A clogged sewer line or plugged-up pipe can pose a serious problem for homeowners. On one hand, calling a professional plumber carries the prospect of a working sewer, though at a high cost. Conversely, with the proper preparation and a fearless mentality, the average homeowner can save some cash by doing the job himself. A sewer snake is a great and inexpensive tool that can be purchased at any hardware store. If you do not have a snake, however, several alternatives are available for clearing your sewer line.
Run hot water straight from the tap. This may help drains or pipes that are partially clogged. Allow the water to run for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. You can also drain the water from the toilet tank and replace it with hot water. Try flushing and then using a force-ball type plunger to force the hot water into the line.
Apply a chemical drain cleaner. These can be found in almost every hardware and department store. Follow the directions on the container and apply the cleaner to the clogged line. Many chemical cleaners contain caustic substances that dissolve organic clogs.
Purchase a force-ball plunger. These plungers differ from the common cup-type plungers in that they form a more perfect seal with the drain. Therefore, a force-ball plunger is capable of applying more pressure into the drain to dislodge the blockage. When using the plunger, have an adequate amount of water in the bowl of the toilet. Again, if no water is present, try placing hot water in the bowl. Plunge several times, then quickly remove the plunger. Repeat this until the clog breaks free.
Locate and remove the clean-out plug on the sewer line. This is frequently found on one of the sewer lines lin the basement. Sometimes a clean-out plug can be found outside, near drainage lines associated with rain spouts.
Place a large bucket or container below the plug. This will help prevent making a mess of your basement floor as it will catch any water or drainage forced back through the line.
Attach a high-pressure nozzle to the end of a garden hose. These nozzles are often fairly cheap and can be purchased at most hardware or garden supply stores.
Run the garden hose into the sewer line through the clean-out plug. Run as much of the hose in as you can, or until you come up against the clog.
Open the water valve slightly at first. Running too much water immediately may simply cause a rush of water back through the sewer line, into your basement. Work the hose back and forth as you gradually increase the amount of water. The high-pressure water should break through the blockage. Continue running water through the sewer until you feel that the line is entirely clear.