Drain Clearing Time: How Long Does It Take?


The process of clearing a blocked drain can be inconvenient, but understanding the factors involved can help you better manage the situation. The drain clearing time can vary significantly depending on the cause and severity of the blockage and the methods used to address it.

A photo that illustrates drain clearing time.

Factors Affecting Drain Clearing Time

Numerous factors may influence the length of time required to clear a blocked drain, each playing an important part in assessing the clearing process's efficacy. Understanding these factors can help you better prepare and manage the situation.

Severity of the Blockage

The length of time it takes to unclog a blocked drain is largely dependent on the severity of the obstruction. The more severe the blockage, the longer it may take to clear. After all, more severe blockages often require more extensive and complex methods.

Minor Blockages. Minor blockages, such as those caused by hair or soap scum buildup, can typically be cleared within 15-30 minutes using basic tools like plungers or chemical drain cleaners.

Moderate Blockages. Moderate blockages, such as those caused by food particles or grease buildup, may take longer to clear, often requiring 30 minutes to a few hours using more advanced techniques like mechanical augers or snakes.

Severe Blockages. Severe blockages, such as those caused by tree root infiltration or extensive pipe damage, can take significantly longer to clear, often requiring several hours or even days using advanced techniques like hydrojetting or major pipe repairs.

Location of the Blockage

The location of the blockage also significantly influences the time it takes to clear a blocked drain. Blockages closer to the drain opening are generally easier to address than those deeper in the plumbing system.

Close to the Drain Opening. You can often quickly clear the blockages near the drain opening using basic tools like plungers or chemical drain cleaners.

Deeper in the Plumbing System. Blockages deeper in the plumbing system can take longer to clear, often requiring more advanced techniques like mechanical augers or snakes.

Type of Pipes and Drainage System

The materials and configuration of the pipes can also affect the ease of clearing a blockage. Different types of pipes and drainage systems can present unique challenges and require specialised techniques.

Older Pipes. Older pipes can be more prone to blockages due to corrosion and mineral buildup, making them more difficult to clear.

Newer Pipes. Newer pipes are generally easier to clear due to their smoother surfaces and more modern materials.

Complex Drainage Systems. Complex drainage systems, such as those with multiple connections or bends, can be more challenging to clear due to the increased likelihood of blockages.

Tools and Methods Used

The tools and methods used to clear a blocked drain can significantly impact the time it takes to complete the task. More advanced techniques, such as hydrojetting, may take longer but are often more effective.

Basic Tools. Basic tools like plungers and chemical drain cleaners are quick and easy to use but may be ineffective for more severe blockages.

Advanced Techniques. Advanced techniques like mechanical augers, snakes, and hydrojetting are more effective but often require more time and expertise.

Experience and Skill Level

The experience and skill level of the person clearing the blockage can also significantly determine the time it takes to complete the task. Professionals with extensive experience and training can often clear blockages more efficiently.

Experienced Plumbers. These licensed plumbers have enough experience, skills, and knowledge to identify and treat the cause of the blockage as soon as possible.

Less Experienced Plumbers. Due to their limited knowledge and skills, less experienced plumbers may take longer to clear a blockage.

How to Speed Up Drain Clearing Time

When dealing with a blocked drain, acting quickly to minimise the damage and prevent further complications is essential. Here are some tips to help speed up the drain-clearing process:

Use the Right Tools

Plunger. A plunger is a simple and effective tool for clearing minor blockages. Use a plunger specifically designed for drains and follow proper usage techniques.

Chemical Drain Cleaners. Chemical drain cleaners can be effective for more severe blockages. However, to avoid damaging pipes, use them sparingly and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Mechanical Augers and Snakes. Mechanical augers and snakes can physically remove more complex blockages.

Improve Your Drain Maintenance

Regular Cleaning. To prevent buildup, regularly clean your drain using a drain cleaner, baking soda, and vinegar.

Drain Guards. Install drain guards to catch hair and other debris before they enter the drain.

Avoid Pouring Grease and Food Waste. To prevent blockages, avoid pouring grease, hair, and large food particles down the drain.

Consider Professional Assistance

Licensed Plumbers. If DIY methods fail, consider hiring a licensed plumber with the expertise and equipment to clear even the most stubborn blockages.

Hydrojetting is a powerful technique that uses high-pressure water to clear blockages. It is particularly effective for severe blockages and can save time compared to other methods.

How Long Do Licensed Plumbers Complete the Work?

Licensed plumbers are trained professionals with the expertise and equipment to clear even the most complex blockages. They generally complete the work in 1-4 hours.

The time it takes for a licensed plumber to complete the work depends on several factors, including:

Severity of the Blockage

Minor Blockages. Licensed plumbers can typically complete the work within 1-2 hours for minor blockages.

Complex Blockages. Depending on the complexity of the issue, the process can take 2-4 hours or more for more severe blockages.

Type of Equipment Used

Basic Tools. For minor blockages, licensed plumbers can typically complete the task using basic tools like plungers and snakes within one to two hours.

Advanced Techniques. For more complex blockages, licensed plumbers may use advanced techniques like hydrojetting, which can take longer but are more effective.

Experience and Skill Level

Experienced Plumbers. Licensed plumbers with extensive experience can complete the work more efficiently, within 1-2 hours.

Less Experienced Plumbers. Less experienced plumbers may take longer to complete the work, potentially up to 4 hours or more.

Additional Factors

Location and Accessibility. The location and accessibility of the blockage can also impact the time it takes for a licensed plumber to complete the work.

Type of Pipes and Drainage System. The type of pipes and drainage system can also affect the drain clearing time.

What if the Drain Blockage Still Doesn't Clear Up?

If your drain blockage still doesn't clear up, don't worry - the team at All Needs Plumbing is here to help. With our $0 callout fee, 24/7 same-day service, 15% seniors' discount, and $150 off hot water systems, we'll get your drains flowing freely in no time. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and say goodbye to those pesky blockages for good.

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