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Cleaning Residential Drain and Sewer Pipes: Doing It Correctly

When you buy a house, you should be responsible for the structure and everything in it, including (and especially) the sewer pipes which run from the building to the city’s sewer line. Keeping the said pipes clear of any gunk helps lessen the chances of sewage getting into your house through different drains. To clear pipes of gunk, follow the steps below once you have located the primary pipe running from your home to sewer. A drain snake is needed for this task.

1. Find the lateral (main pipe that runs from your house to primary sewer line) by taking a look at the survey documents of your property. If you don’t have these documents in your home, you can get them from the public works or city planning departments. Another way to find the lateral is by looking for the cleanout, a pipe which has the lateral as its access point. A cleanout often has removable plugs or caps.

2. A container should then be set below the cleanout. The cap or plug should then be loosened enough so waste and water can flow into it.

3. Wait for the waste and water to stop flowing. Take out the cap or plug and then insert a plumbing snake.

4. Spin the plumbing snake reel and push the metal wire down the lateral via the cleanout. Stop spinning the reel every few inches to switch the water on and wash out any debris which the auger has broken up.

5. A motorised plumbing snake, which has removable blades, should be used in cutting tree roots as well as other big clogs. But since the blades can easily break copper or plastic plumbing, you should use it with caution or hire a plumbing professional to break the clog for you this way. There are some drum auger models that have cameras attached, thus allowing users to check out the interior of the affected pipe.

6. You should make it a habit to pour boiling water down different drains to keep these clear of any debris. If you suspect clogs starting to form, pour ammonia and baking soda down the affected drain. Flush the mixture immediately with boiling water.

Do you have a habit of pouring fat and used cooking oil down drains? If so, stop the practice right away. Fat and grease enter the drain as liquids, but harden as they travel through water pipes. When they harden, they will clog pipes.