How to Open a Main Drain

One of the biggest duties of being a homeowner is performing the maintenance required to keep your home running smoothly. If you have a problem with the drainage in your home, the problem may be in your main drain. You will have to open it up to see if there is a clog that needs to be cleaned out. If you have water backing into your house and you have tried to open up the individual drains, opening the main drain is the next logical step.

Step 1

Fine the main drain opening ports. They are often in the garage, basement or a crawl space. They will be in a "Y" angle and closed with a steel or plastic cap with a square fitting. They are short pipes that branch off of the main ones. If you are having trouble finding them, follow drain pipes in your home around the foundation.

Step 2

Prepare for the mess. Place a bucket underneath to catch any debris that comes out. You will also want to spread a tarp or old towels on the floor and around the drain to catch any overflow.

Step 3

Take off the cap with the pipe wrench. Try to do this as slowly as possible as water that is backed up will want to flow out. Take off the cap as slowly as possible until the water stops leaking out and then remove it completely.

Step 4

Use a plumber's snake. The plumber's snake can now be placed inside the main drain to clean out any debris that is clogged inside. Push the snake into the drain until you come across resistance. The resistance will be the clog. Turn the snake on to push through clogs. Keep going until you have no more length of snake to push in. Then pull snake back and repeat in the main drain to the other direction.

Step 5

Put the cap back on, making sure that it is snug. Check your drains that were previously backing up.


  • If it is not a clog in your main drain, it may be roots that are affecting the sewer system. Call your local county water company for help. If the roots are in your yard and wrapped around the drain just from your home, you will need a plumbing professional to assist you.

About the Author

Melanie Fleury has been writing professionally since 1995. She has written for various educational websites such as Edhelper.com and is the educational consultant at the Knowledge Tree Center for Education. She enjoys creating curriculum for children with various learning styles. Fleury holds a master's degree in education specializing in early childhood from Ashwood University.