How to Clear a Drain Line

A clogged drain can bring your whole day to a halt, but clearing a drain line can be simple if you have the right tools. There are four different types of tools that you can use to clear a drain line.

Tools Needed

Fight clogs with these affordable and specialized plumbing tools.

  • Plunger: This tool is also known as the plumber’s best friend as it can easily clear clogs from most fixtures like sinks, pipes and toilets. It’s inexpensive and can cost as little as $10.
  • Cable Auger or Plumbers Snake: If the clog is located farther down the drain pipe, then a cable auger is the perfect tool to try. It consists of a long, flexible steel cable that is wound around a spool. Cable augers or plumbers snakes are available in lengths up to one hundred feet. You’ll pay more for a cable auger or plumbers snake, but should be able to pick one up for under $50, probably closer to $30.
  • Closet Auger: The closet auger is typically used when there is trouble draining the water even after the use of a plunger. This tool is designed specifically for toilet pipes. A closet auger has an estimated reach of 3 feet, although there are some models that are slightly longer. The closet auger run about the same price as the cable auger.
  • Electric Power Auger: The electric power auger is so effective; it can even cut through tangled tree roots. It is the most effective tool used for unclogging. For safety reasons, It is advisable to consult a professional before buying this tool. It’s a bit pricey and may set you back a few hundred dollars.

How to Clear a Drain Line

When clearing a drain line, always start with a plunger. Your plunger can easily clear any clog if the blockage isn’t too far into the pipes. You can even use a plunger on a clogged sink. Just cover the sink overflow with tape and plunge away.

If the blockage is not cleared by using a plunger, then an auger is the next best tool to try. To use the auger:

  1. At the base of where the auger end extends, unscrew the wing nut. Then advance the cable down from your access point towards the clog. When the cable stops going in any further, release the excess cable and tighten the wing nut.
  2. Extend the full length of cable into the drain. Once it is fully extended, tighten the wing nut again by gently rotating the handle. Now slowly pull the auger end upwards towards yourself.
  3. During this whole process, the obstructions that you passed through earlier will come up with the auger.

After the obstructions are cleaned out from the drain, pour some water down the sink to check if your drain runs freely. If the clog proves to be too large or elusive to handle, hire a plumber or consult a professional.

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