Sanitary sewer lines and drain pipes have been around for hundreds of years in one form or another. It's hard to believe, though, that until the last century or so, fixing even a simple clog in a sewer drain was a major project that could require many hours of digging, locating and labor.
Today, thanks to modern technology, plumbers and drain cleaners are able to locate and fix clogs and breakages quickly and easily, sometimes without even having to excavate the pipes themselves. Drain video cameras and locating devices, sewer snake augers and high-pressure water jetting systems have made professional drain cleaning a vital and affordable option for home and business owners.
Drain video cameras are a recent innovation in sewer cleaning technology that allow plumbers to see the inside of your pipes without excavating. A small camera located at the end on a flexible cable is pushed through the drain, and an image is sent to an attached closed-circuit television unit. Experienced drain cleaners are able to ascertain a lot of information using this method, including where a clog or break is located, what is necessary to fix it, and what a drain or pipe is constructed of.
If it is determined that tree roots are the cause of your drain clog (a common problem in older clay tile drains), then the problem can usually be repaired quickly and simply using a drain snake auger. Drain snakes rotate a powerful auger at the end of a metal cable that cuts away obstructions and allows water to flow freely through the drain again. Drain snake augers have been around for nearly a hundred years, and they still operate on the same basic principle today.
If a drain clog is especially difficult, including built-up grease, grit and debris that won't respond to a drain snake auger, then high-pressure water jetting may be in order. High-pressure water jetting systems are sophisticated pieces of equipment that blast grease and clogs out of drains and can often make your sewer pipes look like new again. This is a more expensive option, but is often a must if your drains are severely clogged.
The key to reaping the benefits of modern technology and keeping your drains functional is regular drain cleaning and servicing. If you've faced clogged drains in the past, then in all likelihood they will clog again in the future. By scheduling yearly inspections and drain cleanings, you can actually save time and money by preventing a more serious problem from developing.