3 Tips for Cleaning out an ABS Pipe

ABS pipe is the short name for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene pipe, which is a type of plastic pipe used in many drainage and waste water applications. ABS pipe has become very popular among builders because of its light weight, which makes it easy to transport, and its cheap price. Unfortunately, even the best quality piping is susceptible to clogging and ABS is no exception. In order to clean out an ABS piping system, try using the three following helpful tips.

Try a Chemical

There’s nothing easier than simply pouring a chemical down a drain to dissolve a clog. Because of the material it is made of and the manner in which it is constructed, ABS pipe has been shown to be very resistant to all sorts of chemicals and abrasive liquids. In fact, a study done by the ABS Institute found that, because of the hardness of this type of piping, both residential and industrial cleaning chemicals have little or no effect on the integrity of ABS piping. This resistance to harsh chemicals is another one of the main reasons ABS is widely used for sewer drainage systems. However, if there is no water flow at all through the pipe do not use a chemical. The chemical may not be able to reach the clog and will simply make the pool of water than has accumulated above much more dangerous.

Try an Auger

A pipe auger, also known as a snake, is a semi-rigid thin metal strip with a sharp end that is inserted into a drain to remove clogs. The auger is forced forward to break up the clog and lets the small remaining bits flow forward through the rest of the drainage system. If the clog is stuck deep within an ABS system, the auger may need to be inserted at a clean-out point. A clean-out point is a place where a sanitary-tee has been inserted into the drainage system and capped. A sanitary-tee is a pipe fitting that has a tee that comes away from the main pipe at a 45 degree angle. Simply remove the cap from the tee and insert the auger there.

Try a Water Jet

Using a water jet is usually a job for a professional plumber since it requires expensive tools and some expertise. However, professional plumbers often charge 800 dollars or more for this type of procedure. Instead, if one owns a pressure washer, a similar effect can be accomplished buy purchasing a few fittings for a fraction of the cost. All that is needed is a jetter nozzle, sewer jetting hose and a ball valve to start and stop the water. Once all this has been connected to the pressure washer, insert it in through the clean-out and turn the water on. The jetter nozzle will shoot water forwards to break up blockages and backwards to propel the hose further into the pipe. Make sure to always jet the ABS pipe towards the main sewer line and not back towards the house. This way any blockage or sludge will run further down the line into the sewer and not back towards the house.