The only thing worse than a blocked drain is to have it uncovered. The sewer drain (also called the main drain) carries your home’s wastewater out your municipal waste treatment lines or your septic tank. When these pipes obstruct, it puts all water parties in its commission house.
Fortunately, this is not the kind of work you must do by hand. You can clean the sewage drain with a machine, called a drainage snake, which can handle any obstruction.
- Locate hose drain access. In most homes there will be one somewhere along the outside of the front wall at ground level. The second will be near the sidewalk or the street. Both will have circular covers about 4 inches in diameter with an accessory for a square or hexagonal wrench.
- Open the access cover nearest the hexagonal housing with a wrench and turn it counterclockwise. In older homes, this can be difficult. A larger key, like a plumber’s wrench, can make this job easier.
- Place the electric sewer snake next to the access hole. Loosen the cable nut at the front and feed the snake into the opening of the sewer.
- Turn on the power of the snake. Some snakes have a pedal that allows you to control forward movement by pressing or releasing the pedal. This allows you to feed the snake with your hands while controlling the speed with your feet.
- Continue to feed the snake out. When you feel that you hit an obstacle, you stop feeding and cut off the energy. Reverse direction and pull the snake in about 1 foot. Then they begin feeding forward again, slowly. Repeat this process, go forward and then backward until the snake moves forward again without interruption.
- Open the access cover closest to the street.
- Have a friend or an assistant run some water inside the house (wash a bathroom or turn on a faucet). As the water runs, shine a flashlight down the sewer drain. You should be able to watch the water run by when the blockage is removed.
Tips & Warnings
- They can rent snakes of different sizes at their nearest hardware supply store or plumbing.
- Always wear gloves and wash hands immediately afterwards when working with snakes and other wastewater clearing equipment.