Home > Plumbing Repairs > Unblocking Drains

Unblocking Drains

By: Alan Cole - Updated: 10 Mar 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Diy Blocked Drains Blocked Drainage

The bad news is that blocked drains are an inconvenient eyesore, can be unpleasantly smelly and in worst cases can lead to structural damage in your home. The good news is that the majority of problems with blocked drains can be remedied with a few quick fix solutions.

Quick Fix

The best thing to try first is to pour plenty of boiling water down your drain - or plughole if that is where the problem is originating from. This may dislodge the blockage because often the build up of grease or foodstuffs is the cause as these are often cleared by boiling water. If the problem is still occurring try using a plunger to dislodge the gunk.

Next you can try pouring caustic soda down the plughole. This comes in crystal form and is also known as sodium hydroxide or soda crystals. Be careful when handling caustic soda as it is highly corrosive and could damage your clothes or skin. You may wish to use goggles and plastic gloves to be on the safe side. Other specialist drain cleaners and cleaning products are highly effective. You can also use a stiff wire to help with unblocking your drain. A wire coat hanger is a useful tool which can be modified for this task.

Prevention is the Best Cure

It is useful once or twice a year to get into the habit of pouring a drain cleaning product or boiling water down your drains to prevent grease from building up. Better still; avoid blocking drains by not allowing grease and other things to gather around your drains.

Food waste is a common cause of problems down the kitchen skink. Use a filter and yank food out of the plug hole if it does get lodged down there. Cooking fat is another source of drainage problems. Dilute with water if you must put it down the drain or sink.

Not putting large waste items down the toilet is also advisable although many people continue to do so. Items like sanitary towels and disposable nappies are some examples of these which lead to blocked drains. Anything that does not flush easily is bad news, in fact. Also avoid leaving items such as bottles and toys where they might fall down the loo!

Another major tip is to clean your bath, shower or washbasin regularly and prevent the build up of soap and hairs around plug holes. Be economical with soap around the sink if you can or at least clean it away as soon as it forms around the plug hole. A liquid soap can be a useful alternative.

You should also keep your drain grids and gutters free from leaves, dirt, weeds, etc and check your drains on an occasional basis. If you can lift up any drain covers it is worth taking a peak. Is the water moving or stagnant?

Find the Source

If you have a blocked drain, try to establish where the blockage is. If none of your neighbours appear to be affected then the blockage could be in your drain and the responsibility to clear it is yours. If other homes are affected then find out who is responsible for the problem. You can contact the Environmental Health Service for advice about blocked and broken drains affecting private properties. If you own your house you are usually responsible for repairing and clearing the drainage systems. If you are a tenant the landlord may be responsible, depending on the conditions of your rental agreement.

Bring in the Experts

If you have a major problem which cannot be remedied by any of the above you may have to call in the experts. There are a number of reputable companies who specialise in drain repairs and it is worth considering using one as major damage to your home can be caused if blockages are left untreated.

Structural defects to your drains and major blockages which are out of sight are easily detected these days via CCTV pictures, which are obtained by feeding an optical fibre down your drains. CCTV can also highlight the possibility of any future drainage problems which can then be rectified in advance. Hidden blockages are easily eliminated with the use of professional products such as specialist water jets, cutters and drain rods.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
wow!!A mop and plastic bag really did do the trick, after 2 hours of useinga wire coathanger a hose andboiling water .... none worked at all then i read your tip and itworked for mei will remember this if it happens again!Thankyou..
pip - 10-Mar-16 @ 3:17 PM
will caustic soda dissolve packed mud in outside waste pipe? will it affect plastic waste pipe?
mammylod - 7-Oct-13 @ 8:13 PM
It may be as easy as simply popping on some rubber gloves and removing hair and other gunk from the plughole by hand. Grab a plunger. Position the cup of the gadget over the plughole and hold a cloth over the overflow hole. Then, move the plunger up and down rhythmically to build up suction in the pipes and, hopefully, remove the blockage. If that doesn't work, you can try using chemicals or substances commonly found in the home. If you'd rather not use chemicals, you can use a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar, then pour it in and flush it with clean water after a few hours. http://plumbonline.net/store/news/article/how-to-unblock-your-bathroom-plugholes/801498884/
plumbonline - 19-Dec-12 @ 4:17 PM
Part of the nature of using sink, showers and baths is that blockages will inevitably occur sooner or later. With older houses, the pipe might not be as wide and so become clogged more easily. Boiling water is good, as are all the solutions here, but I’d especially recommend the regular maintenance idea of prevention being better than cure.
Richard - 13-Sep-12 @ 6:44 PM
If the blockage is in the pipe going from the sink, rather than outside, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda can work very well to remove it, and it's a good, natural solution, rather than the chemicals you find in commercial products. Put some baking soda down the drain, then add vinegar. It'll bubble up. Leave it to sit a while and then flush with hot water. Repeat if you need to, and it should clear most blockages.
Wilton - 6-Jun-12 @ 10:39 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments