Clearing Clogged Sewer Drains: A How-To Guide

October 13, 2022by Alex

Dealing with a clogged sewer drain can be a messy and unpleasant experience for any homeowner. A clogged sewer drain can lead to slow draining water, sewage backups, and foul odors. However, with the right tools and techniques, clearing a clogged sewer drain can be a relatively easy task. In this article, we’ll explore some common causes of clogged sewer drains and provide a step-by-step guide on how to clear them.

Causes of Clogged Sewer Drains

Clogged sewer drains can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

1. Tree Roots

Tree roots can grow into sewer lines and cause blockages. As the roots grow, they can damage the pipes, causing them to crack or break.

2. Grease

Grease is a common cause of clogged sewer drains. Grease can solidify in the pipes, creating a blockage.

3. Flushed Items

Items such as wipes, feminine hygiene products, and paper towels should never be flushed down the toilet. These items can quickly cause a clog in your sewer line.

4. Broken Pipes

Broken pipes can cause sewer backups and slow draining water. The broken pipe can be caused by age, ground movement, or other factors.

How to Clear a Clogged Sewer Drain

Clearing a clogged sewer drain requires some basic plumbing tools and equipment. Here are the steps you can follow to clear a clogged sewer drain:

1. Determine the Location of the Blockage

The first step in clearing a clogged sewer drain is to determine the location of the blockage. You can use a pipe camera [6] to inspect the sewer line and locate the blockage.

2. Turn Off the Water

Once you’ve located the blockage, turn off the water to the affected area.

3. Remove the Clean-Out Plug

If your home has a clean-out plug, remove it and set it aside. If you don’t have a clean-out plug, you may need to remove the toilet or use a drain snake to access the clog.

4. Use a Plunger

Use a plunger to try and dislodge the clog. If the plunger doesn’t work, try using a drain snake.

5. Use a Drain Snake

Insert the drain snake into the sewer line and turn the handle to break up the clog. Pull the snake out of the sewer line and dispose of any debris.

6. Flush the Line

After you’ve cleared the clog, flush the line with water to ensure that it’s clear. Replace the clean-out plug or reinstall the toilet.

Preventing Clogged Sewer Drains

While clearing a clogged sewer drain can be a frustrating task, taking steps to prevent blockages from occurring in the first place can save you time, money, and hassle in the long run. Here are some tips to help prevent clogged sewer drains:

  1. Proper Waste Disposal: As previously mentioned, flushing inappropriate items down the drain is one of the leading causes of sewer drain blockages. Be sure to dispose of waste properly in the trash rather than flushing it down the toilet or sink.

  2. Regular Maintenance: Regularly maintaining your plumbing system is key to preventing blockages. Schedule annual inspections with a professional plumber to identify and fix any issues before they turn into major problems.

  3. Grease Disposal: Cooking oils and grease should never be poured down the drain, as they can solidify and cause blockages. Instead, allow the grease to cool and dispose of it in the trash.

  4. Install a Drain Strainer: Install a strainer in your shower and sink drains to catch any hair, soap residue, or other debris that may contribute to clogs.

  5. Use Less Toilet Paper: Using too much toilet paper can contribute to blockages in the sewer drain. Use only the amount necessary and avoid flushing wipes or other materials that are not designed to be flushed.

By taking these preventative measures, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of experiencing a clogged sewer drain.


Clearing a clogged sewer drain is a necessary task for any homeowner. While it may seem daunting, with the right tools and techniques, you can quickly and easily clear the blockage and prevent future issues. Remember to use caution when working with chemicals or tools and always prioritize safety. If the task seems too daunting or you’re unable to clear the blockage on your own, don’t hesitate to contact a professional plumber for assistance.

With proper maintenance and prevention, you can avoid the hassle and expense of dealing with clogged sewer drains altogether. So, be sure to dispose of waste properly, schedule regular plumbing maintenance, and take other preventative measures to keep your plumbing system functioning smoothly.


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