How a Sewer Drain Bladder Works: An Easy To Use Sewer & Drain Cleaning Tool


Are you a homeowner looking to learn a little bit about useful drain cleaning tools and solutions for your clogged drain problems? Drain clogs are a common problem encountered by most homeowners. That’s why it’s necessary to discover easier ways to clear out drain clogs, such as a drain bladder. Both outdoor and indoor drains can be heavily clogged with greasy sludge, debris, and other materials.

You can unclog your drains using various drain cleaning tools. Among this arsenal of tools are a drain snake, a plunger, a sewer air gun, or a home remedy. An often overlooked option is a sewer drain cleaning bladder, also known as a sewer flush bag or blow bag.

But sometimes the above common options may fail to work for you. In such cases, you can turn to a DIY option by using an easy-to-use bladder, or place a call to a local drain cleaning expert to come to your aid. A rubber drain bladder (also known as a flush bag or a blow bag) can come to your rescue. Flush bags are inexpensive to purchase (around $20.00 or so), and fairly easy to use. However, you need to first understand what it is, and how it can help you flush away your stubborn drain clogs. 

What is a Sewer Blow Bag a Useful Drain Cleaning Tool?

A drain bladder aka sewer flush bag is an expansion balloon that utilizes high water pressure to unclog blocked drains. It looks like a deflated balloon and it’s made from heavy-duty rubber or a heavy canvas-type fabric. One end of the bladder has a standard hose attachment that connects it to a water source. The other end has a pressure-sensitive valve that connects it to the clogged drain pipe. The water flows and fills up the bag and expands it past a certain point.

The engineering of the bladder enables it to fully expand to the inside diameter of the blocked-up drain pipe. Meanwhile, the buildup of pressure pushes the valve open to release a rush of water at high pressure through the pipe. This causes the blockage to break and flush away from the heavy drain clog. 

A drain cleaning bladder can be a primary or secondary drain-cleaning tool

A drain bladder can also be an excellent follow-up option if you want to remove any remaining material in your sewer pipes after using a drain snake to achieve complete clog removal. These bladders come in a wide range of sizes; you need to get one that matches the size of your clogged drain’s diameter. In most cases, a 2″ drain cleaning bladder will fit into most household drain lines.

How to Operate a Sewer Drain Bladder in 3 Easy Steps

You must understand how to operate the sewer drain bladder or drain cleaning bladder. This is to avoid possible hazardous mishaps. Here are the necessary steps to follow when using a sewer flush bag to get rid of your drain clogs.

1. Set Up Your Blow Bag

The first step is to attach one end of a standard hose to the appropriate cold-water fitting. The next step is to connect the bladder to the end of the hose and insert the bladder into a drain opening. The blow bag should sit at least six inches from the clean-out fitting insertion point.

2. Turn On Your Water Source

Turn on the water to release it to the hose. Let the water flow into the drain cleaning bladder until it fills on its own. When the water reaches its maximum capacity, the valve will open and release the pressurized water to flush down the drain. The high-pressure water will break the drain clog and clear it. It’s crucial to keep in mind that if the blow bag is not used with care, too much pressure from the bag can damage the pipes. This is especially true if the lines are old and have weak joints.

3. Check Your Unclogging Work Results

After unclogging your drain, it’s wise to check whether your drain is completely cleared and has returned to sound working condition. The bladder completely deflates once you turn off the flowing water. Pull the drain bladder out of the drain opening and check if your drain is in good condition. 

Important Things to Know About Using a Sewer Drain Bladder to Clear Drain Clogs

The Blow Bag Can Burst When Subjected to Extreme Water Pressure   

The sewer drain bladder has a maximum point of safe water pressure. If the bag gets filled past the safe point, the bag can burst due to excessive pressure buildup. You need to properly check the pressure specifications of the specific product you want to use, as well as the pressure of water inside your property. If the water pressure in your building is too high, consider reducing the pressure to acceptable levels if the plumbing system is outfitted with a water pressure regulator.

The Drain Bladder Can Cause Damage to Your Drain Pipes/Drain Lines

Using a bladder to clear drain clogs is usually effective in most cases. However, there are some instances where the drain cleaning bladder may fail to break and flush the heavy drain clog. When this happens, the pressure released into the drain line must find somewhere to go.

Unfortunately, the water pressure can force itself through the joints of the drain pipes. Especially if your drain pipe joints are old and weak. If the water does not find its way through the drain pipe joints, it may come back toward you (a good reason not to stand in front of the drain opening). 

The Drain Cleaning Bladder Can Cause Injuries

One of the ways through which you can get an injury is when you stand at the drain opening. An injury can happen when the water pressure fails to break and flush a heavy drain clog. The water then comes back towards you with its high pressure. For this reason, you need to position yourself away from the drain opening to avoid an accident. 

A second way you can encounter a physical injury is when the drain bladder bursts, throwing flying materials at you. The bag can burst if the water pressure exceeds the maximum safe water pressure. To avoid such injuries, it’s important to ensure that the bag maintains its water pressure at the maximum safe water pressure. Make sure you also position yourself on one side of the bladder to reduce the chances of many flying materials reaching you if the bag bursts.

Consider a Professional Drain Cleaner

Do you have a drain that’s backed up or slow? Don’t wait for the clogging problem to get worse. A drain cleaning bladder costs a fraction of calling a professional and is a no-fuss way to clear out hard drain clogs and all sorts of stoppages.

Unsure how to use a drain bladder? Then consider calling a local drain expert to avoid unnecessary damage to your drain line or even injuries. A drain cleaning expert will be familiar with all the drain cleaning tools available, and their safe and proper use. At Balkan Sewer & Drain Cleaning, our skilled plumbing experts have the necessary knowledge to deal with stubborn clogs. Contact the Balkan Drain Team today for more information or to schedule a drain service.