Clogged Drains and Clean Outs

From time to time our homes may need to have it's main drains cleared due to a major back up at a toilet or tub / shower, etc. Even though this is not a glamorous job, it can be accomplished by the homeowner, if you have the time and the tooling.

When a clogged drain needs to be cleared, and you have already done some clearing of pipes on the inside of your home, then you may need to clear the clog from the outside. There is usually a drain clean out (s) on the outside of the structure. These clean outs are located (or at least should be) outside of the room or area where the clog is occurring, on the exterior wall. Look around your structure and you should notice piping at ground level or it may be just below the grade line, meaning you may have to dig a little dirt away to access the clean out. The drain clean out is normally a 2 "pipe and will have a plug or cap on it that will have to be removed to use an auger / snake for clearing.

Normally, depending on where the back up is, a simple plunger can take of some of the common or reoccurring clogs. Keep in mind that hand plungers have different styles … flat or throat-ed, (flat for tubs, sinks, etc. – throat-ed for toilets and areas that are not flat).

For a deeper approach, you may need a snake 'style' auger. There are many different types of augers available. When dealing with augers, they have a snake end that you run into the drain pipe. Depending on the auger being used, the tip of the snake is the part that does the work. They come in hand crank style, with a non-removable tip, sold at most retail outlets. There are powered tool type augers, that can be attached to a drill motor. Then there's the big augers that the professionals use. These type of augers can be rented or purchased and come in different sizes to accommodate different pipe situations and the tips are removable / replace-able.

Note: You may have to move some plumbing (pipes) to access the drain pipe coming out of the wall inside the cabinetry. This is the starting point for clearing your drain with a snake. Do not try to snake down a sink, due to it can cause damage to the sink / pipes below before they go into the wall. You need to take some plumbing apart. (Hey, you may find the clog in those removed pipes)