Clearing out a clogged main drain

Dealing with clogged drains can be a real pain, and most of the times, a dirty one. Although nothing is pleasant about this job, it has to be done, and it has to be done as soon as the problem it’s discovered. Otherwise you risk serious damage to your installation and your home.
Most of the times this is a DIY job, so don’t go calling a professional immediately.

Tools and materials

  • Plunger
  • Wrench
  • Bucket
  • Gloves
  • Plumbing snake

Step1. Find the blockage

First of all you need to see if there is a local blockage or a main drain blockage. If your sink is clogged, try the bathtub drain to see if there’s a problem with that too. If there is, go and try the other plumbing fixtures in the kitchen, for example. If you isolate the clog to a certain room, then a plunger will do. Fix it on the drain hole, put some water into the sink, bathtub etc. and then move it up and down. Because of the vacuum the clog should release from the pipes and let the water flow again.

Step2. Accessing the main drain

If you find out that the blockage is in the main drain, then you’ll have to find the access point to it. There should be a Y shaped pipe outside your house, at about the ground level. It should have a square cap on top. Position a bucket under the pipe, to catch any waste that has accumulated. Then use a wrench to remove the cap. Also, make sure that no one in the house uses the plumbing facilities.

Step3. Remove blockage

The best way to unclog a drain is to use a drain snake. If you don’t have one then just go to a tool rental outlet and rent one. Insert the drain snake into the pipe and spin it until you find the blockage. When you find it, twist the handle and pull the snake back and then push it in again.

Step4. Accessing the house drain trap

If you can’t find a blockage in the pipes, then you should look at the drain trap. This is a U shaped pipe that is usually buried. It has two caps that are similar to the one of the main drain. Remove the cap that is closer to the outside sewer. If the water doesn’t flow out, then use the snake to remove the clog between the main drain and the house trap. If you see that water stars pouring, then continue with the snake. If not, then call a professional to avoid any water damage to the house.

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