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How To Unclog A Basement Floor Drain

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If you own a home, the last thing you want is a flooded basement from a backed up floor drain. Most basements have floor drains to help remove the excess water from central air units, washing machines, and hot water heaters. However, basement floor drains can get clogged with debris. You may be able to unclog the drain yourself by following these tips:

Remove Water

Wear old clothes, boots, goggles, and gloves. Remove as much standing water a you can with a bucket and mop. Do not let anyone run tap water while you are removing water. Keep cleaning water until the drain cover is exposed. Avoid touching hands to your face as flood water can be a health risk.

If you accidentally touch your face, wash it immediately.

Inspect and Clean the Drain

Take the drain cover off and examine the inside with a flashlight. Check for obstructions and debris. Remove the blockage with your gloves by hand. Place removed debris or object into the bucket. If no obstructions are visible, straighten a coat hanger to feel for blockages. Coat hangers are effective for removing grease and hair.

 Plunge the Drain

Try to remove excess water and loosen blockages with plungers. Place a plunger over the drain and keep plunging. Test the drain by pouring water down it. If that doesn't work, you will need a plumbing rod or power snake.

Try a Plumbing Rod

Insert a plumbing rod as you pour in water. Water will help flush out objects. Push it further down each time rotating clockwise until it stops.

Insert a Power Snake

For tough obstructions, rent or buy a power snake. First, remove the clean-out plug with a wrench. This is commonly located beneath the sub-floor or on the basement pipe. Insert several feet of cable into the drain pipe. If there is no clean-out plug, take off the screen. Keep feeding the cable until you feel resistance. Use the clockwise setting on the motor and turn on the snake. Let it run for several spins. Turn off the motor and set to clockwise.

Let it run for several spins again. Shut the motor off while pulling and pushing the cable. Continue until the blockage is gone. Pour hot water down the drain. Cover the threaded area of a new clean-out plug with a pipe compound. Secure it in place with a wrench.

You should be able to unclog a basement drain yourself. If you are unsuccessful, you may need plumbing services.