Clogged drains are a problem that plagues every household from time to time, and fittingly, the question of how to clear those drains presents another conundrum. If you’re thinking of reaching for the store-bought drain cleaners, think again. Not only can those products damage your plumbing, but for certain types of clogs, they’re largely ineffective. Instead, professional drain cleaning services such as drain snaking and water jetting provide an effective, safe option when you’re drains are hopelessly clogged. Drain Blaster Bill discusses the differences between the two and when each is appropriate.


What is Drain Snaking?

Have you heard stories about snakes traveling through plumbing and ending up in residential toilets? Not to worry, that’s not what we’re discussing today—but if a snake does happen to clog your pipes, we can get it out! What we’re referring to is the process of using a plumbing snake to clear a clogged drain. Don’t know what a plumbing snake is? There are a few types:


●        Top snake. This snake is the smallest of the bunch, typically used for cleaning sink, bathtub, and shower drains. Typically, it features a 25-foot cable and can be electric or manual-operated. This snake is effective against most types of small, soft blockages.

●        Toilet auger. As its name suggests, this snake is specifically designed to combat toilet drain clogs that don’t respond to plunger activity.

●        Medium drain machine. This snake works to clear blockages typically found in longer plumbing lines like those extending from your kitchen sink or roof vents. It generally features a cable length of 50 to 75 feet.

●        Large drain machine. Specifically designed to conquer heavy-duty clogs in pipes three inches or greater in diameter, this type of snake features a cable length of 75 to 100 feet. It is most commonly used for large drains that travel away from your home.


Depending on the type of clog and the length of the pipe, your drain cleaning technician will select the appropriate snake for the job. Then, your technician will slowly feed the snake’s cable into your pipe until he locates the blockage. He’ll then rotate the snake against the blockage until it breaks apart, or until it grabs hold of the mass. If the mass breaks apart, it can travel on its own through the remainder of the pipe. If it will not or cannot break apart, your technician can pull it up through the pipe and out through the drain’s opening.


What is Water Jetting?

Water jetting, sometimes referred to as hydro jetting, is a more sophisticated method of clearing clogged drains. This drain cleaning method can conquer virtually all types of drain clogs, from household hairballs to large, compact blockages. This method has become a go-to service for many drain cleaning professionals due to its outstanding efficacy and rapid performance.


During a water jetting procedure, your drain cleaning technician uses a high-pressure jet of water to forcefully break apart blockages within your pipes. Using a specially designed pump, hose, and nozzle attachments, your technician will feed the apparatus into your pipes. The pump and hose work to propel water toward the blockage at high velocity, generally around 35,000 pounds per square inch. As a result of this extremely high pressure, clogs break apart into many smaller components, after which they can easily travel through the remainder of your pipes and out of the plumbing system.


At Drain Blaster Bill’s, we use water jetting for a variety of difficult drain clogs, especially those in commercial or industrial settings, due to its high level of efficacy. This drain cleaning method can clear virtually any type of buildup, including tree roots, plastic, metal, soap buildup, hair, minerals, and anything else that may become caught in residential or commercial drains.


Drain Snaking vs. Water Jetting

Now that you know the basic differences between the two, you’re probably wondering which method is most appropriate for your situation. The answer is: it depends. Based on the type of blockage you have and the size and condition of your pipes, one method may win out over the other, but both are still considered highly effective. Here’s where the differences lie:


●        Drain snaking. This method is typically appropriate for softer clogs that break apart easily. Because the cable of a drain snake has a fixed width, often, it cannot clear all traces of certain types of blockages. Therefore, it is typically used for clogs on the minor end of the spectrum. Drain snaking also wins out when your home has aged or delicate plumbing that cannot withstand the tremendous force of a water jet.


●        Water jetting. Water jetting can clear just about any clog, so if a drain snake fails, water jetting can pick up where the snake left off. Another perk of water jetting is its ability to remove buildup along the inside walls of your pipes—even if that buildup has not yet resulted in a full blockage—something a drain snake simply cannot achieve. However, due to the tremendous force behind jetted water, it may not be a safe choice for older, fragile, or damaged pipes. Water jetting under such conditions may end in further damage or leaking that can necessitate costly plumbing repairs.


Your best bet? Hire a professional drain cleaning company to make the decision for you. Without extensive knowledge about your home’s plumbing, the type of clog you have, and appropriate cleaning methods, it can be difficult to determine which method is best. Not to mention, its exceedingly easy for the untrained homeowner to unintentionally damage their pipes when attempting to clear a blockage using either method. To save yourself the headache of unexpected plumbing repairs and other do-it-yourself debacles, it’s best to hire a trained professional.


Residential and Commercial Drain Cleaning Experts

When you’ve got a drain clog that just won’t budge, it’s time to call the experts at Drain Blaster Bill’s Sewer and Drain Cleaning. As the Twin Cities’ number one drain cleaning company, we pride ourselves on prompt, efficient, comprehensive service you can count on. Your satisfaction is our highest priority, and to achieve that, we offer industry-leading service using the latest tools and technology for each job we perform. No matter what type of drain cleaning you need, whether it be residential drains, commercial plumbing, or septic systems, we have the tools and experience you need and service you can trust. Contact our team today at 763-913-8719 for questions or to schedule your service appointment. Or, reach out to us to request your free estimate!