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The Home Depot

Drain Treatment and Inspection Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Plumbing > Drain Treatment and Inspection Guide
Drain Treatment and Inspection Guide

Drains may not be a pleasant subject or one we spend time thinking about. But when a drain becomes blocked, it can become the overriding issues at home and disrupt all other activities and routines. A clogged drain is also more than just unpleasant; it can present a major health hazard to all that live in the affected home. Conducting a drain inspection is not an easy job – most drains are either hidden in walls or are underground. Drain inspection is a job that is better left to experts. However, there are some things you can do yourself to inspect and treat drains to try to prevent problems from occurring and if they do occur, to keep the problems small enough to tackle yourself.

  1. 1.Why Drain Treatment and Inspection are Important

    A clogged drain is also more than just unpleasant; it can present a major health hazard to all that live in the affected home.

    Like all pipes, drains are subject to both internal and external damage. External damage is uncommon – it usually comes from digging or excavation as when a swimming pool is being dug. There is no inspection that can prevent this. The only preventive measure is to either be sure there are no drains where the digging is being done or to re-route the drains if the location of the digging cannot be altered. Internal damage is another matter. Internal inspection can reveal potential problems that can be attended to before they become major issues or can identify where the problem is so that quick repairs can be done.


    Internal inspection is typically done using special drain cameras. There are special waterproof video cameras with lights that small enough to fit down drain pipes. They are at the end of a long flexible tube and when inserted down a drain will send back pictures of the interior of the drain. This allows for a complete visual inspection and the location of problem areas. This is expensive equipment that requires careful handling and is managed by professionals.

  2. 2.Final Steps to this Procedure

    The drain treatment’s intention is to clear small blocks or to prevent the buildup that causes blockages of the pipes. A large number of commercial products are available. The procedure varies but in general the treatment powder or liquid is poured down the drain and allowed to rest for some time to enable it to work on the dirt and sediment. Then water is poured down the drain to flush away the now loosened deposits to clear the drain.


    If you are having problems with your drains or just want to have them inspected, and would prefer to have a professional do the job, you will find details of these drain experts online. Just make sure whomever you hire is honest and has a track record of success.

  3. 3.Drain Treatment Options

    Chemical drain treatments are by far the most common and first choice of homeowners. These may be either acidic or alkaline and use chemical reactions to dissolve sediment that has collected in the drains. Care must be taken when using these are they are corrosive in nature and may release dangerous gasses as they act. If you are using these ensure that you wear protective clothing and masks and goggles.


    There are also Enzymatic drain treatments which are intended for preventive maintenance to maintain the flow through the pipes by keeping the walls free from buildup. Because they are enzyme based they are less dangerous to use as compared to alkaline and acidic treatments.


    Hand held drain augers or snakes are also commonly used for treatments but because they require some skill to use, are not generally favored by homeowners. They can be used to treat blockages at up to a distance of 25 feet from the opening where they are inserted. Electric drain cleaners or Plumber’s Augers are similar to the hand held ones but because they are riven by a powerful electric motor, they can reach clogs up to a distance of 240 feet. In other words, they can easily handle your home’s drainage problems.

  5. 4.Air & Water

    A sewer jetter uses a high pressure flow of water to force open blockages and flush out the debris. An air burst drain cleaner operates in a similar manner but uses compressed air or gas to blow away the clog in the pipes. The advantages of both these options are that there are no mechanical device or chemical inserted into the pies which could cause internal damage to the pipes.

  6. 5.Don’t Ignore Your Drain(s)

    A little care and preventive treatment can save you from major drain repairs and hefty expenses.

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