21 January A sink filled with water

Drain Cleaning vs Drain Clearing: What’s the Difference?

Posted by PlumbWize

Anyone who has ever lived in a home or property long-term is bound to have experienced a clogged drain at some point. This is a common plumbing problem for kitchen sinks, shower drains, and other types of drains where grease, hair, and debris pass through.  

When talking about drain cleaning vs drain clearing, it’s easy to mix the two terms up. Not only do they sound alike, but they also have the same immediate goal—which is to re-establish the flow of water down the drain. 

However, the degree of thoroughness is the main difference between drain cleaning and drain clearing.  

In this article, we explore the differences, pros, and cons of drain cleaning vs drain clearing to help you find the best solution for your specific situation. 

Let’s begin!

What Is Drain Clearing?

The Process

Drain clearing involves the removal (or clearing away) of problematic clogs in the drain so that water can flow again. 

The Equipment

Mainly, plumbers use professional-grade, motorized drain snakes or drain augers for clearing drains. In the hands of a skilled plumber, these tools are 100% safe for various kinds of drains. Typically, plumbers will not resort to harsh chemicals to get rid of a clog because they can cause damage to the pipes.  

If the clog in the drain is persistent or difficult to trace, plumbers may also use video inspection equipment or a drain camera to diagnose the plumbing problem effectively.  

A plumber using a drain camera to assist in drain clearing

What Is Drain Cleaning?

The Process

Drain cleaning is relatively a more thorough process. The goal of drain cleaning is not just to remove problematic clogs but also to restore the pipes to an almost-like-new condition. When a professional plumber does drain cleaning, they are able to remove the trace debris, grease, hair, dirt, grime, or mineral deposits accumulating on the drain’s walls. Keep in mind that this is not a “DIY” process

Essentially, the thoroughness of the drain cleaning process reduces the chance of clogs forming in the near future. This is why drain cleaning is seen as a more long-term solution that’s fit for both homeowners and businesses alike.  

The Equipment

The equipment used by skilled plumbers for drain cleaning is the hydro-jetting machine. This machine is able to release pressurized hot water to clean the pipes thoroughly. It’s important to note that this high-powered, heat-delivering equipment is only safe in the hands of an experienced plumber who is trained for the job.

Oftentimes, drain cleaning is also assisted by video inspection equipment or a drain camera in order to ensure that the drain is fully cleaned.  

Drain Cleaning vs Drain Clearing: Pros and Cons

Drain Cleaning

Pros of Drain CleaningCons of Drain Cleaning
  • A more thorough process
  • Is able to restore the drain to an almost-like-new condition
  • A more long-term solution that prevents drain clogs in the near future
  • The machine used for hydro-jetting is powerful (i.e. can cut through tree roots) and can thus be hazardous to nearby people when not used by a professional
  • Drain cleaning typically costs more than drain clearing

Drain Clearing

Pros of Drain ClearingCons of Drain Clearing
  • Costs less than drain cleaning
  • A good option for a more short-term fix
  • Considered as the best-value solution for new plumbing fixtures that do not have extensive debris, grime, grease, or dirt build-up
  • Removes problematic clogs, but residue may still be left in the pipes
  • Does not prevent clogs in the future

Drain Cleaning vs Drain Clearing: Which One Is for You?

If you’ve weighed the pros and cons of drain cleaning vs drain clearing and you’re still uncertain which solution is best for you, here are a few other factors to consider: 

1. The Age of Your Plumbing System

Old drains tend to clog more easily. This may be because of the layers of grime, grease, mineral deposits, hair, and other debris that have collected over the years. For this reason, drain cleaning is highly recommended for older properties. However, for newer properties that rarely have clogged drains, drain clearing may be the best solution for one-off clogging issues. 

2. The Last Time the Drains Were Cleaned

On average, it is recommended that drain cleaning is done every two years. If it’s been more than two years since the last time your drains were cleaned, then drain cleaning may be the best option for you. 

3. Mineral Deposits in Your Drain (From Hard Water)

Mineral deposits typically form in areas that have hard water. These deposits can get stuck along the sides of your drain, slowly building up and reducing the circumference of your drain. If you think this could be the cause of your recurring drain problems, it would be best to talk to an experienced plumber to deal with the mineral deposits before they become more problematic.  

4. Drain Usage

Typically, drains in commercial establishments are under more frequent use and may consequently form clogs more easily. In this case, frequent plumbing procedures done on commercial drains may disrupt workflow. This is why drain cleaning is recommended for drains in commercial properties.

The same can be said for residential properties that have a higher number of residents. Essentially, the more frequent the drain usage is, the more that drain cleaning is recommended.   

A professional plumber carrying out drain cleaning services

Who Can I Contact for Drain Clearing or Drain Cleaning Services?

That wraps up our guide on everything you need to know about drain clearing and drain cleaning. If you’re dealing with a stubborn or persistent clog in your property’s drains, we’re here to solve it for you. 

At PlumbWize, we deliver top-notch services for both residential and commercial plumbing needs. You can count on our experienced plumbers and up-to-date methods to ensure long-lasting results. In case you are faced with a plumbing emergency, we also offer 24/7 emergency plumbing for the cities we service

If you have further questions about what we can do for you, contact us today!


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