family plumbing awareness

family plumbing awareness

2 Basement Drain Clean Out Mistakes To Avoid

Patsy Peterson

If you have a clogged drain in your basement, then it is fairly easy to clear out the clog through the main clean out pipe that is attached to the drain. This pipe is often set close to the drain opening or along a long stretch of the drain pipe outside your home. A snake or auger within this pipe can clear the clog. However, before you walk away from the drain, you should make sure that you have not made a common basement drain cleaning mistake. Keep reading to learn a little bit about these mistakes and how they can be avoided. 

Not Replacing the Clean Out Cap

The small clean out pipe attached to your basement drain will have a cap over it. This cap prevents both water and wastes from entering the pipe. This actually helps to prevent clogs, since the pipe does not contain a grate or other closure to keep materials from moving inside the pipe like the main drain does.

Unfortunately, even if you want to replace the clean out cap, many of these devices break when they are released. While some caps may be plastic or PVC varieties that can be released by simply releasing two screws, many caps will be older varieties made from steel that oxidize over time. These steel caps may be fitted with rubber stoppers on the inside, or the entire cap itself may be made from rubber. Rubber tends to crack as it dries out though, and sometimes the screw clamps that hold the device may wear out as well. 

Universal Caps

If you have broken the clean out cap, or if it will not secure back in place, then place a small piece of tin foil over the end of the pipe opening and place a rubber band over the edge. Go to your local plumbing supply store and purchase a universal clean out cap. While you can look for a cap that matches your old one, you may not find an exact match. Most clean out drain openings will match the three or four inch diameter of the main drain line, but virtually any size pipe can be used for the clean out, because the pipe itself is merely supposed to be used for cleaning purposes. This fact, along with the possible tapers or ridges on the end, means that a universal cap is a better option.

Universal clean out caps feature a round rubber stopper within the inside of the device. This stopper can be forced outward against the inside of the drain pipe with the help of a twist or knob on the flat part of the cap to create a tight seal.

Ignoring Pieces of Wood on the Auger

Almost all basement drains attach directly to the main sewage or drain line since they sit so low along the base of the drainage system. This may mean that the auger you use to clear the basement drain may need to be forced deep in the drain pipe where a main clog is actually located. While it may seem like the basement drain is clogged since water and debris only have a short distance to drain before reaching the main line, it may actually be this main line that has the clog. This is especially true if you notice that your overall drainage is somewhat slow or sluggish. Also, if you extend the full 25 feet of a top snake through the drain or if you need to upgrade to a longer 50 or 75 foot rooter device, then you have likely surpassed the basement drain line.

If the auger is forced deep in the drain, then you should not call it a day if you feel the clog give way. Make sure to inspect the auger when it is pulled back away. If the snake appears to contain small pieces of wood on the end, then this is a sign of major drain line damage and the possibility of tree roots causing the clog issue. If you see the pieces of wood or a great deal of soil, then contact a plumbing professional immediately to investigate the issue. 

You can click here for info about drain cleaning services in your area if you need help with a serious clog or damage. 


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family plumbing awareness

Keeping your home's plumbing system in good working order is a family job. Have you taught your kids what should never be flushed down the toilets or poured down the drains? Do your kids know what to watch for to know that there is a plumbing problem that needs to be addressed? If your kids know what to look for, they will be less likely to contribute to making a minor plumbing problem more serious. This blog will show you things that you should teach your kids so that everyone can work together to protect the entire plumbing system in your home.