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How Do I Clean a Clogged Drain Tile?

Clean a Clogged Drain Tile

To unclog a drain tile choose the right drain cleaner for the job.

  1. Consider using a sewer jetter to clean and remove dirt, sand, and yard debris that clog the foundation perimeter drain tile outside your home.Needle Nose Drain Cleaner
    • A sewer jetter that's powered by your pressure washer can help you flush away the silt and debris so fewer clogs come back.
    • A Needle Nose™ drain cleaner is a sewer jetter with a tougher, braided steel jacket and a special compact nozzle tip that allows it to pass through more types and sizes of drains.
    • Powering the sewer jetter with a gas pressure washer rated 2.0 GPM to 4.0 GPM can make the job much easier, since outdoor silt and debris can take significant force to scrub and flush out of the line.
    • Electric pressure washers are not recommended for cleaning drain tiles unless the clog consists of easily flushed material that is less than 25 feet from the bottom opening.
    • Unclog the Drain TileBefore you start the job, find one or more drain openings that are downhill from the clog. Start from the downhill opening and clean in an uphill direction to help give the sediment a path to exit the drain.
    • Note: you should avoid using a sewer jetter in these cases:
    • If you have a non-cylindrical basement waterproofing drain tile, sold as WaterGuard, SealOnce and other brands, the design usually has rectangular corners that block sewer jetters and other drain cleaners. If you have a clogged drain tile that does not have a round cross-section, contact the installer for help to service or replace the drain tile.
    • If you think that the clog could be caused by tree roots, and you're sure that the drain is in good physical condition, consider renting a large mechanical drum auger with a root cutting blade to clear the line.
    • If you think that the drain tile could have sections that are separated or collapsed, or if it is made of ceramic material (clay or concrete), you should inspect the drain tile with a video camera to make sure there's no large crack or damaged section where a sewer jetter or mechanical snake might get stuck.
  2. Needle Nose Drain CleanerTo clean your drain tile with a sewer jetter:
    • Put on fluid resistant work gloves and eye protection.
    • Connect the drain cleaner to your trigger gun, start the pressure washer, and then guide the nozzle at least a foot into the drain tile opening, taking care to feed the nozzle in the direction of the clog, before you start the flow of water.
    • Guide the sewer jetter into the drain tile as you squeeze the trigger. For more thorough cleaning, every few feet pull back about halfway and then continue moving forward.Clog Hog Sewer Jetter Video
    • After you have finished cleaning the drain tile, pull the drain cleaner out. Use care to release the trigger to stop the flow of water before the nozzle reaches the drain opening. Then replace any drain cover.
    • For more details you can watch this 3 minute video.
  3. If you're not comfortable performing any of these steps, hiring a waterproofing service company could save you money in the long run. To find a service company in your area:Waterproofing Professional
    • Start by asking family, friends and co-workers to recommend a company that has performed similar services for them.
    • If you are unable to find a good recommendation from someone you know, search local directories like Google Maps, Yelp and CitySearch for waterproofing service companies nearby who have good online reviews. Don't always trust reviews from individuals who published very few other reviews, or from people who give only positive reviews to everyone. Be aware that good service companies sometimes get a small number of negative reviews for reasons that might not be relevant to your situation. Look for a company with several reviews that tell a positive, believable story about services that are similar to yours.
    • After you find one or more service companies that seem to have a good reputation, search online for the company name and the names of individuals at the company, if known. Take into account both the positive and negative information that you find about the company.
    • Be aware that good service companies sometimes have a backlog of several days during peak times when there are low temperatures, heavy rainfall or holidays. Sometimes heavy demand can be a sign of a company with lots of repeat customers.

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