How to Unclog a Main Drain Line

Having a clog in your main drain line can be a huge hassle. For one thing, it can cause serious damage to your property, especially when water backs up into your basement, causes mold and mildew, and eventually destroys your house’s foundation. It can also make your place smell like sewage, causing you and your family to feel sick. You can even actually become sick, particularly if you’ll get exposed to the bacteria and other microorganisms are present in the raw sewage that will enter your home.

Signs and Causes of Main Drain Clogs

But why does your main drain line get clogged? Well, there are several possible reasons, and some of the most common are feminine products and thick toilet paper that get flushed down your toilet. These items can block pipes on their own, but they can cause a bigger damage when they clump together and create a big clog. If you have trees in your garden, their roots can also be a cause of blockage in your main sewer line if they reach and penetrate your pipes.

When your main drain line gets clogged, one of the first things that you’ll notice is that water backs up in your home when you use one of your plumbing fixtures. If you wash your hands in the bathroom sink, for example, you may see that the water level in your toilet rises. You may also hear strange sounds coming from your fixtures (such as gurgling noises when you flush your toilet) or smell an extremely unpleasant sewage odor wafting from your drains.

Steps to Unclog a Main Drain Line

Fortunately, if you notice that your main sewage line is clogged, there are several things you can do to remove the block. You can start by taking these steps:

1. Get an auger (aka a plumbing snake) and an adjustable wrench. Put on a pair of goggles and rubber gloves (to protect your eyes and hands from contamination).

2. Locate the clean-out plug. It’s usually on a large sewage pipe in your basement, garage, or the space in your yard near the your house.

3. Once you find the plug, place a bucket underneath it if it’s positioned vertically. The bucket will catch any waste water that will pour out of the plug.

4. Remove the plug using your adjustable wrench.

5. Once the plug is open, put the cable end of your auger into the opening. Push until you feel that it has reached an obstruction. Use the auger’s handle to ensure that the tip of the cable digs deep into the blockage.

6. When you’re sure that the tip of the auger has attached itself into the clog, push and pull to break the blockage.

7. Check your plumbing fixtures if they drain properly.

Remember: these steps won’t work if the clog in your main drain is caused by a tree root. You also have to take note that major clogs won’t be unblocked by just an auger. So, if you’ve taken the steps above but to no avail, it’s definitely the right time to call a professional plumber.

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