How to Snake a Sewer Line

A plumber uses a snake.
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-100
What You'll Need
Sectional or drum machine
Rubber gloves

Snaking a sewer line can be a tricky job if you have never done it before. Here are a few materials that you will need along with some steps that will guide you through the process without the help of a professional.

Step 1 - Find Access

Gaining access to the clog that you are trying to fix can be one of the hardest points in this process. Begin by finding the best place to start this process. A few of your options include outdoors, basement, floor or even a roof vent. Once you have found access, you can move on to the next steps.

Step 2 - Gather Equipment

Next, decide and gather all of the equipment that you will need for the project. Decide how far the area is before choosing the proper equipment as they will vary. Two of your options are sectional or drum machines. If you are going through your roof, then the best clean out machine for you is the sectional. This will allow you to keep the set up right by the clean out and then you can snake in smaller sections and clear them out one at a time. The other option, the drum machine, is great for other areas, like outdoor and basement clean outs. While you do have the option of buying this equipment, it can be extremely expensive and typically you will only use it a few times during your years of being a homeowner. A great idea is to check the local rental places to see if you can rent out the equipment for a cheaper price for a couple of hours or even a few days to get the project finished.

Step 3 - Push Cable Through

Be sure to wear rubber gloves as you are working on this project. Once you have your equipment chosen and set up, push or snake the cable through the drain. You will be able to feel the blockage with the machine when you hit it. Try to use the pipe and machine to pull the blockage out if at all possible.This process may take hours or days to complete and will need a lot of patience along the way. You will need to work the crank slowly as you go along and allow the blockage to catch on the coiled metal wire from the equipment.

If you run into any problems along the way you will want to stop what you are doing and call a plumber to finish the job or to gain more direction. Many times, a tree branch or root is the cause of this problem. While you are going through the process, you will want to keep an eye out at what you are finding along the way. If you come across a good amount of dirt, grass, or mud this typically means that you have a broken sewer line and will need to have it replaced.