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Plumbing: Unclogging Fixtures / Drains

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If a group of fixtures, or a floor drain, is backed up, you have a clog in one of the main drain lines. These clogs often require that you remove cleanout plugs and open the drain using heavy-duty power-driven augers. Frequently these clogs form when tree roots penetrate the main drain or when certain foreign objects are sent down the drain.

To clear the drain, you can call a professional or rent a drain-cleaning machine. Be careful removing the cleanout plug -- it may release a flood of backed up wastewater, so be prepared with buckets and rags.

Caution: Never attempt to remove a cleanout plug from, or run a cable into, a drain that contains chemical drain cleaner.

Tree roots work their way through cracks or joints in older sewer lines made of clay tile, cast iron or other piping. Newer sewer lines, made of plastic, don't suffer from this problem. When a drain becomes root-bound, it needs to be reamed out using a root saw, but the problem will soon recur unless one of the following extra measures is taken

Tree roots work their way through cracks or joints in older sewer lines made of clay tile, cast iron or other piping. Newer sewer lines, made of plastic, don't suffer from this problem. When a drain becomes root-bound, it needs to be reamed out using a root saw, but the problem will soon recur unless one of the following extra measures is taken:

  • Dig up the old line and replace it with plastic.
  • To slow root growth, treat the drain with poison formulated to kill nearby roots.
  • Seal the line by having the existing pipe lined with an internal plastic fabric and epoxy
If a group of fixtures, or a floor drain, is backed up, you have a clog in one of the main drain lines. These clogs often require that you remove cleanout plugs and open the drain using heavy-duty power-driven augers. Frequently these clogs form when tree roots penetrate the main drain or when certain foreign objects are sent down the drain.

Image (right) shows drain-cleaning in progress. This one, being in a basement. We offer virtually every product necessary for effective drain cleaning.


Special Advertising Section (click here to skip this section and continue with drain-cleaning tutorial)

If you're going to invest in drain-cleaning equipment, we highly recommend these products:

Ridgid Model K50 Professional Drain Cleaning Machine

Ridgid Model K50 Professional Drain Cleaning Machine

Technical Details

* The perfect, all-around sink, shower, and floor drain machine. Weighs less than 35 pounds.
* 1/6 HP motor spins cable at 400 RPM to clean 1-1/2" to 4" lines up to 100 feet.
* Pull handle down - cable spins. Release handle - cable stops instantly.
* Capable of running 3 different cable sizes: 5/16", 3 /8", 5/8".

Capacity: Uses sections of 5/8" cable to clean 1-1/4" to 4" lines up to 100'. Equipped with the included A-17 adapter, the unit runs up to 50' of 5/16" or 35 feet of 3/8" continuous length cable. (5/16" cable is best for 3/4" to 1-1/2" lines, 3/8" is best for 1-1/4" to 2" lines). Standard Equipment Includes: K-50 Machine, A-17-Adapter with 25'x5/16" bulb auger cable, A-17-B Adapter with 35'x3/8" bulb auger cable, A-30 Cable kit with six sections 7.5'x5/8" all-purpose wind cable (45 feet), Cable carrier, straight auger, bulb auger, C Cutter, Spade Cutter, Coupling Pin Key, Rear Guide Hose, Left Hand Mitt. CSA Approved. Approved to Ul Standards (NRTLC).


Milwaukee 0566-1 Drain Cleaner

Milwaukee 0566-1 Drain Cleaner

Trigger speed control 0-450 rpm, reversing. 120V AC. Heavy-duty industrial chuck Quick and easy rodding of up to 2 in. wastelines Holds up to 35 ft of 3/8 in inner core cable or 50 ft of 5/16 in. inner core cable Keyless chuck offers quick hand tightening and cable feedConstructed with all ball and roller bearings and a rust resistant aluminum drum this tool is built to last



0567 1 Drain Cleaner Kit

0567 1 Drain Cleaner Kit

Milwaukee's Drain Cleaner allows quick, easy rodding of up to 2 In. wastelines. The front drum holds up to 35 Ft. of 3/8 In. or 50 Ft. of 5/16 In. inner core cable. The keyless chuck offers quick hand tightening and cable feed. Constructed with all ball and roller bearings and a rust resistant aluminum drum this tool is built to last. The trigger speed control, reversing motor helps protect the cable from damage.



Baam! Drain Blaster Cleaner

Baam! Drain Blaster Cleaner

Baam! The environmentally friendly and safe Drain Cleaner blasts away stubborn clogs.  Clear drains and pipes with the high-pressure air pump, and say goodbye to slow-drains forever.  The air pump is easy to use and can be reused again and again. The pump comes with three adapters designed to fit almost any drain in your home.  The toilet adapter, sink adapter and tub adapter attach to the end of the pump, and fit snuggly into the drain opening.   It's so easy to use - simply push the appropriate size adapter onto the end of the air pump, and pull the handle back and forth until you've created a strong resistance.  Then pull the trigger to blast away the toughest clogs!  Other features of our Baam! Drain Cleaner include: Measures approx. 10"L x 9"H x 3"W  Made of rubber and plastic Not a toy



Remove the cleanout plug from the floor drain or cleanout. Feed cable into the drain with the motor off until you can’t push any farther. Start and stop the motor using the foot switch as you feed cable. Proceed slowly. Do not allow tension to build up if the cable head stops and the cage continues to rotate. To chew through the clog, tighten the cable-lock bolt and loosen and feed cable as needed.

1. Remove the cleanout plug from the floor drain or cleanout. Feed cable into the drain with the motor off until you can’t push any farther. Start and stop the motor using the foot switch as you feed cable. Proceed slowly. Do not allow tension to build up if the cable head stops and the cage continues to rotate. To chew through the clog, tighten the cable-lock bolt and loosen and feed cable as needed.

If necessary, attack the clog through the main drain cleanout. Correctly installed systems will ensure the snake follows the correct path. Stubborn or stripped cleanout plugs can be replaced with special friction-fit plugs.

2. If necessary, attack the clog through the main drain cleanout. Correctly installed systems will ensure the snake follows the correct path. Stubborn or stripped cleanout plugs can be replaced with special friction-fit plugs.

Kwik Spin Deluxe Hand Auger

Kwik Spin Deluxe Hand Auger

The Kwil-Spin is a light duty product for drains to 1 1/2 In. , it has a comfortable hand grip which eases effort. The 1/4 In. hollow core cable is held securely by a steel collar and thumb screw.


Toilet Auger 3 Ft.

Toilet Auger 3 Ft.

These high quality tools are available in 3 Ft. and 6 Ft. lengths and provide fast, safe clearing of toilet obstructions. They are available in Drop Head or Bulb Head models and can negotiate water -conserving toilets. It has a new, durable, kink-resistant, 1/2 In. compression-wrapped Inner Core cable.The large, ergonomically designed handles make it easier to use and the vinyl guard protects porcelain.


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Recommended Reading

Secrets Plumbers and drain-cleaners don't want you to know about drain-cleaning

Secrets Plumbers and drain-cleaners don't want you to know about drain-cleaning

Book Description

by Joseph C. Cook

This book is intended to educate you the consumer, on all aspects of drain-cleaning, and maintenance, you can do your self. It will describe to you in detail everything from preventative maintenance to unplugging your own drains using a hand snake or electric snake.

Topics include:

kicker hole, tub vent, controlled flush, soap buildup, electric snake, snake section, wax ring, drain cleaning, nearest toilet, hand snake, roof vent, floor drains, drain cleaner

Reviews:

None

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Last modified: Friday, 2007-11-02 22:04 PST