How to Unclog Blocked Drain Lines

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Clogged drain lines can create a health hazard when sewage backs up into a toilet or tub. Clearing the clog is not a difficult task. The hardest part of the project involves locating the clog. A clogged pipe will cause a drain that is farther away from the main drain than the clog to back up. A clogged main drain will cause all the drains to back up. Locate the drain closest to the main drain that backs up and attempt to remove the clog from that point. A main drain clog can be cleared from the main trap.

Things You'll Need

  • Plumber's snake
  • Pipe wrench
  • Open up the drain pipe on the opposite end of the clog in reference to the main drain. The easiest access point will be beneath a sink or bathtub at the trap. Disconnect the trap and push it to the side. A clog in the main drain requires opening the main trap using a pipe wrench. The trap will be capped with a black cap and a square bolt attached to the cap. Untwist the cap using the pipe wrench.

  • Insert a plumber's snake into the drain. A plumber's snake is a long, braided-metal rod with a spiral tip used to grab or shred clogs. The tool usually sits inside of a rotating case that feeds the snake into the pipe and is activated by spinning a knob or lever. Follow the instructions for the specific snake used.

  • Push the plumber's snake until the obstruction stops the snake. Spin the head of the plumber's snake according to the directions included with the tool to grasp or shred the clog. Pull the snake in and out of the pipe repeatedly to dislodge the blockage.

  • Remove the snake and flush water down the drain to test. Repeat the process as necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stubborn clogs may require the use of a rotating blade tool used by professional plumbers.

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References

  • "Lowe's: Complete Home Improvement and Repair"; Don Vandervort; 2005
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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