Clogged Drain Pipe? Try This DIY Emergency Fix

If you have ever suffered a clogged drain pipe, you already understand that these problems rarely occur during regular business hours. Instead, sinks, showers, and bathtubs seem to stop draining when the home is filled to bursting for a family get-together or celebration or another time that is just as inconvenient. While calling for emergency plumping repairs should always be the first thing homeowners do when faced with drains that have stopped draining, there is a temporary DIY fix they can try that can often let accumulated water drain until professional help arrives.  

What you will need for the repair

This temporary drain cleaning fix will only work if homeowners have a way to access the sewer drain pipe that leads from their home to their septic tank or from their home to the city sewage arterial line in the street. This access should be in the form of one or more capped cleanout ports that are visible above ground along the course of the drain line. In addition, homeowners will need a flashlight, a length of garden hose, and access to an outdoor faucet to attempt the DIY repair. Since this process can be messy, you may also want to wear protective or old clothing and waterproof boots and gloves. 

How to clear the drain pipe temporarily

Once you have located the capped cleanout port closest to the exterior wall of the home and are ready to attempt the fix, remove the cap and set it aside. Using the flashlight, look down into the port. If you see waste water that is not moving, you are probably standing ahead of the clog, which is likely located between you and the septic tank. 

After hooking up the garden hose to an outdoor faucet, turn the water on and insert the hose into the access port, making sure that the hose is being fed in towards the septic tank and away from the house. Once the hose has been inserted several feet and it becomes difficult to insert more of it, you have probably located the point of the clog. When this happens, begin moving the hose back and forth several inches at a time in an attempt to break up the clog and wash it through the system. You will know when this happens because the standing water in the pipe will begin to clear. 

At this point, homeowners should ask someone in the home to run some water in a sink while the homeowner uses the flashlight and observes the movement of this water through the access port. If the water flows through and does not back up, the clog is likely cleared enough to use the home's plumbing until a professional repair can be made and the cleanout cap should be replaced.