Cleaning out the sewer is not the most pleasant of jobs, but one that will have to be performed on all sewer lines at some point. Whether you are engaged in a routine cleaning or attempting to remove a clog, proper sewer cleaning requires the right equipment and techniques in order to do the best job possible. For professionals, your first sewer cleaning will be one of identification, preparation and proper technique in order to achieve the best sewer cleaning that is possible.
Why are you cleaning out the sewer line? Is it part of a routine cleaning or is there a blockage that has backed up the line? In either case, you are going to need the proper equipment and tools in order to get the job done correctly. Too often, blockages are only partially cleared or a more serious problem such as a break in the line or intrusion by foreign objects such as the roots of a tree or plant is ignored.
If you are there to clear a blockage, then you also want to clean out the sewer line as well to insure that nothing remains inside which will attract accumulation and cause another blockage in a short period of time. However, if you find a break or intrusion of roots for example, then you'll want to schedule another appointment to fix the problem if you cannot do it at that time.
Here are the basic steps for a typical sewer cleaning from the home, including the main sewer line, toilet and kitchen areas.
General Cleaning of Sewer Line
You'll always want to start by locating the main sewer drain on the outside of the house. Once located, you'll want to see where the sewer line curves as many potential blockages occur in this area. You'll want to remove the cap from the main drain and place the cutting blade on the end of your line. Be sure your blade is securely and properly attached and that you understand how to operate the blade. Insert the tip of the auger into the drain and begin your scouring process.
Always keep hold of your auger line as you feed it into the drain so if it should hit something you'll be aware of it. If what you strike is hard, it probably is another pipe so be careful. If it is softer, that is probably the clog.
The next step is turning off the water supply and draining the remaining water from the toilet. Then remove it from its base so you can access the sewer line from inside the house. You can also access the sewer line from the bottom of the house if there is a crawl space, but it's generally easier to go from the toilet access into the sewer line. Be sure to feed the auger the same way you did on the main drain line.
Finally, look under the kitchen sink for the clean-out. Find the water supply and shut it off and then remove the clean-out cap. Insert the auger and slowly feed it in until you feel the clog and then break through.
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