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How to Clear and Clean Drain Lines

Clearing, cleaning, and restoring flow to blocked or clogged drain lines

Posted 07:42 March 21, 2017
Last Updated 08:49 November 17, 2017

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Over time, all plumbing systems develop clogs. Clogs can develop in sink lines, toilet lines, or any other drain line. How to clear the clog depends upon the clog itself, the location, and the condition of the drain line. A simple clog in a sink line may only require removing the sink trap and clearing the clog. More complex clogs will require more advanced techniques. Here are a few tips and techniques to clear common everyday clogs and blockages in homeowner drain lines.

Determine the location of the clog

This is not always as easy as it sounds but the technique is always the same. Start at the clog point and work your way back until you find the blockage. Very simple clogs may be only a few inches or feet back. A clog that is very deep into the plumbing system may be difficult and almost impossible to source.

Clearing simple clogged drains

A simple blockage that is only a few inches back can be cleared by hand. If you can't reach it, a simple tool (such as a screwdriver or coat hanger) can be used to extend your reach. If it's a sink drain, check the drain trap. It's fairly easy to remove a drain trap with a pair of pliers or a wrench. Clean the trap of any debris.

If you can't reach the clog by hand, a plunger is often a very effective tool. Don't waste your money on expensive, complex plungers. The cheapest, most simple plunger is often the best tool for the job. Plungers aren't just for toilets. They're great for any type of drain. To successfully plunge a drain you'll want to:

• Clear as much excess water from the drain as possible.

• Make sure the plunger base totally covers the drain.

• Press down firmly to create a seal.

• Pull up and down on the plunger semi-rapidly, keeping the seal intact, for 15-30 seconds.

The plunger creates a back and forth flow of the water between the plunger and the blockage. If the blockage isn't too far away, and if the blockage isn't too thick, the plunging water will clear the drain. The blockage will either push straight through or it will break up into smaller pieces and then clear.

Clearing moderately clogged drains

If the blockage is further back, seven to ten feet or more, a plunger may not be able to create enough force to clear the clogged drain. Snaking the drain with a drain auger will often clear the drain.

Feed the snake into the drain, working it around bends in the plumbing pipe. Eventually you should feel it bump up against the blockage. You can tell if you've hit the clog when the snake stops, but gives way slightly when you push downward.

Start turning the snake cable clockwise. You goal is to hook into it and either pull it out, or, hook into it and then break it up into smaller pieces so the blockage clears.

If the clog doesn't budge or you can't hook it, the blockage may be a solid object. You'll need to attempt a more advanced technique.

If you can't reach the clog, you'll need to try a more advanced technique.

Clearing severely clogged drains

When the drain blockage is far from the drain opening, or the blockage is thick, solid, or very stiff, it must be cleared with a more professional approach. Hydro jetting is a professional drain clearing method used by plumbers. It is very effective at clearing stubborn blockages. Water is blasted through your pipelines at around 4000 psi.

Hydro jetting clears the most difficult blockages. Hydro jetting can remove sand, silt, hair, or virtually any type of clog. It is fast and effective. If your pipelines were repaired with a trenchless pipe lining or cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) solution in the past, your lines must be cleaned with hydro jetting. Snaking a CIPP can damage it.

Hydro jetting requires professional equipment and should only be performed by a licensed plumber contractor. All Trades has decades of experience in hydro jetting. We can clear and clean your drains quickly and safely. We service all areas of Las Vegas, Nevada including Henderson, Boulder City, and Clark County.

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