How To Auger/Snake Your Main Drain

Since the main drain is responsible for flushing out the water from your property, sooner or later, especially if you’re not careful with what you throw down the toilet or sink, it is bound to clog. When that happens, it’s time to either tackle the problem yourself or call in a plumber. Most of the times though, people feel better to just call a certified plumber to fix this problem for them.

Signs and causes of a clogged main drain

  • There are quite a few signs that will tell you the main drain is clogged and they include the clogging of multiple fixtures (bathtubs, showers and toilets), but also strange reactions when using fixtures. One of these reactions involves water backing up after you flush the toilet. You should also take notice if the sink bubbles or if water in the toilet backs up or overflows when using the washing machine.
  • In terms of causes, the main drain can easily be clogged by trying to flush solids or any items that by nature cannot easily disintegrate in water or items that are too large to be completely flushed out through the piping system.

Can you ignore the problem?

Unfortunately, delaying fixing this problem results in a massive clogging of all your fixtures, so you won’t be able to use your toilet, shower and bathtub anymore. If you do, they will slowly flood your home will backed up sewage.


  • You can rent an auger or sewer snake, which is a 50 or 100 ft. cable attached to a large spool and controlled by an electric motor.
  •  You will find an access hole in the sewer line intended just for clean out purposes. It might be a threaded plug at the end of a pipefitting located in the crawl space or basement. It might be outside under a manhole type cover in the ground. In older homes without a cleanout the toilet will be pulled to access the sewer.
  • After the clean out cover is removed the auger is placed in the sewer and wound down until it meets resistance. This resistance is probably the clog, or part of the pipe. After several tries the clog should break free.
  •  Water from a water hose can then be put into the hole to make sure everything is washed on down.

If you cannot get the clog to break loose, you will need a plumber for this job. You don’t want to force the auger, and risk damaging your pipes. If you have to remove the toilet, in the case of an older home, you may also be better off to hire a pro.

While some people may decide to ignore this problem, they’ll only be able to ignore it for a limited amount of time, since it’s only going to get worse with time and either flood their house or make it impossible to use the waterlines.