Commercial Drain Cleaning

If you are looking for a commercial drain cleaner in Boston and want your drain or sewer problem taken care of quickly and done right, call John’s. We have over 35 qualified technicians to handle many different types of drain, sewer and plumbing issues.

 Grease Traps |  Bathroom Clogs | Kitchen Sinks | Sewer LinesPumping & DisposalFloor Drains | Stack Lines

Types of commercial drains

Each commercial building drain system has unique potential for clogs and other issues. With over 90% of our business serving commercial properties, we have extensive experience diagnosing issues in complex drain systems, including:

  • Apartment buildings
  • Restaurants
  • Shopping centers
  • Office & Industrial buildings
  • Historic buildings

Grease Traps

Grease trap pumping in BostonGrease traps are an essential part of a restaurant or cafeteria’s sewer and drainage system. By keeping grease from going down your drains, you help keep your sewer line free of buildup and problems. Once a grease trap becomes full, however, it allows grease to enter the sewer system, creating build up that will eventually result in a clog or worse.

The Boston Water & Sewer Commission requires that grease traps be cleaned on a monthly basis or when they are 1/4 full of grease.

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How we clean grease traps

Be wary of a service provider that simply dumps out the grease from your grease trap—it needs to be emptied AND cleaned to work properly. At John’s, we clean grease traps by hand. We also remove the dividers and snake the line EVERY TIME to make sure no clogs already exist that may cause problems later.

Many complexes and larger buildings may employ larger grease tanks to service their properties, rather than multiple smaller grease traps. We can also pump out and dispose of the grease in your larger grease tank. The contents of your tanks should be pumped out and disposed of on a regular basis, consistent with size, usage, and your city or town’s requirements.

Schedule regular grease trap cleaning

It’s not a matter of “if” you need grease trap cleaning, but when and how often. You can meet the city’s legal requirements and avoid business disruptions by scheduling regular cleanings. Whether your grease trap is 5 gallons or 10,000 gallons, we can create a custom preventive maintenance plan to meet your needs.

If you set up a preventive maintenance agreement with John’s, we will track your cleaning schedule for you. And we’ll work around your schedule by coming in early in the morning or late at night. This way, you can focus on making great food and serving your customers, and let us worry about your drains and grease traps.

Bathroom Clogs

Sinks and toilets in bathrooms used by the public can clog for several reasons: using too much toilet paper, flushing feminine products, etc. Using a plunger will take care of most toilet clogs. For larger or recurring problems, call John’s for fast, same day service at 612.756.7394.

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How we’ll unclog your toilet or sink

Each of our technicians is equipped with a commercial grade electric snake machine. This machine uses a metal cable to enter the drain line and break through the clog. The motors spins the cable as it pushes forward, allowing it to build torque which helps break through tough clogs.

Common bathroom clogging culprits

  • Using too much toilet paper
  • Flushing feminine products


Tips for preventing bathroom clogs

  • Do not flush paper towels, baby wipes or feminine hygiene products down the toilet.
  • Place a trash can next to the toilet so that no one is tempted to flush items that should be tossed out.

commercial sink - commercial drain cleaningKitchen Sinks

Kitchen sinks are an essential part of a restaurant and need to be in working order.

As fate would have it, they’re also among the most likely to be used for the disposal of substances that aren’t fit for your drainage system. As such, we tend to field a number of clogs in restaurant and commercial kitchens all over the Boston area.

A clogged sink means an interruption to your service, and there’s certainly no good time for that to happen. So, don’t wait for a problem drain to become an emergency—we can help you unclog your sink today, and help you to ensure that it will remain dependable for as long as you need it to be.

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How we’ll unclog your sink

Each of our technicians is equipped with a commercial grade electric snake machine. This machine uses a metal cable to enter the line and break through the clog, scraping the pipe clean. The motors spins the cable as it pushes forward, allowing it to build torque which helps break through tough clogs.

If snaking the line uncovers any problems, we may use video inspection to get a closer look inside your drain.

Tips for preventing sink clogs

  • Do not pour food grease down the kitchen sink drain. Allow it to cool and then dispose in the trash.
  • If so equipped, let your water and garbage disposal run for an additional 45 seconds after it grinds up your food to ensure the food has made it out of your sink line.

Main Sewer Lines

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The main sewer line is the section of your sewer system that goes from your building out to the city sewer or a septic tank. When the main sewer line clogs, it will affect many drains and likely cause a major disruption to your business.

At John’s Sewer & Drain Cleaning, we understand that a clogged main sewer line is an emergency situation for your family.

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Causes of main sewer line clogs

Main sewer line clogs are most often caused by tree roots. Roots can enter your sewer line over time and can cause backups. If your main sewer line is located near many trees, we recommend calling us for a video inspection every 1-5 years.

Cleaning your main sewer line

Most of the time, using a “snake” machine is enough to get a newer sewer line up and running again.  If snaking the line uncovers any problems, we may recommend using video inspection to take a closer look. This involves inserting a tiny camera in the sewer line and recording everything we see. Once our video inspection camera has reached the blockage or damage in your line, we’re able to pinpoint its exact location in the ground and depth. That way, if we have to dig, we’ll know right where to start.

Maintenance can prevent problems

Even though your main sewer line connects to a city system, you are responsible for maintaining it—including any needed repairs. We often advise setting up preventive maintenance plans for main sewer lines to help prevent backups.

Tips for main sewer lines

  • When planting trees or bushes, plant them as far from the sewer line as possible.
  • If your toilet is making a gurgling sound, have your main sewer line checked. This is an early warning sign of a clog.
  • Stop clogs and messy backups before they happen. The best way to avoid main sewer line clogs is preventive maintenance.

Pumping & Disposal

For all types of waste, from grease traps to septic system buildup, we can provide fast, affordable pumping and disposal services.

We service a variety of different units, including:

  • Grease Traps
  • Grease tanks
  • Septic tanks
  • Oil-Water Separators


Many commercial plumbing applications contain various different structures intended to keep certain material from entering the drainage system. Grease traps and their larger counterparts, grease tanks, help to keep food grease from entering drain lines. Septic tanks hold waste while allowing water to leech into the ground, Oil-water separators help keep grease, oils, and other parking lot and garage contaminants from entering drainage systems.

All of these units have one thing in common, they collect waste that needs to be properly disposed of. In most cases, a pump truck is the answer to your disposal needs. John’s can schedule a pump truck to come service your structure at any time of day or night.

Better still, John’s can set up a convenient Maintenance Plan that can help keep your structures clean and operational without your involvement. We’ll schedule your cleanings and come pump everything out as necessary, leaving you free to manage your business or restaurant.

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Floor Drains

When a floor drain clogs at a restaurant or business, it can cause a major disruption and even safety concerns. In many restaurants and businesses, floor drains are a common sight, and face the risk of being clogged because of both use and potential abuse.

If a floor drain were to back up in your business, what damage would it cause? Many floor drains are located in storage areas, where a backup could cause damage to anything being stored. In restaurants, floor drains are common in prep and cooking areas, where a backup could put your kitchen on hold, causing more than just physical damage, but damage to your reputation.

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Why do I need floor drain cleaning?

Dirt and sediment from your basement floor, as well as your water softener, can build up inside your floor drain and cause a clog. Another common cause of floor drain backups is a main sewer line disruption, which is often due to tree roots that can work their way inside your drain pipe.

How we clean floor drains

We use electric power snakes to not only clear your blockage, but to scrape all build up and debris from the inside of your pipe. If you have a particularly tough clog, we may recommend a video inspection to see how far down the clog is and gain more insight into what it might be.

How often should floor drains be cleaned?

Depending what kind of use and abuse you suspect your floor drains may encounter, you could be at risk for backups. We may recommend scheduling regular preventive maintenance if you experience slow drains, or suspect that your drains are being exposed to foreign debris and sediment on a regular basis.

Tips for keeping floor drains clear

  • Floor drains are not trash cans. Do not sweep debris into a floor drain.
  • Make sure your floor drains have screen covers. This prevents large items from entering the drain and clogging the line.
  • Don’t cover over floor drains. If you install a rug or flooring, raise the floor drain to the new floor level. Make sure any fixtures or appliances located atop floor drains still allow access to the drain.
  • If your basement smells like a sewer and you don’t know why, check your floor drains. Floor drains have traps that hold water to block sewer gases. Since they are not used often, the water may evaporate and allow the sewer gas into your home or business. Pour a bucket of water to restore the water level and eliminate the source of the odor.
  • Consider a preventive maintenance plan. By scheduling regular drain check-ups, you can minimize emergency calls.

Stack Lines

Stack lines are a type of drain system often used in apartment complexes, hotels and buildings with multiple floors. All of the individual drains from each apartment or floor flow into one long vertically positioned drain, a stack line, that curves at the bottom and then flows into the city sewer system.

If your building has a clog or has been experiencing many clogs, it may be time to hire a stack line cleaner.

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Most stack lines are cleaned with a mobile water jetting unit.

Most stack lines are cleaned with a mobile water jetting unit.

Clean stack lines regularly

Because of their design, stack lines require regular maintenance to keep them clog free. Problems can occur when stack lines are not cleaned because all of the dirt, hair, soap scum and debris from all of the rooms or units that collects at the base of the drain. Often, many units are affected by a clog, potentially causing a lot of damage.

Regular cleanings are important and easy to set up. A contract with John’s to do preventive maintenance on your stack lines means that we will track your cleaning schedule for you. See how preventive maintenance can help you manage your drains effectively.

How we clean stack lines

We often use a water jet machine to clean stack lines because it has enough power to flush out the debris in the drain, and its design allows for better cleaning of a stackline’s vertical orientation. Learn more about water jetting.