How to Fix a Main Drain Clog

Though plumbing issues can fall anywhere between simple to fix and “call a professional right away”, knowing what can cause them and what you should do can be far trickier. 

Clogs are one such problem that can often seem quite big to most homeowners. With most of the plumbing hidden in the walls of your home, figuring out whether you’re dealing with a simple clogged sink or a main drain clog can make dealing with it worse.

Clogged drains just underneath the sink are relatively easy to deal with and don’t need many extra steps. Sewer drain clogs, on the other hand, are often best left to professionals with the right tools and training to use them well. Many homeowners still prefer to do it themselves, whether it’s due to financial reasons or simply ease of access. 

Whatever the reason is, this article can act as a guide to help show you how to fix a drain clog by yourself.

If you want to get a professional opinion or would just rather have a plumber’s help, contact our team at Diamondback to schedule a visit.

What are the signs of a clog in the main sewer line?

Clogged drains are a surprisingly frequent occurrence, especially with all the grease and soap that goes down the drains. A clog in the main drain line, though rare, can often be formed in many of the same ways. However, due to where they’re often located, a sewer drain clog can go unnoticed for quite a long time. 

Fortunately, there are many signs that you can look out for if you suspect a clog:

Gurgling sounds from the pipes

If you do have a clog somewhere along the main sewer line, there’s a high chance that you’ll hear quite a few odd sounds. Regardless of the cause, whether it’s a toilet paper clog in the main drain line or grease build-up in the system, doing something as simple as flushing a toilet can cause gurgling sounds. As the water drains away, it’s pushed through a partial clog, creating streams of bubbles that pop and make odd sounds.

If you’re dealing with a pesky sewer line clog, there’s also the chance that you might hear bubbling, hissing or trickling whenever you use a drain, though gurgling is the most common sound you might hear. These noises can come from anywhere in your home due to how the sound travels through the plumbing. 

So, if you hear any of these sounds or are experiencing similar plumbing problems, call our team or read on.

Dark water backing up into your pipes

One of the most identifiable signs that you have a main sewer drain clog is water backing up into your tubs and sinks through the drains. Since there’s a clog somewhere in the drain line, the water that goes down through the pipes has nowhere to go other than up from where it came. 

Due to many sewer lines being underneath the house, the water finds its way through the lowest drain. And in many homes, this point is any possible drain in your home’s basement.

Due to how it went down the drain, the water definitely won’t look clear. Since all the waste, soap and grease that went down your drains ends up in your clogged sewer lines, the water will more than likely be dark and smell quite terrible. Often, this darker water can have raw sewage in it as well, making it a health hazard for you and your family members. 

If you plan on dealing with it yourself, make sure to use proper protection and powerful cleaners.

How to start cleaning out the clog

To start cleaning out the main drain clog, find your home’s sewer line cleanout location. Typically, the sewer cleanout location is a small t-shaped section of pipe with a cap that’s a few inches off the ground. Once you find it, use a pipe wrench to loosen the cap a bit at a time. Any water that’s still inside will spill out quickly, so wear waterproof gloves and boots or step away as soon as the cap’s been removed.

Let all the water drain out before slowly inserting a professional-grade pipe auger into it. Keep pushing it through the pipe until you meet resistance. Then, if the auger is automatic, start it up to start removing the clog. Once the resistance is gone, remove the auger head and clean it off. Since there is a high chance that there are still a few more clogs in the pipe, keep feeding the auger through until all the clogs are gone.

Once you’re done with the last of the clogs, leave the auger inside and use a garden hose to wash out the pipe. With the water on full blast, this will clear out any lingering grease and grime as well as clean off the auger’s end. When it’s all clean, replace the sewer’s cleanout cap, making sure to avoid tightening it too much. With that done, you’ve dealt with your main drain clog issues.

There are still clogs in the sewer lines!

If you find that even after cleaning the line out your water is still draining slowly or have a main drain clog in your basement, the next solution is to call our team at Diamondback Plumbing. The clog itself could be much further into the pipes than expected and could require hydro jetting

Unfortunately, most hydro jetting equipment is best used by a professional, since the force behind the water can damage the pipes without the proper experience.


Clogged main lines are a major problem when it comes to your home’s plumbing. The clog can cause wastewater to drain away slowly and at worst, all the waste can back up into your basement, causing a hazardous situation for whoever goes down to deal with it. Fortunately, there is a way to try cleaning it out by yourself. 

But, if the steps we’ve detailed above don’t work, the best solution is to call our team at Diamondback Plumbing as soon as possible.

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