Here's the second part of "Drain Cleaning Requires the Right Tools in the Right Situation". Here's where we dive into clearing a sewer line issue specifically and going beyond "cabling" the line.
Sewer Camera Inspections
When cabling a line, the technician will usually want to run a sewer camera down the drain, whether they are successful in cleaning the drain or not. If the drain clog is caused by roots for instance, the blade may be able to cut up the roots and clear the way (thus, providing the name for "Rooter" companies like us, "Aardvark Rooter"), but there is then the underlying issue of how they are getting into the line. A sewer camera inspection will let you know EXACTLY what is going on in your main sewer line and will help you plan for a repair, a replacement, or at least a regular drain cleaning schedule to keep your drain line flowing. Some back-ups are caused by offsets or separations in the pipes---this would call for a “spot repair”.
It seems like added expense, but this is the BEST time to have a sewer camera inspection done. You will be able to look at the line yourself and most companies leave you with a DVD (memory sticks or Youtube access are also used) to refer back to later on. Plus, there is a benefit to having this done by a technician who clears clogs for a living, as opposed to the home inspection companies who offer this service and really don't understand much about plumbing and drains comparatively. General home inspectors also cannot determine the depth of a repair spot because they aren’t equipped with locating devices.
Hydro jetting is another great way to clear your sewer lines. There is some overlap between cabling and jetting the line. Some of the difference is in cost and some is in performance. The high powered water at the nozzle of a hydro-jetting machine can clear almost any clog from your drain line.
There are but a few instances where you'd choose cabling over jetting. The reason lines are usually cabled is because the charge for jetting is usually higher. Companies like ours try to do the least costly option first in order to save you money. Jetting machines have different nozzles for "pushing" or "pulling" material in the main drain line, and the sheer power of the water pressure can break apart hard material, like tree roots, as effectively or MORE effectively than cabling blades. In fact, there are nozzles that are specifically designed to cut tree roots!
So, it's the most powerful option, and it's even more necessary if your clogging issue is caused by grease or gunk that needs to be truly cleared from the line, as opposed to being broken up by a cabling. In many cases, it's worth the cost for your peace of mind to go ahead and have your lines jetted and then followed with a sewer camera inspection.
Here's hoping that these tips and complete walk-through of the drain clog and cleaning process helps you understand your system better. We, at Aardvark Rooter, love to be a resource for folks out there, and love even more the opportunity to help customers directly. Please, if you live in the South King County or Pierce County areas, call us up and see what we can do for you and ANY of your drain stoppage issues. We not only know what we're doing, but we do it as economically as anyone around.