Simple Secret Professional Plumbers Use to Unclog Pipes

If you’ve ever wanted a fast, easy way to clear clogged pipes then you need to know about drain flushers. Since 1916, professional plumbers across the country have used the Petersen drain flushers to unclog pipes and sewer lines. Today it is an essential part of any plumber’s toolbox and should be part of anyone’s tools when clogged pipes occur in homes or businesses.

The drain flusher uses the water pressure in your home or building to push out clogs in pipes (see it in action). The water supply going into your home or building is pressurized, unlike the sewer pipes where the waste is removed solely by gravity. Over time soap scum, food waste, hair, grease and other material can build up in the pipes, forming a clog. Once the drain flusher is inflated in your pipe, it becomes a hydraulic jet, sending high pressure water to blast through the clog, then sending it out to the sewer main.

Easy as 1-2-3

Using a drain flusher is faster, easier and more environmentally friendly than using harmful, chemical cleaners. Just follow these three steps:

  1. Connect the drain flusher to a ¾” garden hose.
  2. Insert the drain flusher into the clogged drain pipe.
  3. Turn on the water full force quickly.

Avoid These Mistakes When Using a Flusher

What separates the professional from the Do-It-Yourselfer is knowing what mistakes to avoid. Such is the case with the drain flusher. Follow these precautions for problem-free flushing.

  1. Select the correct size drain flusher for the size pipe you are unclogging. Improperly sized flushers won’t secure to the pipe walls or seal well in the pipe.
  2. If the sewer pipes are old or have weak joints, pressurized water could weaken them further and cause pipe breaks/leaks.
  3. There should be no vent, branch or other opening between the drain flusher and the clog. If there is, plug the opening.
  4. Check drains, toilets or any possible water outlet for possible water backing up into or outside of your house when running the drain flusher.
  5. A drain flusher won’t help a broken pipe or remove tree roots (use a drain snake or chemical root killer).
  6. Toilets and some sink P-traps may not be designed for flushing pressure. Simply remove the toilet or p-trap and install in the main drain pipe or install through the drain pipe “clean out”.
  7. Stay clear of the drain when the drain flusher is in use in case the flusher slides out of the pipe.
  8. At least 30 PSI water pressure is required for the drain flusher to work (typical city water pressure is between 25 and 75 PSI).
  9. Water volume is also important so it is best to use a ¾” garden hose to connect to the drain flusher. A smaller hose may not allow enough water for optimal flushing force.

Rubber Bladders vs. Fabric Flushers

Not all drain flushers (aka blow bags, drain bladders) are alike. Most home and building owners purchase rubber flushers, because they are available at most retail stores, and they are inexpensive. Fabric flushers cost a little more, but professional plumbers prefer them, because they last much longer, have far more flushing volume, better resist cracks and punctures, may be used with hot water to clear grease, and are easier to maneuver in pipes. With a fabric flusher you turn the water on quickly to immediately lock it in the pipe. With a rubber flusher, the water is turned on slowly to expand the bladder, and then it releases the water in spurts, interrupting the flushing to keep the rubber expanded.

Other Uses of a Drain Flusher

In addition to using a drain flusher on sewer lines you can use it to clear swimming pool pipes, prime the pool pump, open drain tile, clear gutter downspouts, flush out grease traps and more.


Now you know how to use a building’s water pressure to quickly and safely clear clogged pipes using a drain flusher, just like professional plumbers do.

To learn more about Petersen Products full line of drain flushers including the economical Dr. Fixit® flusher, the DrainJet® professional, the DrainJet®-Pro for use with a high pressure jetter or the Municipal Hydraulic flushers for higher volume used with a fire hydrant, call 262-692-3100 or contact Petersen Products.