Drain Cleaning Equipment

Learn about the tools used by the pros and homeowners alike for solving clogged drains quickly.

Drain cleaning has stayed as up to date as any home improvement area in terms of new tools on the market and in improvements made to old standbys.

Your modern drain servicing professional has a remarkably high-tech selection of tools at their disposal. Examples include remote operated video cameras for inspection of plumbing, and precision-machined high-pressure sprayers used in jet-washing of sewers.

But a homeowner can handle most household clogs on their own if they have just one or two inexpensive tools. A plunger and / or a handheld drain auger appropriate for the troublesome drain(s) makes up its cost in the first saved service call to a pro. But with such a wide variety of plungers and drain snakes available, consumers must be informed about their proper use to make the right purchase decisions.

Read the tutorial articles and view any product discussion pages for the type of tool you are interested in to learn what you need to know.

  • Pick the Proper Plunger
    Tips for Using Plungers to Unclog Drains
    Not all plungers are the same

    With any home improvement or maintenance, you want the right tool for the job to get things done properly.

    Most plungers are designed to work with a certain type of drain. The standard issue plunger, with a suction cup shaped rubber bell on the end of a stick, is designed for plunging flat drains, like you might find in showers, floors, and utility sinks. That design is a poor choice for plunging clogged toilets or bathroom sinks though—the shapes of these drains and their basins require a differently shaped plunger.

  • There are times when a clog is too tough for a plunger.
    The clog can be hard to locate

    Another common problem is something solid has been lost down the drain, and must be recovered before it is lost.

    In situations like these, professionals, homeowners, and handymen will typically look to some form of handheld drain augers as the tool for the job. A clogged toilet should be cleared using a plunger or closet auger specially designed for the task. When the trouble has formed in the service lateral drain (the pipes running away from the home to the main utility or septic tank line) a motorized rooter or plumber’s snake will be used, which has the power to deal with dense clumps of roots and other solid obstructions.

  • Using Plungers for Success
    Pick up hints & tips for proper plunging technique
    Forming Airtight Seals

    Plungers work in both directions. They move water back and forth inside the pipes, breaking up the blocking material into smaller bits until the clog can no longer hold itself together.

    To do this, an airtight seal must be formed where the plunger meets the plumbing. Any leaks will mean at best an ineffective & noisy plunging and at worst a squirt of sewage back towards the user.

    Maintaining this seal while the plunger is worked up and down, for as many as a dozen strokes or for as long as thirty seconds, is the most important consideration, and is why there are so many differently shaped plungers on the market. Hopefully you have the right plunger for your drain. If you don’t maybe you can still make it work.

  • Using a Handheld Drain Auger to Unclog a Drain
    Use The Right Auger For The Drain

    Be Careful With Pocelain And Chrome

    These materials and surfaces can be damaged by the heavy tool housing and cable. You must either protect surfaces from the sharp edges and corners of the auger, or avoid the problem by bypassing these sections of drain and gaining access at another point.

  • How To Use A Closet Auger
    Learn to clear clogs using a toilet snake

    The most stubborn clogged toilets will sometimes not be cleared even by lengthy softening and vigorous plunging. In these situations, the next step is to use a tool called a handheld closet auger. The tem closet comes from the old euphemism for bathrooms, water closet, and refers to the fact that the auger is specifically designed for use on toilets and commodes. Augers are also the tool to use when attempting to clear any clog that is not soft or decomposable in nature, such as a toy or toiletry.

  • Prepare drains for clearing with a drain auger
    Proper Drain Prep

    When possible you should get an entry to the drain by removing or opening the associated trap. Very often you will find easy access to a nearby clog. If the obstruction is not immediately seen, the access point can be used to snake both sections of the drain.

    On the other hand, some smaller hand-tools will not require you to open a trap or remove a strainer. Tools designed for this purpose will have damage prevention measures, such as no-scratch plastic cables, but should still be used with care around chrome.

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