Choose A Suitable Drain Cleaning Bladder
If you start trying to clear a clog with the wrong drain cleaning bladder, you could end up causing a bigger mess, so take a look at the size of the pipes and choose an appropriate bladder.
The Spruce / Kevin Norris
Tips For Using A Drain Bladder
Drain bladders are incredibly easy to use. Once youve acquired the properly sized drain bladder for your clogged pipe, take the following steps to blast away the clog:
Connect your drain bladder to a water hose, and connect that hose to a water faucet.
Insert the drain bladder at least six inches into the clogged pipe.
Slowly turn on the water and allow the bladder to expand as the water pressure builds.
Keep the water running for a minute or two, or until you see the drain is cleared.
Inspect the drain to ensure the clog has cleared. If not, repeat the first four steps until you are successful.
Shut the water off and wait for the bladder to deflate. Remove the bladder from the drain and disconnect the drain bladder from the water hose.
If the drain fails to clear after several attempts, try another drain clearing tool or consider contacting a professional plumber.
What Questions Should I Ask The Local Pros Who Contact Me
Here are some examples of important question that will help you assess each of the plumbers who will contact you and their offering:
- Will you be working on my job yourself or will it be one of your employees?
- Do you have liability insurance and Workers Compensation Board coverage?
- How long have you been working as a plumber?
- How and when will I be required to pay for the work?
- Do you have any references you can provide me with?
- Will you provide a written contract that specifies exactly the Plumbing Services you will provide?
Have additional questions? Read our FAQs.
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When Do You Need To Use This Device
Drain snakes are often capable of punching a hole through sludgy material stuck inside an indoor or outdoor drain. However, they may only clear out a small section in the middle of the drain and leave behind plenty of clog-producing material on the drain walls. A drain-cleaning bladder is an excellent follow-up option in these kinds of situations. The water pressure produced by a bladder can scour away the material left in place by a drain snake. In some cases, you may want to snake the drain again after using a blow bag to ensure complete clog removal.
Reconnect The Plumbing And Clean Up
Once the clog has been cleared you can reconnect the plumbing and begin to clean up. Remember to disconnect the garden hose and reinstall the sink aerator, if applicable. The drain cleaning bladder will also need to be washed to remove any remaining waste, then it should be left to dry. Clean up the towels, rags, cloths, and any buckets to finish the job.
The Spruce / Kevin Norris
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Should I Do The Plumbing Repairs Myself
Sometimes, hiring an experienced plumber isnt just preferable its necessary. Some of the more complex household plumbing jobs require specialized equipment, professional experience, or both, and attempting to take on a job without either can make problems worse. DIY is great if you want to learn new skills and have the time to do it. But if you dont have the time or simply want help, hiring a licensed, experienced Plumbing Services Local Pro can make your life easier.
A Bladder Can Potentially Damage Your Drain Lines
In some cases, a properly used drain-cleaning bladder may simply fail to clear a heavy clog. If this happens, the pressure generated by the stream of water must go somewhere. Unfortunately, this somewhere may be the joints of your drain line, especially if those joints are already weak. If the water doesnt force itself through the drain line joints, it may shoot back up the line toward you .
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Learn How A Drain Bladder Can Easily And Inexpensively Blast Away The Toughest Clogs
The drain bladder is one of the greatest unsung heroes of every plumbers arsenal. Theyre capable of clearing the most stubborn drain clogs, even after all other methods have failed. Along with being highly effective, theyre also inexpensive and easy to use plumbing products. Read on to discover why you should consider a drain bladder for your next clog before resorting to more difficult methods or .
A Bladder Can Burst If Subjected To Too Much Water Pressure
All drain-cleaning bladders have a maximum safe water pressure. If you fill a bladder past this point, it can burst. Before you begin, you must know the pressure specifications of the product you intend to use, as well as the water pressure inside your building. If the pressure in your home or workplace is too high, you can reduce it to acceptable levels if the buildings plumbing system is outfitted with a water pressure regulator.
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Disconnect The Existing Plumbing
Drain cleaning bladders work best when they have direct access to the clog, though this isn’t always possible. Locate the closest possible area where you could disconnect the plumbing without causing damage. For example, if the clog is in the drainage pipe running from the kitchen sink, then disconnect the slip nuts on the P-trap and the trap arm to access the drain line directly.
Some professionals state that you can insert a drain cleaning bladder directly into the sink drain. In fact, there are drain cleaning bladder kits that come with a sink crossbar adapter for use on kitchen sinks. However, this method can also cause damage to the sink, the P-trap, and the trap arm, so proceed with caution if you choose to insert the bladder directly into the sink drain.
The Spruce / Kevin Norris
Buying A Drain Bladder
Drain bladders are available in small, medium and large sizes to fit inside any household drain pipe. Small drain bladders can be used on one- to two-inch-diameter drain pipes, medium drain bladders are made for 1-1/2- to three-inch pipes and large drain bladders are designed for three- to six-inch drains.
Because 1-1/2- and two-inch sink and shower drains are the most likely to clog, a small or medium-sized drain bladder is a good general-purpose option that should handle the majority of your clogs. A large drain bladder can be used if your clog is in the three- to four-inch main sewer or septic lines.
You can purchase drain bladders individually when the need arises, or you grab a combo pack with all the sizes you could need to be ready for whatever comes up . Each size will cost between $10 to $20 apiece. Or you can buy a drain bladder kit with different sizes and accessories.
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What Is A Drain Cleaning Bladder
Drain cleaning bladders are not well-known tools, but they are incredibly effective at clearing clogs when they are used correctly. These tools are made up of a heavy-duty bag or balloon that is capable of expanding when it’s filled with water and releasing the water at a high pressure to clear clogs. One end of the drain cleaning bladder has a garden hose fitting so that users can connect a garden hose directly to the drain cleaning bladder to filler the balloon. The other end has a narrow hole or can sometimes have an external spout to help throttle the water and increase the pressure of the spray.
These tools come in three sizes. Small bladders are used for 1-inch and 2-inch pipes, medium bladders are made for 1.5-inch to 3-inch pipes, and large bladders are designed for 3-inch to 6-inch pipes. They are most commonly used outdoors, on piping outside the home, such as yard drains.
Turn On The Cold Water
With the drain cleaning bladder in place, you can start to slowly turn on the cold water. Make sure that you are using cold water, because hot water can cause damage to the bladder. Allow the bladder to fill and expand as the pressure inside the balloon builds.
It’s advised to stand to the side of the drain opening while the drain cleaning bladder is in use because in some cases the water can backflow out of the drain and splash the user, or the drain bladder can burst under pressure.
The Spruce / Kevin Norris
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What Is A Drain
Essentially, a drain-cleaning bladder is an expansion balloon made from heavy-duty rubber. A standard metal hose attachment sits at one end of the bladder. At the other end sits a component called a pressure-sensitive valve release. When the flow of water expands the bladder past a certain point, a buildup of pressure will push this valve open and release a powerful stream of water. It is this stream that provides the force required to clean heavy drain clogs. You can find drain-cleaning bladders in a range of sizes. Just match the size you buy to the diameter of your clogged drain.
How Drains Become Clogged
Each drain in your home has the potential to become blocked through normal use. Blockages occur most frequently in the kitchen sink and in the bath tub, but can occur in the washing machine or toilet. Grease and food particles are the most common cause of blocked drains in the kitchen.
Grease can solidify in the drain and cause small particles of food to become stuck in the drain. In the bath tub, hair is very commonly the cause of blocked drains while paper waster is the culprit behind a blocked toilet drain.
The washing machine drain can become blocked from several causes. Washing clothing that is very dirty, such as muddy kids clothes, or the lint from regular use can build up and block the drain pipe that empties the washer. There are specific sizes of drain cleaning bladders for each of these drains.
After you have determined where the pipes are clogged, you will need to insert the drain cleaning bladder anywhere from six inches to several feet into the pipe. If you are working to clear a sewer line, you may need to open the line to insert the bladder.
In general, a drain cleaning bladder will work on a portion of blockages and won’t work on others. The size of the blockage and the type of blockage will have a big impact on whether or not water pressure is enough to remove the debris that is causing water to back up. Seeking professional assistance is the best option when you aren’t sure why your drain is blocked.
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How Can I Prevent Flooding In My Basement
Being responsible about which items you put down your drains is the best way to avoid problems in your homes plumbing. If you experience a leak or a flood, installing a water alarm near your water sources is a good way either to prevent flooding, or at least catch it early.
In areas with a higher risk of storm drain flooding and sewage backups, consider getting a sump pump installed to help prevent floods and backups in your basement.
What Is A Drain Bladder
Drain bladders are heavy-duty rubber expansion balloons that inject pressurized water into clogged plumbing drains. One end is connected to a standard garden or water hose, and the other end is inserted into the clogged drain.
Once the water is turned on, the bladder builds up water pressure as it expands like a water balloon inside the drain. After the bladder has fully expanded to encompass the entire diameter of the drain, it shoots the pressurized water down the drain until the clog has cleared.
Drain bladders are so effective and easy to operate that they can be used on everything from clogged kitchen sinks to heavy clogs from grease or compacted toilet paper that chemicals, drain snakes and plungers cant bust through. Drain bladders are also less messy than other drain cleaning methods . Although some residual drain waste material may cling to the drain bladder after use, its often minimal because you dont have to insert the bladder as deeply into the drain.
While a drain bladder can be safely and effectively used in any type of drain pipe , its possible the pressurized water emitted from the drain bladder can break fragile pipes. Cast-iron and PVC pipes that are old, brittle or have existing cracks are prone to rupturing under high water pressure, especially when attempting to clear a heavy clog. Its not recommended to use drain bladders on old drains of questionable quality.
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Finding Help For Clogged Drains
One of the benefits of choosing to seek professional plumbing assistance is that your plumber will be able to identify the cause of the problem and choose the right solution quickly. A professional plumber is a particularly good choice if your drain is blocked farther than a couple of feet into the pipe or when the outside lines are blocked rather than a simple drain clog.
For example, when a sewer line is clogged it may be necessary to use a drain camera or sewer camera to find the source of the problem. High pressure water jetters and sewer snakes or even digging up the pipe may be necessary. This is far beyond the capabilities of a drain cleaning bladder.
Blocked drains are a nuisance and can become a health hazard if not fixed. A drain cleaning bladder may help is some situations, but If you have a clogged drain in the workplace, a professional can solve the problem within a short time, ensuring your employees will be able to get back to work quickly and in a safe working environment.
Restaurants, condos and retail buildings will most likely have a professional plumber or maintenance company to handle these issues. A professional plumber can also give you tips on pipe maintenance and how to keep your pipes clean and free of clogs over time.
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Connect The Garden Hose
One end of the drain cleaning bladder has a male hose attachment that can be used to connect a garden hose directly to the bladder. Typically you can hand tighten the garden hose, though if you want a snug fit to avoid any leaks, then it’s advised to use a set of channel locks.
Run the hose to an outdoor faucet or to a nearby sink faucet. If you need to run the hose outdoors, make sure that you have a second person to operate the faucet, or that you have a hose valve nearby, so you can control the water.
If you are connecting the garden hose to a sink faucet, you will likely need to remove the aerator with a set of channel locks in order to access the threads on the faucet.
Connect the hose and tighten it with channel locks to prevent leaks. Just don’t overtighten the hose and damage the fixture.
The Spruce / Kevin Norris
Clear Stubborn Clogs In A Hurry With This Inexpensive Method
Timothy Dale is a home repair expert and writer with over a decade of hands-on construction and home improvement experience. He is skilled in residential, commercial, industrial and institutional plumbing, electrical, carpentry, installation, renovations, and project management.
The Spruce / Kevin Norris
Dealing with clogs is time-consuming, troublesome, and definitely not an exact science, which is why there are so many methods that both professionals and DIYers use in an attempt to rectify these situations. Clogs that are left for one or more days can cause a home to begin to smell due to the trapped waste and water, so it’s essential to unclog your pipes as soon as possible. Plungers, hair snakes, drain augers, chemical clog removers, and even pipe cameras are commonly used to unclog drains, but a less-commonly used tool is the drain cleaning bladder.
These devices consist of a heavy-duty rubber compartment that expands and resembles a small balloon. However, this balloon only expands when it’s connected to a water source and filled with cold water from one end. The other end of the drain cleaning bladder must be inserted more than six inches into the pipes, preferably after any tees or U-bends. When the bladder becomes completely full, it shoots pressurized water into the clogged plumbing drains, breaking up clogs and clearing away any remaining pieces of partial clogs.
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Turn Off The Water And Drain The Bladder
Shut the water off and allow the drain cleaning bladder to deflate. Do not attempt to pull the bladder out until it has deflated, as this can cause damage to the pipes and to the bladder. Once the bladder has deflated, pull it out of the drain and disconnect the garden hose. Put the drain cleaning bladder in a sink or in a bucket so that it can be properly cleaned when the job is done.
The Spruce / Kevin Norris