How to Unclog a Sewer Drain

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Things You'll Need

  • Drain cleaner

  • Plunger

  • Pipe snake hose

Clogged sewer drains can be expensive if they are not repaired.

A clogged sewer drain can be a massive headache for any homeowner. The clog can result in water backlog, foul odor and possible damage to your pipes. Paper, sewage and even grease can contribute to clogged drains and pipes. Unclogging the drain should be a priority as soon as the clog is discovered. While some clogs are best left to professionals, there are methods to try that can assist in removing a sewer drain clog without an expensive call to a plumber.


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Step 1

Pull the basket strainer out of the drain if you have one.

Step 2

Turn on your hot water for at least 10 minutes if the drain is clearing slowly but not completely clogged. The combination of water pressure and heat will frequently dissolve a sewer drain clog and force it through the pipes.

Step 3

Pour a drain cleaning solution down the drain in accordance with the drain cleaner instructions. Some require you to empty the entire container down the drain, while others only require half. The solution will need to sit for a period of time, frequently 15 minutes or so, before adding water. Many drain cleaners are made of bauxite and caustic soda that help break up clogs. Add water as directed after the recommended time frame.


Step 4

Place a suction cup over the drain that is large enough to cover the drain entirely. Push down on the suction cup in the center to remove excess air and then pull it off. This is sometimes enough to remove a clog.

Step 5

Run the hot water again to get several inches of water over the drain. Press a toilet plunger down over the drain and pull up again, repeating the motion to cause a suction in the drain.

Step 6

Insert a pipe snake into the drain if it is still clogged and turn it as you insert it so it can go deeper into the drain. Insert the snake as deep as you can and withdraw it sharply to dislodge the clog. If the drain is still clogged, you'll likely need a professional plumber.


If the clog is caused by a tree root growing into your pipes, you will need professional assistance to remove it and repair the damage.


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