How to Snake a Floor Drain
The first step you need to do when snaking the floor drain is to remove the drain cap. This may be as easy as popping it off, or you may need to chisel or pry it open using a chisel, flat head screw driver, or putty knife. You may also need to unscrew it if it has screws in place. You will then look inside the drain and there should be a clean-out plug to one side and the hole going straight down that leads to the P-trap. The P-trap has water that keeps sewer gasses from getting into your home and the clean-out plug will lead to a pipe that goes straight down the drain. If you have a shop vacuum, you should use it to suck out all of the water and gunk in the P-trap.
Next, you will need to remove the cap from the clean-out plug, which you may need pliers or a chisel if it is stuck. This is where you will be inserting the snake. You should start with the smallest snake first, as this may do the job. If not, you may go up one size each time. As you begin inserting the plumber’s snake into the drain, be sure to rotate it as you go. When you feel some resistance, then you have probably reached the blockage. Push into the blockage with the plumber’s snake and keep rotating it until you feel it break loose. Any water in the drain will flush away what has broken loose. You can also try to pull the cable out and pull the gunk out with it. Repeat this step as many times as needed.
After breaking up the blockage, you need to remove the snake and clean any gunk off of it. You will then pour your hot water down the drain. This will help flush away any remaining bits of the blockage that have stuck in the drain. If needed, use towels to clean up any mess from the water. You can then clean the clean-out plug and place Teflon tape around it to make it easier to remove in the future. Replace the clean-out plug back into the clean-out pipe and then pour some more water in the drain to check the drainage in the pipe and to refill the P-trap. Finally, replace the drain cap and you are done.
What causes clogs
Floor drains can be found in many places such as the basement, laundry room, utility room, or garage. Because these drains are usually unseen or go unnoticed, they do not get the regular maintenance and cleaning they should. These drains are essential in getting rid of all of the nasty substances that come out of home appliances, stuff off of your car like melted snow and dirt, and everything you put in your washing machine like soap scum, hair, and lint. Floor drains get their fair share of work and sometimes because clogged from everything that goes into them.
There are a lot of things going into a floor drain, therefore there are many different reasons as to why they may be clogged. Some of the culprits for a clogged floor drain are broken or damaged pipes, debris, grease, and sediment build-up, heavy rain that collects leaves and other debris in the system, water flow problems, or improperly installed pipes. Other things that may clog your floor drain could be anything coming from the draining system that you put into it from your appliances and even your sewer system. Although some of these problems may require a professional, if something is lodged in the drain, you may be able to unclog it yourself.
There are a few supplies you will most definitely need when trying to unclog any drain. Most plumbing tools are quite affordable and for the bigger items, you can either purchase them or even rent them from a hardware store. You may already have most of the items you will need for a clogged drain, but there are a few you may not have thought about. Although you may not need everything, some things that may come in handy are a chisel, Philips or flathead screw driver or putty knife, rags, bucket of hot water, work gloves, pipe wrench, hammer, shop vacuum, Teflon tape, container to collect gunk in, a plunger, a plumber’s snake (also called an auger), or an electric auger.
How to unclog a floor drain when a snake doesn’t work
There are plenty of Do-It-Yourself and home remedies out there to help you unclog a drain whether it be before resorting to a plumber’s snake or in case the snake did not work. Before you try a plumber’s snake or expensive electric auger, or even pouring chemicals down your drain, you should try using a plunger. Almost everyone already has one of these for use on their toilets, but they come in handy for any drain in your home. Place the plunger over the drain and make sure you have a good seal. You may even try using petroleum jelly to help with sealing. Then decompress or push up and down several times. You can pour some water down the drain to see if it will drain or not.
Baking soda and vinegar do wonders to clean out a drain. Not only does the baking soda and vinegar have cleaning properties, but when mixed together, they react just like the volcanos from science class. When mixing these two products, you will want to use a one to one ratio. First, pour in boiling hot water and let it soak for ten minutes. Then you will pour the baking soda, then pour in the vinegar and let this sit for ten minutes as well. This will fizz up and create a cleaning reaction. Next, slowly pour in some more boiling water. You can also try the overnight method by pouring in the baking soda, then the vinegar and plugging up the drain hole with rags. This will create a buildup of pressure that will push the clog out while cleaning the drain. In the morning, remove the rags and rinse the drain.
You could also try using soda pop. Yes, the kind you drink, particularly Pepsi or Coca-Cola. These two sodas have things like phosphoric acid that help eat away at the debris, even calcium buildup. Pour a two-liter of room temperature soda down the drain, let it sit for an hour or two, and then rinse with hot water. You can also try the same method as the baking soda and vinegar with baking soda and salt. This mixture will produce a chemical reaction that will dissolve the blockage. If natural remedies are not getting the job done, you can try chemicals.
You can try using caustic soda (sodium hydroxide), which you can get at a local hardware store. This product can cause chemical burns so you will want to wear rubber gloves and use it with caution. In a bucket, add three-fourths cold water and three cups caustic soda. It will start to fizz and heat up. Pour the mixture down the drain and let it sit for twenty to thirty minutes before rinsing with boiling water. Professionals do not recommend using chemical drain cleaners because they are not only dangerous but can also cause damage to your pipes. There are plenty in stores that you can buy and try, but if any of the above methods have not worked, you should probably be contacting a professional.