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What Are the Differences Between Drain Clearing & Cleaning?

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Lanz technician using a hydro jetter on sewer line

Drain Clearing vs Cleaning: Key Differences You Need to Know

It’s a common scenario home and business owners face: taking advantage of a “sewer clearing special” only to find that the problem is much worse and much more expensive than expected. What starts as an advertised straightforward service turns into add-ons, days of work, and complicating factors that could have been avoided. So how can you avoid unnecessary upsells and get the service you need to restore your sewers and drains? At Lanz, Inc., we believe that informed decisions start with education. Our experts are here to help you understand the key differences between drain cleaning and drain clearing so you can cut through the noise and work with an honest team to get things moving again.

Understanding Drain Clearing

Drain clearing is a common phrase used to advertise services that remove blockages like tree roots and clogs. In some cases, though, this term can be misleading. You may schedule drain clearing expecting your water to be fully restored, only to find that the service advertised doesn’t fit the situation. After a camera inspection, a technician may find tree roots, cracks in the lines, and other extensive problems that snowball into expensive fixes.

Drain clearing can get water flowing again by dislodging roots that are blocking the line. However, this service does not necessarily address the source of the problem. Depending on the state of the sewer lines and the extent of the problem, it may be recommended to replace or repair the lines or implement more aggressive clearing methods.

Understanding Drain Cleaning

Drain cleaning is sometimes used interchangeably with drain clearing, though cleaning is a service that restores water flow and treats the source of the problem. Tree roots are cleared and blockages are broken up to offer a more long-term solution to clogs.

The Importance of Camera Inspections

Sewer and drain camera inspections are used for both drain clearing and cleaning to assess the state of the pipes, the extent and location of the problem, and to help technicians decide the best strategy to restore water flow. This technology is invaluable in achieving accurate results. Without a visual inspection of the line, many factors would be left to guesswork.

During and/or after service, the technician should keep you informed of their camera findings. At Lanz, we recommend always seeing the problem for yourself to make informed decisions for your property.

Tackling Sewer Blockages

Sewer blockages have three main causes:

Commercial-grade sewer jetters are used to dislodge, break up, and flush blockages. In the case of broken equipment, it may be necessary to use trenchless methods to access and repair or replace the line.

The jetter is a high-pressure hose, not dissimilar from what you might use to wash your house or sidewalk. It may not seem technologically advanced, but it is extremely effective in drain cleaning. There is typically a front jet on the jetter that hits the initial blockage to get through it. Eventually, the jetter reaches the final clog and the water can pass through. There are also heads that cut tree roots on the jetter that are used with a camera inspection to see the root mass and make sure it’s being cleared.

When to Schedule Sewer & Drain Cleaning

Unless your property has plastic pipes, annual cleaning is the way to go. We recommend scheduling cleaning around Halloween to ensure the lines are clear through the holiday season.

The rate at which tree roots can cause backup will also depend on the size of the line. 4-inch lines that come in 4-foot sections can back up annually, creating root masses at every connection. For 6-inch lines that come in 2-foot sections, it may take several years for the roots to cause a noticeable blockage. When the roots cause a problem, though, it will be more significant and harder to clear than in 4-inch lines.

Staying on top of annual drain cleaning is the easiest way to prevent root growth that can go undetected until there’s a massive obstruction. It may be recommended to have lines inspected every six months, depending on factors like cracks.

Scheduling the Right Service for Your Needs

Dealing with drain and sewer blockages can be frustrating. When you’re looking for a service provider, the last thing you want to deal with is getting less than what you thought you were paying for. The best way to ensure you have the right service is to ask questions upfront.

Take the time to understand the offering and the fine print of any specials so you can avoid unwanted upsells and surprises. Ask about the experience and training of the technicians. Ask to see the camera inspection. Utilize our experts’ recommendations to ensure you know exactly what service is being offered.

The Lanz Difference

At Lanz, we abide by a “Do It Right” philosophy. We don’t hide behind confusing promises just to get our foot in the door. We offer straightforward communication and pricing from the moment you call our team.

What sets us apart: 

Schedule Your Drain Cleaning Today!

We’re proud to be the trusted choice for sewer and drain solutions in the Champaign, IL, area. Whether you’ve never scheduled drain cleaning or are ready for an annual inspection, our team is here to help. Call 217-394-1380 today or contact us online to schedule your drain cleaning and free camera inspection today!

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