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Clearing Drain Clogs

Clogged drains are inconvenient and frustrating. We can help! 

Read to understand the difference between a clogged bathtub drain, or a clogged sink drain compared to a main drain clog. 

Read to understand the best way to clear your drains, and maintain your drains. Follow our advice to avoid that clogged shower drain, and prevent drain clogs. 

If you need a service call, our technicians will provide advice to best maintain your plumbing.

How do I know if my drain is blocked?


Your drain is clogged when water can no longer drain or if draining takes a long time. 



 A slow-draining bathtub, shower, or sink is a sign you have a clog. Typically, the clog builds over time and draining will take longer and longer as the clog grows.

A clog in your drain is different than a blockage in your main sewer line. 

A main sewer line clog is a more serious problem. Your main sewer line is the pipeline that connects all of your drains to the city sewer system. You will know if you have a clog in your main drain because the wastewater will begin to return back to your home in the drains on the lowest level of your house. 

A blockage in the main drain or main sewer line is a more serious problem compared to clogging in a sink, bathtub, or shower drain.

The main drain is several inches in diameter larger than an interior drain pipe. A clog in the main sewer line or main drain would be larger in size. 


If the main drain was clogged it would require a camera inspection and more work to unclog.

Most often a clog in the main drain is a result of a problem with the main drain. Problems could include a crack, pipe belly, pipe misalignment, or leak. Roots growing into the sewer line are another major cause of main sewer line clogs.


The main sewer line (or main drain) is buried deep beneath the ground, therefore it is harder to access to make repairs compared to a drain in your home.


A clog in the main sewer line will eventually result in a sewer backup. A backup is when the waste will return back to the home from the main sewer line. In Edmonton, most likely that will be somewhere in your basement. The waste will enter the lowest point, usually a basement drain or basement tub or shower. 


Schedule an annual camera inspection on your main sewer line. A camera inspection will let you know if a clog is forming in the sewer line. A camera inspection will let you know if your pipes are in good working order or need repair. 


Causes of clogged drains?


Clogged drains are often clogged from everyday use. The following are common drain clog causes in various drains in your home. 


Shower and Bathtub Drain Clog Causes


Showers and clogged drains are often caused by soap scum and hair. 


Soap scum is created when hard water reacts with soap. The soap contains anionic surfactants that react with dissolved minerals, magnesium, and calcium in the hard water. The result is a white substance that won’t dissolve in water. 


Soap scum leaves a film on your bathtub, shower, or sink but did you know it also builds up in your drain. 


Hair is one of the biggest drain clog culprits. Hair can collect in your drain, and as soap scum moves through the drains it can create a net to catch soap scum or anything else. The hair gives the clog a form and it continues to grow until the clog is removed.


Soap, similar to grease can build up in your drain and contribute to a drain clog. Soap scum, as mentioned earlier, is created when the calcium or magnesium in hard water reacts to the soap. The soap scum created from hard water does not dissolve in water and will adhere to the inside of a drain or a clog. 


Edmonton’s water is not as hard as Calgary’s water.


Many cities and towns in Alberta have hard water.  A water softener can help reduce soap scum. https://www.aquatell.ca/pages/water-hardness-level-city-alberta


What is the best way to clean drains?


A clog in the main sewer line can be removed with an auger. If the sewer line is not backing up, a hydro jet can also clean out the main sewer line. The main sewer line is a much bigger process to clean out and remove clogs.


A clog in a sink, tub, or shower drain, however, can be cleaned in several different ways. 


Can I snake my own drain?


Manually removing the clog, is ideal. Try using a Zip It, or an unravelled clothes hanger to remove the clog. Depending on where the clog is and the type of clog, this might work.


A small hand auger, or snake, is another option. The auger is put down the drain and can travel several feet through the drain pipe. At the end is a hook that can pull a clog out or possibly drill through it. 


Call A Plumber

These two options might work on minor clogs. If not, please call a plumbing technician to help you. They will be able to remove a clog, particularly a clog that is far into the pipe. Scopes and power augers can be used to access the problem and clear the clog. They will be able to tell you the source of the problem and ensure your plumbing is in good working order. 

What drain cleaner Do plumbers recommend?



A bacterial cleaner will actively break down the organic matter that collects in your drain. A bacterial cleaner introduces active bacteria into your plumbing system. Once the bacteria are established in your drain they can break down waste that lingers in the drain pipes. This is the best way to treat and prevent clogs. It is safe for your drain pipes, and it reduces the odours caused by waste and clogs. 

An active bacteria bacterial cleaner needs to be reintroduced regularly to the plumbing lines. Once the bacteria are established in the pipe, the bacterial cleaner can be used less frequently.


If you have a septic tank, bacterial cleaners, such as BioOne are also effective in breaking down waste in your septic tank. 

Don’t Use Liquid Drain Cleaner (h3)

Please don’t use a caustic liquid drain cleaner!


Drain cleaner may or may not break down the clog, but in the process, it can do major damage to your drain pipes. This is especially true if you have older cast iron drain pipes. 


Furthermore, if you are using a bacterial cleaner, drain cleaner and other corrosive products may kill the active bacteria established in your drain system. 


How often should you clean your drain pipes? (h2) 

It is recommended that you should have your main sewer line inspected every year. If there are issues, maintenance or repairs may be required. If there is a problem with your main sewer line, in time the consequences are catastrophic. 


Drains in your home require maintenance, depending on use. If clogs build up regularly, consider using a plumber to unclog your drains once a year. 


If your household is careful about what they are putting down the drain, and you are using an active bacteria cleaner, plumber visits will be less frequent. 


Each time we visit your home we will perform an entire home inspection. This is an opportunity to report any issues you may have and we can provide suggestions for maintenance. 

If you join our membership, The Gentlemen’s Promise, we will provide you with a free complimentary main sewer line inspection each year. We also give our members priority service and a discount on some services.


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