There are occasions when it pays to get ‘down and dirty’. One of these is clogged drains and sewers. There some very specialized tools to get the job done. One of these tools is the drain camera. This is sent down drains to make sure that the obstructions is a clog or mechanical obstruction as in a broken or crushed drain. Reaching from 200 to 325 feet coupled with a monitor they allow visual inspection of drain systems. With a video recorder the video inspection system allows analysis, evaluation and repair planning. Aging sewer and drain systems may succumb to mechanical failure requiring repair rather than dealing with a normally encountered stoppage. It is best to be prepared and informed than to enter blindly. Normal blockages can be dealt with by one of two means. The cable cleaner with a razor head or high-pressure water jet.
Drain & Sewer Snake Cables
The steel cable systems are the old standby and the solution commonly associated with a blocked drain. A steel cable with a pincher designed blade at the end is rotated and fed into the drain. The claw encounters the blockage and chews it up. Cleaning of the pipe walls is “hit and miss” but very effective for clearing a blockage. The steel snake is available from small manually operated or by a hand held electric drill to clear blockage in the kitchen and bath rooms, pipes up to 1 ½ to 2 inches and 15 to 20 feet long. The larger and more expensive commercial units that can reach out to a distance of 325 feet and take on pipe up to 4 inches.
Hydro Jet Drain Cleaning
High pressure water at around 4000 psi uses the cutting action of a water jet to clear the blockage. The high-pressure jet cuts through the blockage and opens the drain. But an added benefit is that on extraction the jet can blast adhered debris and deposits stuck to the drains inner wall preventing future buildup that may lead to future blockages. Called jetters some of these units combine high pressure with hot water, using a portable boiler to heat the water. The combined pressurized stream of hot water breakup blockages and scrub the pipe walls of crud, sludge and slime.
Problems with Liquid Drain Cleaners
The previous methods harness some sort of mechanical power, the rotating steel snake or the high-pressure water, but sometimes the solution to a problem is the suitable application of chemistry. Chemical drain cleaners are highly corrosive, something to keep in mind when dealing with older steel pipe drains. These chemicals that come in consumer grade or industrial strength ‘eat’ through the grease, hair and soap the most common cause of clogged drains. Some constituents of these chemicals include lye and sulfuric acid. However, the use of chemicals is a cautionary one. These can kill the ‘good’ bacteria used to breakdown the sludge in septic systems. Somewhere at some time these chemicals will have to be dealt with by the sewage treatment plants and/or released back into the environment, not a very ‘green’ minded solution. Corrosive chemicals and toxic vapor chemical solutions should be considered very carefully and probably as a last resort. Over use can affect the integrity of your plumbing.
Drain & Sewer Cleaning & More in Manhattan, Flushing, Queens, Brooklyn & The Bronx, New York
Drain and sewer cleaning have a preventative benefit if done regularly in a timely fashion.
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