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Snaking Your Basement Drains: Precautions You Need to Take

Clearing a clogged basement drain can be a messy and smelly business for a plumber, but even more so for you. If you really want to bypass the expense of a plumber and do the job yourself, you should first consider the complications involved with clearing a basement drain by yourself. If you take the necessary precautions, you can do the job successfully on your own.

Don the Correct Protective Equipment

Even a plumber protects himself from everything that runs into and through your basement drains. To protect yourself at home, you might consider donning a pair of fisherman's waders, rubberized boots that extend up to the waist and have straps to hold them on. A pair of rubber kitchen cleaning gloves or rubber utility gloves will protect your hands from many of the germs, bacteria, viruses, and microscopic parasites down deep inside the drains. Also, wear a face shield if you do not want to get splattered in the face with any raw sewage that might be pulled up through the drain.

Use Only an Electric Plumber's Snake 

An electrically-powered, professional plumber's snake is the only thing long enough and powerful enough to snake out a basement drain. Your basement drains reach down to the sewer pipes under your home and then run to the city sewer pipes. Most blockages occur at the point where the drains meet the house's sewer pipes or where the house's sewer pipes meet the city's sewer lines. The snake has to reach at least eighteen feet (give or take six feet) before it can find the blockage and pull it free. Without the electrical motor behind the snake to power it through, you will not be able to manipulate or catch the blockage on your own. You can rent this type of snake from a rental equipment store.

Snake the Drain Several Times Carefully

Since you are not a trained plumber, you probably will not be able to tell when you have hit the blockage. You will need to learn how to "feel around" the drain's pipeline by snaking the drain several times and watching for the head of the drain snake to come back up clean and free of toilet paper, feces, hair, and whatever else might be stuck. Be very careful not to shove the snake down to the point you cannot retrieve it or jam it up in the drain line. Also, watch the pool of drain water around your feet. When it suddenly drains quickly or there is a sort of sucking sound, the drain is clear and you can stop snaking and start cleaning up. For assistance, talk to a professional like A Absolute Plumbing & Heating.


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