As wastewater moves through your drain pipes, the inside of the pipes gradually gather debris and minerals that cling to the walls of the pipes. After some time, this will restrict the amount of water flowing through the pipes. This phenomenon is referred to as pipe scaling. The continuous build-up of minerals and rust within the inner linings of pipes can ultimately lead to the blocking of the pipes. 


In most cases, the common minerals that build up inside sewer pipes include calcium carbonate and magnesium. There’s a good side to pipe scaling, though. When it comes to metal pipes, slight scaling can be beneficial as it helps to prevent corrosion within the pipes. But if the scaling progresses for too long, the mineral build-up will decrease the amount of water flowing through your pipes. In essence, pipe descaling refers to the removal of waste from mineral deposits and debris clogging up your drain pipes.


How Does Pipe Descaling Work?


Pipe descaling is the removal of accumulated minerals and rust from the inner surfaces of your drainage or sewer pipes. Descaling is also effective for removing smaller roots that have grown inside the pipes. If you live in a place where the water supply is full of minerals like calcium or magnesium carbonates, pipe descaling is an important and necessary plumbing procedure. 


Cast iron pipes usually have more severe scaling problems because their inner surfaces become coated with iron oxide, calcium, and magnesium salts. However, most metal pipes get scale build-up over time. Usually, the earlier the scales are removed after detection, the better. This is because as the pipe develops a thick, uneven layer of mineral and rust deposits, it also begins to snag any solid waste or grime flowing through the pipes. Eventually, the pipe becomes completely clogged or blocked. 


With the appropriate sewer pipe descaling method, the pipes can be cleared and restored to their normal working condition. It is recommended to seek the assistance of a professional sewer and drain company when you notice or suspect the build-up of scales in your sewer pipe. 


Effective Methods for Pipe Descaling


Several methods can be used to descale sewer pipes successfully. Common methods of pipe descaling include hydro-jetting, snaking, and the use of chemicals. When you contact a sewer specialist, they’ll first carry out a thorough inspection of your sewer pipes to identify the area where the blockage is, as well as understand the extent of the blockage. 


The method used by the contractor ultimately depends on the extent of the scale build-up in the pipes. 



Hydro-jetting is the most common and most effective method for removing scales from pipes. It involves injecting a stream of pressurized water of about 4,500 pounds per square inch (psi) into the pipes to dislodge the debris and mineral deposits from the walls of the pipes. The method is usually selected to clear heavily clogged pipes. After using pressurized water to remove the blockage, a descaling nozzle is then attached to the hydro-jet. 


As it blasts pressurized water through the nozzle, the descaling nozzle, which has a chain attached to it, will rotate to scrub the rust and mineral buildup from the inside of the walls. The descaling nozzle scrubs the pipe and with the aid of the flowing water, it washes away the debris at the same time. It should be noted that hydro-jetting descaling is not applicable in all situations. When the pipes are old or fragile, hydro-jetting may not be a good choice, as there’s the risk of causing further damage to the integrity of the already weak pipes. Other methods can be explored in such a case. 


Chemical descaling

Chemicals can be used to descale pipes, but the method does not apply to all kinds of pipes. The sewer and drain specialist must have inspected the conditions and nature of the blockage before recommending the use of chemicals. They will choose the chemical descaling technique if the pipes are relatively clear of other forms of blockage. Chemical descaling simply involves the use of an acidic chemical to dissolve the calcium and magnesium salts, as well as any rust that might have accumulated in the pipes. 


The main disadvantage of using chemical drain cleaners is that they can be bad for plastic or PVC pipes. They can weaken the pipes as they work. An alternative, in this case, is using natural drain cleaners. An example of a natural drain cleaner is a combination of vinegar and baking soda. The combination of salt, vinegar, and borax is also another very effective natural drain cleaner. However, natural drain cleaners will take longer to work as they are not as corrosive as the synthetic chemical alternative. 


Importance of Pipe Descaling


  1. Descaling techniques help you avoid the inconvenience associated with clogged pipes. Modern descaling methods, such as hydro-jetting, are non-invasive and cost-effective. The occupants of the house can continue to use the facilities while the sewer and drain specialist works on the pipe.


Besides, you get to avoid the possibility of digging up portions of your yard to replace pipes. These descaling techniques can help clean out scales from the inner surfaces of sewer pipes without affecting the structure of the pipes. 


  1. Descaling also helps to improve drainage and water flow while increasing the lifespan of the pipes in your home’s plumbing system.


  1. Pipe descaling is environmentally friendly. Unlike pipe repair techniques that involve the digging of trenches, descaling does not include digging of trenches. So you won’t need to worry about your beautiful lawn or yard getting messed up. 


Ready to Descale Your Sewer Pipes?


If you find yourself constantly dealing with backed-up drains or low water pressure from taps in your home, chances are, there is already scale build-up in the pipes. It is time to call the plumber. Before deciding on which descaling method to use, you need to consult an experienced sewer and drain cleaning company to advise you on what method is best for cleaning out your clogged sewer drains. 


At N.W. Sewer & Drain, we have a well-trained and ready-to-move team on standby. Areas we cover include Seattle and in surrounding cities , including Edmonds, Marysville, Everett, Arlington, Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor, Bellingham, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Renton, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Auburn, etc. and other surrounding areas.


N.W. Sewer & Drain provides top-notch drain cleaning and sewer repair services in Seattle, and we’ve been in the business for more than 20 years. Contact us today at 206-931-7728 to schedule an inspection of your sewer line and pipes.



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