How to Clean a Sewer Drain : Tips and Tricks


Plumbing How To

Having plumbing problems or a clogged sewer drain happens to us all at times, and often it just isn't as simple as throwing some "Chemical Drain Cleaner" down the blocked or slow drain and wait for the clog inside to go away. This article will show you how to unclog blocked or slow drains and sewer pipes.

Inside your home plumbing there are separate waste removal lines that feed directly into a larger main line that takes your waste water away from your house into the sewer system? Most homes have a soil line which carries kitchen sink and toilet waste to the main line. They are also have a waste line which handles showers and bathroom sinks. This means there are two opportunities for clogs to form inside the drains before the main line, which itself can be clogged.

How to clean your sewer drain pipes

The first part of cleaning a blocked drain or slow sewer drain is to discover what part of your plumbing drainage system is blocked.

Sewer jet blasting

It does not really matter where your drainage system is clogged, all plumbers will say you should not use a chemical drain cleaner to fix a totaly blocked drain. To clear a completely blocked drain you will need some professional plumbing tools and drain cleaning equipment like a sewer jet. A sewer jet will blast away the blockage and restore the pipes to a good condition. After using a sewer jet, it is always a good idea to test the integrity of your sewer systems using a hydrostatic line tester. If there were any already existing leaks in the pipe system sealed up by debris, that temporary seal was washed away by the sewer jet. The hydrostatic line tester will help you identify such leaks so you can repair and prevent further damage.

Slow drains : cleaning and unclogging.

Always start from inside the house. The trap and trap arm are the first places stoppages inside drains will occur. Then go to the outside to clean out and remove the plug or cap. You can run a larger snake through this opening. If possible run COLD water at the same time (never hot water) while you are running the snake. This will moisten the residue and wash the line clean. NOTE: remember to always use a "GFI" (ground fault interrupter) in line with the electrical cord to prevent electrical shock (sometimes fatal) once the line is clear the best thing to do is, run a high pressure jet.  With water jetting you can remove all of the rust scales that were left behind by the cable.

Unclogging hair clogs in the bathtubs & showers.

Look for and buy the drain stick. This is a device sold in the tools department of your local home centers. There are two kinds that I have seen. One type of drain stick looks like just a long plastic stick with a small 4-sided comb on the end. It has a flat handle on the other end and is very flexible and strong. The other is a white plastic stick that is flat with barbs running up both sides. Both work very well. To remove the hair, stick the stick into the drain. Rotate it a couple of times and pull it out. It will come out with the hair on it. If you have a lot of hair it may be quite difficult to pull out and can take some strength!

Frequent drain cleaning!

Once a month, pour one cup of baking soda, followed by one cup of white vinegar down the drain. Wait an hour and flush with warm water. The combination fizzles away most of the buildup inside the drains. Works for shower drains, tub drains and kitchen sink drains as well.

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Keeping the main sewer line clean

This is a question, rather than a comment. I have been recommended to use Rid-x monthly to keep my main sewer line clean. Apparently this product will eat away at material clinging to the inside faces of the sewer pipe, and also discourage root invasion. (I have municipal sewage servic, not a septic system.) Is this a good idea? Thank you,

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