How to Clear a Floor Drain with a Power Auger

square floor drain
  • 1-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-150
What You'll Need
Power auger
Extension cord
Adjustable wrench
Penetrating oil (such as WD-40)
Wire brush
Pipe joint compound
Replacement clean-out plug cap (optional but recommended)
Bucket of hot water

If the floor drain in your basement is clogged, you run the risk of a flood that could damage furniture or stored belongings in the basement. Fortunately, you can use a power auger to quickly unclog even the toughest blockages. This simple how-to guide will show you how to unclog the floor drain in your basement with a power auger.

Step 1 - Turn Off Water

Turn off the water at the main shutoff valve for your home in order to avoid more water possibly pouring into the drain and causing a bigger flood problem. If you are using your washing machine, you should also turn it off and close the water supply or valve to it as well.

Step 2 - Rent a Power Auger

If you don't own a power auger, you can rent one at most home improvement stores or tool rental stores. So, visit your favorite retailer or rental shop and rent an electric power auger. If you don't have an extension cord, make sure to rent one of those as well.

Step 3 - Remove Clean-Out Plug on Drain Pipe

You need to remove the clean-out plug on the drain pipe. To do this, locate the plug on the pipe in your basement or underneath the sub-flooring. Then, use an adjustable wrench to remove the clean-out plug. If the plug is difficult to remove, spray it with some penetrating oil and wait about 30 minutes before trying again.

Step 4 - Insert Power Auger into Drain Pipe

Once you have the clean-out plug removed, take the power auger and feed some of the cable into the drain pipe at the clean-out plug area. Alternatively, if you don't have a drain clean-out plug, you may want to simply remove the drain cover on the floor and place the cable for the power auger into it. Place the cable into the drain pipe until you start to feel resistance caused by the blockage.

Step 5 - Use the Power Auger to Remove Clog

Set the motor on the power auger to turn clockwise. Then, turn the power on to the tool. Allow the power auger cable to spin inside the drain pipe for a few revolutions and then switch the motor off. Switch the motor to run counterclockwise. Again, allow the cable to spin a few times and then turn the machine off. While doing this, push and pull the auger cable in the pipe. Repeat the process a few times until you feel no more resistance in the drain pipe.

Step 6 - Pour Hot Water in Drain

Once the drain clog has been cleared, take a bucket of hot water and pour it into the clean-out plug or floor drain. This will help to move the blockage through the pipe.

Step 7 - Replace Clean-Out Plug

Take a new clean-out plug for your drain pipe and place a few drops of pipe joint compound on the threaded end. Then, spread the compound around so that it covers the entire threaded area of the fitting. Insert the plug into the opening and hand tighten it. Then, take an adjustable wrench and turn it an additional one half turn. If you removed the drain cover to unclog the pipe, replace the cover and tighten the screws.