Drain Cleaning Tips »
How Do I Unclog Yard Debris and Dirt?
Yard debris and dirt can be heavier and more difficult to clean and flush than indoor waste, so you'll need the right equipment for the job.
- Consider using a sewer jetter to clean yard debris and dirt out of a landscape drain.
- A sewer jetter that's powered by your pressure washer can help you flush away yard debris, dirt and silt so fewer outdoor clogs come back.
- A gas pressure washer rated 2.0 to 4.0 GPM is recommended to clean landscape drains up to 4" ID, and a gas machine rated 3.0 to 4.0 GPM is recommended for drains up to 6" ID.
- Electric pressure washers are not recommended unless the pipe is less than 50 feet long and you've got plenty of time and patience, since yard debris, dirt and silt can be difficult to flush with smaller machines.
- Before you start, find drain openings that are downhill from the problem areas. The job can be much easier if you start from downhill openings and clean in an uphill direction to give the debris a path to exit the drain.
- You should avoid using a sewer jetter in these cases:
- 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. Note that a sewer jetter that's powered by your pressure washer can't remove tree roots.
- If you think that the drain could have sections that are separated or collapsed, or if the drain is made of ceramic material (clay or concrete), you should inspect the drain with a video camera to make sure there's no large crack or damaged section where a sewer jetter or mechanical auger might get stuck.
- To clean yard debris and dirt 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 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 pipe as you squeeze the trigger. For more thorough cleaning, every few feet pull back about halfway and then continue moving forward.
- After you have finished cleaning the drain, 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.
- If you're not comfortable performing any of these steps, hiring a landscape service company could save you money in the long run. To find a service company in your area:
- 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 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 providers 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 repairs 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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