How To Clear A Main Sewer Line Clog?

how to clear a main sewer line clog

A few different factors can cause a main sewer line clog, such as tree roots, septic tank issues or pipe damage. Whatever the case may be, a clogged sewer line is a serious plumbing issue and should be addressed immediately. 

There are a few methods you can try yourself before calling in a plumber. Here we will discuss some of them and everything you will need to get started. 

Clearing the Main Sewer Line Clog Through Main Drain Cleanout

Before beginning to work, make sure you have all necessary tools. You’ll need a pipe wrench, drain auger (snake), working water hose and some sturdy gloves that will get dirty. 

Locate the main drain cleanout 

The first step to clear a main sewer line clog is by locating the main drain cleanout fitting around your property. This is a short, capped pipe that usually sticks out of the ground and has a diameter of about 3 to 4 inches. It is often located outside of a bathroom near the exterior walls of a home and may very likely be covered by bushes or grass as it’s not a fixture that receives a lot of attention.

In areas with a colder climate, the main drain cleanout may be located in a basement, set in a concrete slab near the foundation walls. Some properties do not have a drain cleanout and we will discuss later on what to do in this case scenario. 

Remove the cap and release buildup

Once you have located your drain cleanout, it’s time to loosen the cap, using your pipe wrench. Be prepared for an overflow of buildup once you remove the cap. Due so quickly and step away, letting the waste spill out completely before you begin any work. This will release the pressure in the sewer line and force out the water that has backed up into your drain.

Insert drain auger into the pipe and remove the clog

Once the buildup of waste has ceased to overflow it’s time to grab your drain auger. Make sure to read the instructions before beginning to work as some drain augers differ from each other. Carefully insert the auger into the main drain cleanout until you feel resistance. This means you have reached the clog. 

Continue running the auger as you see the water level drop and until the clog has been broken up and removed completely. Take your water hose and blast water into your pipe to loosen any leftover debri. Slowly began to remove the drain auger from the pipe and hose down the cable as it comes out. 

It’s a good idea to hose down the drain auger thoroughly before winding it back into the machine. Place the pipe cap back on the drain cleanout and tighten it with your pipe wrench. 

Alternative Methods

Some properties do not have a main drain cleanout. If you find yourself in this scenario it’s a good idea to think of getting a sewer cleanout installed. This allows for easier access to the sewer line in case of such issues like a sewer line clog. 

There are a couple things you can do to clear a clog if you do not have a drain cleanout but these methods are much less effective when you are dealing with a bigger clog and you will most likely need to call a professional. 

The Plunger Method

how to clear a main sewer line clogYou’ll want to work on a toilet on the lowest level of your home, ground floor or a basement. Clog all drains in your bathtub and sinks to focus the force of the plunging on the clog. Began to work the plunger in the toilet. Once the water in your toilet begins to drain pour up to 2 gallons of boiling water into the toilet, to dissolve the clog.


Enzyme-Based Drain Cleaner

Another method that may help to clean a clog is by the means of an enzyme-based cleaner. Enzyme-based cleaners are much safer for both you and your plumbing system than chemical drain cleaners. However, this method will take longer to work and therefore isn’t recommended if you have a major clog and buildup overflowing into your home. If you chose to opt for this method, follow the instructions labeled on the product. 

how to clear a main sewer line clogSnaking Your Vent Pipe

When dealing with a clogged sewer line, all attention is focused below ground while the solution may actually require you to look up. A vent pipe is located on your roof and releases gasses from your sewer line. If your home does not have a main drain clean out you may be able to clear a clogged sewer line by running the drain auger through your vent pipe.

Because this will require you to get on your roof, it’s a good idea to have someone else assist you as both a safety precaution and to keep an eye out for draining water. 

If after attempting these methods the clog has not cleared, it’s time to call in a professional plumber since the cause of the problem may require a more thorough and advanced approach. Here at VIP Drain Services our trained professionals are ready to assist you 24/7 with any plumbing emergencies.  

If you have any emergency plumbing need, simply call our 24 hour emergency service line