Expert Plumbing and Drain Cleaning Tips to Protect Your Home 

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Serving the Greater Seattle Area

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Most people take the plumbing and drain systems of a home for granted. They don’t think about how drainage and plumbing work with the side sewer until there is a backup. Fortunately, the techs at Bob Oates Sewer and Rooter have you covered with these expert plumbing and drain cleaning tips.

In this post, we’ll also provide advice on when it’s time to call in the professionals. Read on!

What Does a Plumbing, Drain Cleaning Service Provide?

The short answer? Peace of mind. For example, the knowledge that your sinks won’t overflow, toilets clog, or that your basement won’t be flooded during the rainstorms that occur here in the Pacific Northwest.

The basic cleaning of any drain or sewer will start with a cable machine. At Bob Oates, always use big blades to cut out tree roots and smaller blades to cut thru grease and or muck stoppages in kitchen sink, laundry and bathtub lines. Laundry soap and lint are the biggest problems in the laundry room and hair is the #1 culprit in slow draining bathtubs.

Drain cleaning services are crucial in keeping your pipes free from clogs and ensuring seamless water flow. Who wants to take a shower in standing water only to have to wait for the water to go down so you can clean the ring around the tub?  It’s always best to call at the first sign of a slow drain. This will prevent an emergency plumbing service call, the higher costs associated with doing so, and the inevitable cleanup of a much larger mess.

Plumbing and drain cleaning processes involve removing debris, grease, tree roots and other accumulated substances that can obstruct the lines over time. This can be accomplished with mechanical cutting blades or water jetting.

Bottom line: it’s always best to be proactive about drain cleaning, not reactive.

Signs That Your Home Needs a Plumbing and Drain Cleaning Specialist

How will you know that your home needs a sewer or drain cleaning? As it turns out, your house will tell you exactly when to call the professionals.

We recommend monitoring the following indicators if you suspect your plumbing system is struggling.

Slow Draining Sinks

One of the first signs that your plumbing system might need a thorough drain cleaning is slow-draining sinks, bathtubs, laundry sinks or basement floor drains. If you find water is taking too long to disappear down the drain, it’s likely that a buildup of soap scum, hair, or grease is hindering the flow. Or worse, tree roots on your property are growing back and need a haircut!

Frequent Toilet Overflows

Toilet overflows are inconvenient and a clear indicator of a potential plumbing issue. If you find yourself plunging the toilet more frequently than usual, it’s time to consider calling a drain cleaning plumber to fix the problem.

Sometimes a toilet won’t stop refilling the water, or starts and stops repeatedly. This is likely something you may be able to handle yourself — we’ve posted a detailed article on how you can easily fix a toilet that keeps running.

Most other common toilet problems, however, are objects or toys in the trapway or too much paper in the bowl. A plumber’s helper or plunger (as we call it today) can help with most waste or paper problems. But stubborn recurrences may require calling in a trusted plumber to get the job done right — someone who will fix it fast and always guarantees their work.

Water Backs Up

Water backing up in showers, basement toilets or floor drains is a red flag for a clogged sewer or drain. This problem occurs when a blockage in the main sewer line causes water to take the path of least resistance. Unfortunately, that might lead right back into your home. Prompt attention to this severe drain clearing issue can prevent extensive damage to your plumbing system and home.

Bad Smells

Unpleasant odors emanating from your drains are a nuisance and a sign of potential problems. Accumulated debris and bacteria can produce foul smells that permeate through your home. Professional plumbing and drain cleaning can eliminate these odors, leaving your home sanitary and smelling fresh.

Common Methods of Plumbing and Drain Cleaning

So, what is drain cleaning, and how does a drain cleaner work? The answer to these questions depends upon the drain cleaning solution selected by your plumbing professional.

At Bob Oates, we use a standard cabling machine. For more stubborn problems, water jetting can succeed where cables fail. We also offer permanent solutions to chronic homeowner sewer and drainage problems. Like bellies or tree root damaged pipes or simple old and worn out concrete pipes.

Call us for a free evaluation of your current system or set up a sewer line inspection and we’ll happily discuss what solutions will work best for you. Just because your sewer is underground and out of sight is no reason to neglect the most important drainage pipe for your home.


Cabling, also known as snaking or augering, is a standard method plumbers use to clear blockages. A flexible cable is inserted into the drain, equipped with a cutting head. We have different sized blades that break up or cut out obstructions. This method is effective for removing more minor clogs and tree root infiltration.

Hydro Jetting

Hydro jetting is a more advanced technique that utilizes high-pressure water to clear out clogs and debris. A specialized nozzle releases a powerful stream of water into the pipes. This flushes away accumulated substances and restoring the lines to their optimal condition.

Hydro jetting is particularly effective for more stubborn clogs and thoroughly cleans the entire pipe. This method is highly effective in removing stubborn tree roots and clearing muck from sewer bellies. It is also effective when cleaning a longer line that a standard cable can’t reach. In some cases a cleanout is only 3½” to 4” in diameter but will become a larger 6” pipe once it leaves the home and joins with a neighbor or enters the right of way.

Benefits of Regular Drain Cleaning

The most significant benefit of drain cleaning is that our professional technicians resolve any standing water issues, and get the drains to work, flowing correctly again. But these services can do more than just restore function. They can save you money in the long run. Tree roots, if not removed, flushed out or cut out on a yearly basis will continue to grow and damage your pipe sometimes beyond repair and then an emergency replacement would need to be performed. This can be an unexpected cost and can be prevented.

Improved Drain Performance

The most immediate benefit of drain cleaning is performance improvement. Removing obstructions and buildup allows water to flow freely through the pipes, reducing the likelihood of slow drains and backups. Remembering to be proactive as opposed to reactive saves you time and money — preventive maintenance is always the way to go!

Prevention of Costly Repairs

By investing in routine drain/sewer cleaning, you can avoid costly repairs and extend the lifespan of your drainage system. The most common thing you need to do if you know or suspect roots are growing is to clean the sewer on a yearly basis. Or at least put a camera down the line to inspect the pipe. Most sewer pipes in the greater Seattle area are nearing 100 years old, which is way past their life expectancy given by the manufacturer all those many years ago.

Getting an estimate today and planning a sewer repair or replacement can be done on your time from a company trust. The alternative? Should something stop working correctly, it could become an emergency. This may result in the complete shutdown of your sewer when you least expect it.

Increased Lifespan of Your Plumbing System

On smaller interior drains a well-maintained plumbing system is likely to have a longer lifespan. Regular drain cleaning removes the factors contributing to wear and tear on pipes, preserving their integrity and functionality over time. Proactive maintenance saves you money in the long run and ensures a reliable plumbing system for years to come. This would be recommended for known trouble areas like your kitchen sink and bathtubs which incur the most build up of debris.

Handle Your Plumbing and Drain Cleaning With Bob Oates

While some homeowners are comfortable with DIY solutions and proactive steps, — and we’re always ready to provide helpful tips for those that do! — for some plumbing and drain cleaning jobs, it’s often best to let the professionals handle it.

Bob Oates Sewer and Rooter is a trusted name in the Pacific Northwest. We’re here to keep your plumbing system in top-notch condition. With our experienced team and state-of-the-art equipment, we ensure thorough and effective drain cleaning and rooter services, addressing issues before they escalate.

Plumbing and drain cleaning is a vital aspect of home maintenance that should not be overlooked. Recognizing the signs of a clogged drain, understanding standard cleaning methods, and appreciating the benefits of regular maintenance can help you keep your plumbing system running smoothly.

By entrusting the task to professionals like Bob Oates, you can ensure the longevity and efficiency of your home’s plumbing infrastructure. Contact us today to learn how we can help keep your home safe and worry-free!

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Serving the Greater Seattle Area