How to Properly Remove Clogs from Basement Floor Drains


If you have a floor drain in your basement that seems to be clogged or water seems to be moving quite slowly through the opening, then it is in your best interest to resolve the issue before your basement floods with water. These drains provide an important function, because they may be connected to a much larger basement waterproofing system.

A simple clog removal can be performed to see if you can get the drain moving again. If this does not work though, then you need to make sure to contact a professional plumber for a drain cleaning as soon as possible.

Search for the Cleanout Plug 

If you have a basement drain that was installed properly, then you also have a small pipe located just off to the side of this drain pipe called a cleanout pipe. This is a pipe that is set at an angle to the main drain and it can be used to clear away debris and matter that has stuck in the basement drain. This cleanout is usually necessary, because grates, screens, and other permanent formations are typically adhered over the main drain opening to prevent solids from moving down the drain.

The cleanout pipe can be located in several different areas. It may sit directly next to the drain opening across the floor of your basement, or it may sit outside your home close to your foundation. The cleanout pipe will sit next to the drain in most cases. Look to see if this second opening is covered by a cap. If it is, then the cap will be a six or eight sided hex-shaped device made from either plastic or rubber.

If you do not see a cap, then this likely means that the main drain opening clogged many years ago and the cap was removed to allow water to move through the cleanout pipe instead of the main drain. The cleanout has likely clogged as well at this point.

Removing the Cover

If you have found the cleanout plug, then look at the cap to see if there is a nut, screw, bolt, or another piece of hardware holding it in place. Use a screwdriver, socket wrench, or hex key to remove the hardware. If the piece does not loosen, then think about using a penetrant fluid to free it.

If this does not help, then place some tinfoil around the plastic or rubber cap and use a propane or butane torch to heat the fitting for 5 or 10 minutes. Use a hammer or your other tools to try to release the hardware afterwards. In some cases, a plumbing wrench will also be needed to release the main cap as well once the hardware is released.

If there is no cap on the cleanout pipe, then you do not need to worry about removing it. However, you will need to purchase one to cover the open pipe once you are done cleaning out the drain. Measure the diameter of the pipe and go to your local hardware store to find a rubber plug with a metal twist key on top that can tighten the device. When the key is twisted, metal prongs force the rubber stopper piece to expand and this closes off the pipe once the plug is secured. This type of plug is also a good replacement for plugs that are hard to remove due to the build up of rust.

Unclogging the Drain

With the cleanout pipe open, use a small 25 foot top snake to clear out the clog. This device can be purchased at your local hardware store if you do not have one, and it looks like a flexible and wound piece of wire tubing that can be forced through the drain with the help of a handle. Force the snake down the cleanout pipe until you feel no more resistance against the snake. Pull it up and remove any debris that has attached itself to the open end.

Pour about a gallon of water through the pipe to make sure fluids can flow freely. Replace the cap and pour water down the main basement drain as well. If drainage is still sluggish, then think about forcing one gallon of hot water through the drain to release debris that was released by the snake device. You can also contact local plumbers for more information and assistance.


21 September 2015

Exploring The Importance of Plumbing Pipes

Hi everyone, my name is Linda Strickerts. I am going to talk about plumbing pipes problems, repairs and upgrades on this site. Although the pipes hide beneath the floors and behind the walls, they are an integral part of the home. Without plumbing pipes, we would still be heading out to the outhouse to do our business. Washing clothes, dishes and ourselves would also not be possible without carrying buckets of water in and out of the home. I hope to explore the different ways plumbing pipes changed our lives for the better. I will talk about keeping the pipes in great shape as well. Thanks.