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.
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.
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 .
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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.
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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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Insert The Drain Cleaning Bladder
Slide the drain cleaning bladder into the drainage pipe. It should be inserted at least six inches into the pipe, though if possible, you should try to ensure that the drain cleaning bladder is deep enough so that it has a direct route to the clog. If the drain cleaning bladder is placed before a tee, there is a good chance that the spray will take the path of least resistance and shoot up through the drainage vent to the roof.
To prevent this from happening, slide the bladder in past the tee. Ideally, you will be able to push the bladder in until it comes in contact with the clog, but if this isn’t possible, then simply get the bladder as close as you can to the clog.
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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.
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.
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