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A clogged sink, toilet, or floor drain is one thing, but if sewage starts spilling up into your home, you could have a more severe sewer clog on your hands. Everything from a greasy clog to intrusive tree roots to a broken sewer pipe may be to blame. Before you call a plumber, try these tips to unclog the main sewer line yourself.

Stop Using Water

The first step is to avoid running water, flushing the toilet, or using plumbing appliances until you clear the sewer clog.

Clear the Clog with a Plunger

If the clog isn’t too deep, you might be able to clear it with a plunger. Make sure you use the right one for the job.

  • A cup plunger has a standard, cup-shaped rubber head. This is ideal for plunging sinks, tubs, and floor drains.
  • A flange plunger has a soft flap that folds out from inside the cup. This design is best for plunging toilets.
  • An accordion plunger is made of hard plastic. The air-filled accordion design means it can produce a lot of force, but it’s more difficult to use. This type of plunger is intended for toilets.

Find the Sewer Cleanout Line

If a plunger doesn’t do the trick, you’ll need to access the sewer directly through the sewer cleanout plug. This is usually located outside, just in front of your house. It might also be in the garage or basement.

Look for a 4-inch pipe with a square knob or indentation. Once you find it, unscrew the cap with a wrench to access the sewer line. If you don’t have a sewer cleanout or can’t find it, contact a plumber for help.

Unclog the Main Sewer with a Plumbing Snake

A plumbing snake or auger is a useful and inexpensive tool you can rent or buy at a hardware store. Hand-crank models are small and portable, while electric versions are more robust and have a longer cable. Depending on how deep the obstruction is, you may need an electric drain snake to unclog your sewer line through the cleanout plug. If you have no experience with this equipment, consider leaving the job to a professional plumber.

Clear the Sewer Line with High-Pressure Water

This technique mimics the hydro-jetting tools plumbers use to clear stubborn sewer clogs. To attempt it, you need a garden hose, trigger gun, and sewer jetter, which you can rent or buy at a hardware store. Blast through stubborn clogs at the source by inserting the high-pressure nozzle into the sewer cleanout. You’ll need help from a second person when attempting this technique.

Sewer cleaning is not an easy task. While you can always attempt it yourself, you may have greater success calling a professional plumber. Parley’s PPM Plumbing, Heating & Cooling can get the job done. Call us at 801-226-3033 if you live in Utah County, or dial 801-229-2665 if you’re a Salt Lake County resident. You can also contact us online for more plumbing tips and tricks.

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