Sewer Plug? Here Is How To Fix It!
What Is A Sewer Line?
The sewer plug line is also known as the sewer main, it is the biggest drain pipe located in a drain plumbing system, the sewer drain pipe measures 3” or 4” in diameter. It is also called main drain because all the other piping systems drain into this bigger pipe.
If the sewer plug line is clogged, do not run water in the entire house until the problem has been isolated or fixed.
It is vital that one understands how the overall drain system in his or her house works; in case if problems occur, you will be able to promptly isolate the problem and effectively find a solution to it.
Determining The Clogged:
In any home, all drains are designed and connected to the sewer line, so, if the sewer plug happens, all the other drains that are located at the same level in the building will also be affected.
Meaning that, if you run water in the kitchen sink, laundry line, tub or toilet, the water and the sewer backup will occur in the lowest spots of the house, which is in most cases, the floor drain, tub or shower drains. That is the typical indicator that your home sewer drain is clogged.
However, if you flush the toilet and nothing backs up at the lowest drains, such as: floor drain or tub, then, it is not a main sewer plug problem; it is an isolated clogged in one of the secondary drains.
Checking The Sewer Plug:
1 – If water is coming up from the drains, look for toilet papers or human feces, if you don’t see anything like that, then, go to number 2.
2 – Check all toilet(s) in the basement or lowest compartment of the house, if the water in the bowl is lower than usual or, if the toilet(s) bowl(s) is/are full of water and waste. If so, the sewer plug in the line could be real, otherwise, try step 3.
3 – If possible, flush the toilet and check the floor drains, shower or tub drains located on the same floor level, if the water backs up, the sewer line is clogged.
Now, if the home has multiple branches of main lines, it is possible that one side of the house might have sewer plug while the other side might be running just fine, meaning that a branch of main line clogged and not the whole system.
In order to determine if just a branch of the sewer line is clogged, flush all the toilets in the house, however do it one at a time and, only after checking the lowest drains in the house, one by one. You might need a helper to assist you during this process.
This is a vital test to proper diagnose and determine where the sewer plug is located. By knowing that, you will able to quickly and effectively repair the sewer plug from the right access point.
What If You Can’t Fix It?
Working on a sewer line is just like working in any other plumbing drain, it is a very physical demanding job and, if you feel that you can’t do it, you might consider calling a professional.
I have been unclogging sewer lines for about 5 years now and, I have to admit that such a job is very physical demanding. So, in order to work on a main line, one must be in great physical condition and be aware of his or her current health limitations.
If you have a history of back pain, don’t feel like doing this type of job or don’t have the physical strength to do it, once again, don’t hesitate, and call a professional company to do the job.
Professional sewer machines that are used to unclog sewer line normally weight between 180 to 295 pounds.
But if you feel confident to do it and have what it takes to get the job done, by no means, don’t think that I am stopping you from doing it. As always, you and only you can decide what you can or can’t do.
Before Fixing The Plug:
Alright, now that you know how to diagnose a sewer plug problem and has decided to give a try, it is time to learn the process of how to remove a sewer plug from a main drain.
1 – First, learn about the history of the sewer line. How long is it? Does the sewer line go to the front or the back of your house? If possible, request a sewer blueprint from your city or county. A Blueprint in most cases will show how exactly the sewer line was built, where it goes and how long it is.
If you know the length of the sewer line, you will know the length of cable needed and the right machine to fix the problem.
2 – Locate a cleanout inside or outside of your home. Cleanouts provide better access for your sewer line. If you don’t have cleanouts, you will have to pull a toilet, choose the one that is the closest to the outside wall, usually the basement one.
3 – If you rent a machine, have it explained how to use it and make sure that the machine will have the length of cable needed for your job.
4 – Make sure you use protective tools and equipments: latex and leather gloves, protective glasses, earplugs, carpet pads for your floor, GFI cord and so on.
Working In The Sewer Line:
1 – When cabling makes sure that the machine is no further than 3 feet from the access point. You must keep a hand on the cable while the other hand you put on the feeder to control the speed of the cable.
2 – When you hit a blockage, slow down the cable to allow it to work on the blockage, once you pass the blockage you can go faster. Feed the whole cable in the drain line, you might have other blockages further down in the pipe.
3 – Once you went all the way with the cable, it is time to pull back he cable, you need to help the machine, so you will have to pull the cable also or, the cable will jam inside the drum.
4 – Slow down when getting close to the end of the cable, you might have roots or other forms of debris, and otherwise, you will have a big mass all over the room or on your face.
If the main has been unplugged then, it is time to re- install the toilet or put the cleanout cap back on the pipe and then test the sewer line.
I would recommend to camera and inspect the sewer line to look for possible damages, but for this, you will have to likely call a professional company to have it done.
To inspect a main sewer line usually cost anywhere from $260 to $350.
If you couldn’t clear the sewer line after you have run 100 feet of cables, you will probably need another machine to connect with the first one or, you will probably have to rent a bigger machine that carries more cable all together.
If you run enough cable inside the main sewer line and it didn’t work, the line might have solid buildups of sludge which means that, you might have to contract a professional company to power wash the line with a water pressure machine.
This last option usually cost around $650 for the first 2 hours only plus additional charges for each additional hour.
Well, I hope that this article has been in somewhat resourceful to all of you who are having problem with your clogged main drain.
Good luck! And drop me a line if you have any question that I might have forgotten to mention in here or throughout my site.