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Old 11-30-2009, 09:14 AM   #1
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How to open/clean cast iron floor drain

Have 80 year old home. The basement floor drain is plugged. I would think the trap has dirt,natural and synthetic fibers, etc. over the years packed in is there a method to clean the drain?


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Old 11-30-2009, 03:31 PM   #2
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I'll admit I'm not familiar with basement problems at all. Way down here in Dixie, we just don't have them. But: my experience is with cast iron floor drains used in industrial settings, so maybe this will help. I have found that some cast iron drain covers, both round and square, tend to be held in with either of two options--Either they were put in tight, or maybe have 2, 3, or 4 screws holding them into place. The one's which were not held in with screws usually can be just pulled straight up, not easy after all those years of stuff getting in between the C.I. drain cover and usually the C.I. "bell/spigot" type pipe. Clean out around the actual C.I. cover, this will usually help. As far as the one's with screws: Usually by now the screws have deteriorated to the point that they cannot be unscrewed as designed. I have had to drill off the counter-sunk heads, and the round-headed one's that sit into a recess for the head. Once you figure out which type you may have, half of the work is over. Then you just have to remove the C.I. cover. I'm betting that there is an older cast iron b/s 90 fitting below grade, then you can use whatever means it takes to clean out this run. Good Luck, David


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Old 11-30-2009, 08:12 PM   #3
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I've had to break the strainers out of old cast iron floor drains then get replacements...which in itself can be a PIA. Sometimes some firm strikes with a hammer around the edge will loosen them up enough to get them out of there....sometimes.

Once you have the floor drain opened up you're best bet is to use a power auger to clean it out. A large (5/8" or better) cable probably wont go through the trap, but you can usually get a 1/2" or 3/8" cable through. While augering, stop about every 10' or so and pour water into the floor drain behind your cable (assuming the drain will take water and isnt completely clogged). This will help flush things out. Once the clog is cleared, continue pouring buckets of water down the drain...again flushing the line out. You want to be sure that anything you broke up moves out of the branch and down the main.

Good luck
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