatments.

Caustic drain cleaners use strong acids to dissolve organic waste and clogs. They can cause severe damage to pipes, and they also emit toxic fumes that are harmful to people and pets. These chemicals also seep into water supplies and can contaminate groundwater. Biological drain cleaners are a safer alternative to caustic chemical cleaners, but they are still not as effective.

Many homeowners opt for a natural drain cleaner to prevent blockages and keep their plumbing systems in good condition. A simple mixture of baking soda and vinegar can effectively clean a slow or blocked drain. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a half cup of white vinegar. Cover the drain and let it sit for a few hours. Then, rinse the drain with warm water. Repeat the process as often as needed to keep your drains flowing smoothly.

Another option is to use a septic-safe drain cleaner. These products contain billions of bacteria and enzymes that actively break down dead organic matter in the drain line, such as hair and paper. They are safe for the environment, septic systems, and humans. In addition, septic-safe drain cleaners can help maintain your drain line by preventing the buildup of sludge and scum.

Using an enzyme drain cleaner is a great way to reduce odors in the kitchen and bathroom. These products are available in powder or liquid form and are designed to digest fats, oils, and greases (FOG) from your drain lines. They can also remove clogs caused by organic debris, such as hair and soap scum.

Septic tank cleaning

Septic tank cleaners are a key component of any plumbing system. They help to keep bacteria levels low in a septic tank, which can prevent the buildup of solid waste. They also help to keep the septic system working correctly and efficiently. These cleaners are available in liquid or powder form and can be added to a septic tank periodically according to usage levels.

Regular septic tank cleaning can reduce foul odor and prevent costly repairs in the future. However, the exact cost of this service can vary depending on the size of a tank, the number of people living in a home, and how much wastewater it produces. A professional can help you determine how often your septic tank needs to be cleaned, and recommend an appropriate maintenance schedule.

In order to perform a septic tank cleaning, a plumber must first locate the septic tank. This may require digging up a portion of the ground surrounding the tank to uncover it. After locating the tank, the plumber will use a high-powered vacuum truck with a hose to remove the sludge from the septic tank. This will be pumped into a truck and transported away for disposal.

Once the septic tank has been pumped, the pro will uncover the inlet and outlet lids to clean them. They will also look for physical damage to the septic tank and drainfield. This pre-pumping inspection is important as it can reveal problems that are not obvious, such as cracks in the septic tank.

Septic tanks are designed to hold a certain amount of water and sludge, but excess waste can cause the system to overflow. This can lead to sewage backing up into the house or surfacing around the drain field. In addition, overflowing septic tanks can release harmful bacteria and viruses into the environment. To avoid this, septic tanks should be inspected and cleaned every three to five years.

A septic tank cleaner is a chemical solution that helps to break down organic waste and reduces the buildup of sludge in septic tanks. These products can be purchased at any hardware store and are easy to use. They are typically available in liquid or powder form and should be added to the septic tank according to the manufacturer’s instructions.