What causes blockages?
Blockages occur two ways:
- Instantaneous; resulting from an event such as vandalism or an inappropriate item being discharged into the drainage system, and
- Build-up over time; resulting from constant build-up of undesirable material in the drainage system eventually causing a blockage. For more detailed information see: Blockages
Can drain blockages be prevented?
Not completely. However, the following is a list of things to do to help minimize the chance or frequency of blockages:
- Always use basket strainers or screens on every drain.
- Do not dispose of grease down the drain.
- Avoid using a garbage disposer. If you must, run with lots of water and keep the blades sharp.
- Avoid powdered soaps that can leave a waxy residue.
- Do not flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet.
- Ensure that Grease traps are properly sized, installed and maintained
- Perform a periodic preventative drain flushing.
Why am I having repeat blockages in the same area?
You may have one of the following situations:
- broken or bad pipe connections that allow material to get snagged and eventually build up.
- roots intruding into the piping system.
- a "sump" or "dip" in the drain piping causing pooling, settling and buildup of grease or other undesirables.
- rusty cast iron drainage piping that is pitted and blistered, which promotes waste adhering to it.
- an inadequately sized, installed or maintained grease, sand or plaster interceptor.
One of our trained service technicians can assist in determining the best, most cost effective approach to solving the problem.
If need be, a Camera Inspection and Locating can be performed. In each case we will provide a quotation to correct the problem.
What is the difference between "Flushing" and "Snaking"?
Drain "snaking" is performed by inserting a steel cable (or rod) that has an auger type cutting tool attached at the front, into the clogged pipe and "working" the blockage free, or "punching" through the blockage. A Snake can be manually operated or motorized and is typically used on pipes up to 6" in diameter.
They can be used to cut intrusions such as roots, etc. They are also often used in conjunction with flushing (where the pipe is first snaked to remove the blockage, or to punch a hole through the buildup and then followed with the flusher to clean the pipes). Snakes are not particularly good at cleaning pipes. They are affectively limited to about 100 feet. Therefore, the service technician must have access relatively close to the blockage area, sometimes necessitating digging and exposing the drain to install a clean-out access point.
Flushing is performed using pressurized water that is pumped through a hose to a specially designed directional nozzle. Typically, flushing equipment is self-contained on the service truck. Flushing can be performed on drains and sewers from 2 to about 50 feet in diameter, and can affectively reach up to 1000 feet into a drain or sewer. Flushing is particularly affective in cleaning or removing buildup from drainage piping and is the preferred method for preventative maintenance.
How can I be sure my contractor installed the drains properly?
The best way to ensure that the drains are installed properly is to have a Camera Inspection performed immediately after the contractor has completed his work. Our technicians can provide a detailed recording of the entire system. That way, if there is a problem, you can show it to the contractor and have corrections made before you sign off and make final payment. An "inspection" clause should be included in construction bid and contract documents.
I am purchasing a property or business. How can I tell the condition of the drains?
The best way is to have us perform a detailed visual and Camera Inspection of the system. Our specially trained technicians will provide you with a written assessment that will include a recommendation, and a detailed quotation for any one-time and periodic maintenance requirements.
Are drain cleaning chemicals a viable alternative?
There are a wide range of products on the market designed to prevent buildup and therefore blockages in drain systems. New products come and go every week. Although some seem to be affective in helping to reduce or eliminate blockages, they certainly come at a price. Harsh chemicals can seriously damage pipes and/or the couplings used to connect the pipes.
Other products simply "liquefy" the blockage through the generation of heat and allow it to re-congeal down-stream, eventually causing an even greater problem. Some "bacteria" based products claim to "digest" waste "naturally", however, to our knowledge, no proof exists that this actually does happen - and science suggests that it cannot. Almost all of the products we have seen, if used as directed, cost quite a bit more than a proper preventative maintenance program.
As a property owner, you are responsible for what you discharge into the sewer system. Drainage and sewer systems are extremely expensive to replace or repair. If you cause a blockage down-stream or damages to the public sewer system, you can be held financially responsible. For these reasons, we cannot recommend the use of any product at this time. (For more information see: Chemical/Solvent and Biological Additives)