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Drain Cleaning

How To Choose The Right Drain Cleaning Tool

Many people pay no attention to the drains in their homes until something goes wrong. More than just a stopper at the bottom of your sink or tub, a drain serves a very important purpose in whisking away the water from your home through the plumbing system. Backed up toilets, sinks that are slow to drain and standing water in the shower are just a few of the pesky problems that signal that it’s time to break out the plumbing tools or call a professional. More serious problems result in extensive repairs that can prove costly, but the good news is that when you learn how to choose the right drain cleaning tool, you can easily tackle most drain issues yourself.


Types of Drains in Your Home

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There are several types of drains in every home including those in your kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. Wherever water comes out, it must have a way to leave. Tubs, sinks and toilets all have drain lines but so do your major appliances such as your washer and dishwasher. These drain lines are just the beginning of your plumbing system, and each connects to the main line where water exits either into your septic or into your city or town’s water system. There are numerous plumbing problems that can arise with your plumbing with a clog being the most common, and also among the easiest to fix, even for a homeowner.

Types of Clogs

There are several types of clogs that afflict drains and pipes, causing standing water in a sink or tub. Serious clogs result in a backed up washing machine, or worse, a flooded basement or main floor.


Grease Clogs

Vegetation Clogs

Hair Clogs

Object Clogs

Cause of Clog Grease being dumped down the drain Washing dishes with significant grease content Tree roots entering main house pipes Hair being washed down the drain in bath or shower Flushing facial hair down the toilet or sink Toys being flushed down toilet Jewelry or small objects falling from edge of sink
How to Prevent Recycle grease Remove most of grease content from dishes prior to washing Remove trees with invasive root systems Use a drain trap to catch hair in tub or shower Shave over a solid surface and toss hair in the trash Don’t place objects too close to sink ledges
Best Tool(s) to Clear If drain cleaner fails, use auger or water jetter to power the clog through the pipes Pipe-freezing kits to access and isolate sections and then drums to clear blockages Drain snakes, augers, drums and water jetters are all suitable tools Depends on the size of the object lodged in the drain Augers, drain snakes, water jetters and drums all work

Knowing exactly what type of clog you’re facing helps determine which tool to use for the best results. If you’re unable to clear a clog with the use of tools, a professional can help resolve the clog before it does more damage.


Types of Tools

CF0C811E-6904-4B98-A711-A81AC9049DFBThere are several types of drain cleaning equipment designed to help clean out drains and these tools range from basic to handheld, and for stronger drain clogs, electronic tools. The type of tool you’ll need to clean out the blockage depends on the type of clog you’re facing.

Basic Drain Cleaning Tools

When a clog strikes, it’s not uncommon to reach for the liquid drain cleaner, but you’ll find that there are times when it’s just not strong enough and you require additional tools. Drain snakes are a popular drain cleaning tool for toilets and sinks, and are best used for small drain problems such as a clump of hair. A long metal stick, they are narrow to fit within your tub or toilet to push through or break up the clog. They’re often used in combination with an auger which features a hook and loop design that grabs the source of the clog so you can pull it out. Augers are especially helpful in grabbing and removing small objects such as jewelry and small toys.

Electric Drain Cleaning Tools

Serious clogs or clogs that are deeper in the plumbing system require more power that a simple handheld tool cannot do. In these instances choosing a piece of electric drain cleaning equipment is best. There are a number of electric drain cleaning machines that RIDGID offers including drums, water jetters and the Auto-Clean™ sink machine.

Drums

Drum machines work with sink lines that range from 3/4 to 10 inches in diameter. They deliver water a high torque levels to propel obstructions through the line using cables or cutters, depending on the type of blockage you have. Ridgid’s drum machines deliver high RPM using powerful induction motors. They’re suitable for clearing hard and soft blockages such as tree roots, food build-up, grease and sediment. Since the snakes have cables that can pinch, make sure to pick up a drain-cleaning mitt to protect your hands.

Water Jetters

Ranging from mid- to very high-PSI, water jetters from Ridgid come in both electric and gas models. They work in sink lines up to 10 inches wide and use a flexible hose to propel through soft blockages including grease, sludge and soap. They also have the benefit of flushing the line, restoring full water flow. Water jetters work in both home and commercial applications and Ridgid offers several models with high HP motors for fast performance.

Auto-Clean Sink Machine

The Auto-Clean Sink Machine is Ridgid’s patented technology. It’s a single drain unblocker tool with a flexible hose and a MAXCORE™ cable that works in lines ranging of various widths for working in areas with large or small pipes. The Auto-Clean Sink Machine blasts through obstacles in sink and tub or shower drains. It’s useful for soft blockages such as hair, soap and grease.


Other Drain Cleaning Tools

B3624D17-D3DC-435D-BC78-9626561DF5CFIn addition to actual drain cleaning equipment, there are other tools that work in combination with the equipment to effectively clear blockages quickly and seamlessly. These parts include pipe freezing kits and threading tools. If you’re looking to buy drain cleaning tools, these components often come in handy.

Pipe Freezing Kits

When you need to isolate an area of a pipe to perform repairs, a pipe freezing kit is helpful in isolating a section. It’s a useful tool when shutting off the water is not possible. It works by blocking off a section of the pipe, preventing the water from flowing through and inhibiting the work process.

Pipe Threading Tools

Pipe threading tools come in handy when you’re replacing a drain or section of pipe in the sewer. They help prepare new pipes for joining together if a pipe replacement is necessary, such as if a blockage is too strong to clear, and include sealants, cutting oil, dies and adapters.

Drains are a pesky occurrence, but knowing how to choose the right drain cleaning tool can help clear obstacles and restore natural function. Check out our extensive collection of Ridgid drain-cleaning tools to find equipment that’s ideal for your home or business.

5 Comments

  • Samantha Rogers

    December 1, 2016 at 4:41 am

    I have a LOT of long and thick hair and tend to clog up my drains often. You mentioned that the Auto-Clean Sink Machine is really useful to clear out soft blockages like hair. Is this something that is available to any consumer, or do you have to be licensed to purchase something like this?

    Reply
  • Bernard Clyde

    February 6, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    I feel like I will be more careful about what I let go down my drains after reading this post! I think we easily overlook what goes down our drain since we are so used to them working well. You’ve provided a great list of different clogs and drains and how to help clear them up. Thank you!

    Reply

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