A clog in your plumbing often affects a single sink, tub, shower or toilet, but if more than one fixture is backed up, you may need to clean out the main drain line.
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Augers — also known as plumbing snakes — and sewer rods are effective against some clogs in the main drain line.
If you suspect a blockage in the main drain line, don't use the plumbing system in your home until it's cleared. Getting more water into the line could cause waste water backups in the home.
Find a clean-out plug located on a large drain pipe in areas such as your basement, crawl space, garage or near the foundation of your house. Remove the plug with an adjustable wrench. Waste water may drain out when you open the cleanout and when you break the clog. Stand clear as you remove the plug and as you work on the clog. If the drain line is vertical, place a bucket under the clean-out.
Wear the appropriate safety gear and follow the manufacturer's instructions for use and safety when using any drain-opening product. Use caution when clearing clogs in older pipes. Some products may not be suitable. If you have older or corroded pipes, you're concerned about damage, or you can't clear a clog, contact a professional plumber.
Standard, hand-powered drain-clearing tools aren't effective against a clog caused by tree roots that have entered an underground pipe. Contact a professional plumber to clear this type of blockage.
Watch our DIY Basics video: How Do I Unclog My Toilet?