One of the more aggravating plumbing problems is a clogged drain or sewer line. The former is normally easy to fix since the issue usually requires only the removal of the P-traps during drain cleaning. However, this repair does require careful attention for a couple of reasons. The first is all the water which may be left in the sink, tub or another basin, which needs to be removed or captured so it doesn’t damage the building. Another area where special attention tends to be required is the replacement of the traps. One reason for this is the material that most P-traps are made from: PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride. It is much easier to strip the threads or cross-thread these components than an inexperienced repair person may realize.
The most important reason to consider drain cleaning is the elimination of clogs; however, this procedure may also cause or expose existing concerns such as cracked pipe or loose connections. These latter two problems can lead to some expensive repairs when they aren’t handled properly. Clearing a clog may require multiple tools, especially when the plumber has no idea where the problem is located. The first of these is the video snake, which is a long, flexible cable that carries a small video camera for inspection purposes, thus allowing the plumber to quickly find the problem and decide how to handle it.
Cracks or separating connections in a sewer line often occur from settling, movement or traffic driving over them. The first two may be the result of the home moving a little and pulling the sewer line with it. The second could have a similar cause, but keep in mind that sewer lines are low flow systems and may not be secured with the use of pipe cement. Cracks and separation allow plant roots to grow inside the pipes. This happens because the plants are looking for moisture and the roots often locate an available supply inside the sewer pipe. Plant roots can force a connection to separate or a crack to grow larger.
Once any clogs are cleared, the plumber may recommend a hydro-wash for a more thorough cleaning. This machine uses high water pressure to remove built-up waste, especially any clogs forming on the pipe walls or along the uneven edges where a connection fit the joints together.
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