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What To Do If You Have A Blocked Drain

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  • 27-07-2022
What To Do If You Have A Blocked Drain

Are you looking for advice for what to do if you have a blocked drain? Find out when you need emergency drain repair services or an emergency plumber to unblock it.

Common issues with Blocked drains

It's essential as a homeowner that you make yourself aware of the common issues that reside in your drainage system and how it can become blocked with poor or low maintenance so that you can detect the signs and report them accordingly. 

Outside drain blocked

Outside drain blockages are typically handled by the sewage companies in your area or by local plumbers and engineers registered in England. As this is the case, it is paramount that you notice the signs as early as possible and take action by picking up the phone. The signs include:

  • You may notice your external drain is blocked with debris and leaves outside your house and from the inside with sanitary products, toiletries and coffee grounds. However, assess this against the other signs as this may not be your sole responsibility. Be sure to wrap sanitary items and nappies and bag them up accordingly to be neatly and cleanly disposed of.
  • If you find your outside kitchen drain is blocked with various items and substances, this is your job to clear away and unclog it, so we recommend reading further for information on how to do so.
  • Recognising a smelly drain can be a dead giveaway that a buildup of rotten items could block your drain, so you need to investigate further.
  • Lastly, if you notice your outside road drain has begun overflowing, it's one of the most critical signs of a blockage. Continue reading for more information on how to solve the problem, or contact a local authority in plumbing and engineering for further advice. 

Inside drain blocked

If you find that your inside drain has been blocked, it is up to you to unblock it or call on a trustworthy local plumber to assist you and provide top tier advice at a cost-effective price. It's crucial to understand kitchen blockage's common causes, as many are caused by pouring leftover food scraps, fats, cooking oils, and even coffee grounds down your drain.

However, if your bath, shower or bathroom sink you discover is blocked, this is often due to a buildup of hair clumps or soap. A range of DIY methods and valuable products on the market will help you free the sewer blockages inside your drain. 

Who Carries Out A Drain Survey?

Who is responsible for repairing drains and private or public sewers?

Those with blocked pipes or private drains inside the household are often responsible for them as they exist within the property boundary site. On the other hand, sewerage companies are more responsible for the public, lateral drains outside sewers and property boundaries.

Many sewers are now publically owned; however, there are still existing unadopted, private sewers. If you have a private drain or sewage system, you must maintain it to prevent sewer flooding; contact a private contractor for advice or further information. 

How To Clear A Blocked Drain

There are many ways to clear away a blocked drain, from utilising the help of professional plumbers and the tools they have in their inventory to using DIY methods that use products and equipment you can find in local stores or your kitchen cupboards to fix the issue. 

Boiling water on its own can be a valuable tactic to unblock drains that have become that way due to a buildup of toiletries, conditioners or other greasy products.

Many substances have low melting points, so using extreme heat helps break the clog. Boil your kettle, and once it has done so, pour the boiling water down the drain to remove the blockage. 

A few natural cleaners will allow you to create a fizzing effect down the drain to break down tough blockages and separate buildups.

Begin with hot water and pour it down the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar and bicarbonate soda. Leave the mixture to sit for approximately ten minutes before rinsing it with more hot water. Doing so will help break the existing blockages and will help you prevent blockages in the future.

Many stores across the UK sell various high-quality caustic cleaners that effectively take robust action against drain issues, particularly blockages.

The cleaning products will help dissolve fat, grease and oils, making it more challenging for blockages to develop or remain. We recommend ventilating the room and thoroughly reading the instructions on the product before beginning.

A plunger is a highly straightforward yet effective tool as it can successfully help many property owners and plumbers dislodge blockages in homes.

They form a secure seal around your plughole and harness a vacuum effect that tugs debris and unnecessary items free from the blockage. 

You don't necessarily have to search far and wide for a drain snake, as you can DIY one out of thin metal wires around your home, such as a coat hanger.

Ensure you create a hook at its end to safely and efficiently be inserted into your sink or drain plug hole. Once you've done so, you can begin fishing out debris and accumulations of hair causing these household blockages. You may discover that this method is effective for showers. 

Plumbers utilise drain snakes at a more advanced level, and an expert should only ever use those. These snakes can delve further into the pipework and reach blockages deep inside your system to remove difficult clogs that standard methods and tools cannot tackle, which is why they are reserved for these circumstances.

If you are struggling to free the blockage using DIY drain snake methods, contact your local Ipswich plumbers and engineers, and they'll arrive at your home with more advanced plumbers snakes to do the job. 

Professional plumbers or local water company experts in the field will use technology and devices such as CCTV cameras when snaking equipment isn't as efficient for the job.

The CCTV tools allow experts to reach down and identify the clog's whereabouts and its size. Once they have officially detected the placement and severity of your blockage, they will begin curating a plan to remove it. 

Hydro jets are primarily used to remove various amounts of debris and substances from your drain pipes with their sharp, powerful, intense bursts of water.

Doing so is a highly dependable way to remove the considerable bulk of the problem; however, other techniques are available to tackle the issues. 

In the case of the most severe drain blockages, excavation will be essential. Excavation involves digging the area around the drain so that aspects of the pipework can be replaced or repaired.

While not always necessary, such methods can save the remaining parts of your pipes from extensive damage. 

Suppose your pipes are damaged due to a prolonged blockage; you'll find that the most effective and efficient alternative to a complete pipe replacement is pipe relining.

Plumbers can utilise flexible resin and various tools to reline your drainage pipes once the blockage is gently removed. 

What causes blocked outside drains?

It's significant to ensure your outdoor drains are healthy and clean and strive to avoid common mistakes as they could lead to a whole host of problems in their lifetime. The most common substances and items that you'll find blocking your outside drains include debris, litter, leaves, mud, soil and branches.

However, you must be highly aware of the items and liquids you flushed or poured down your pipes, whether down your shower or bath drains, toilets or sinks. Like with the inside drains, you must know that fats, coffee grounds, grease or oils down the kitchen or bathroom sink can be problematic for your outside drains.

In the same way, it can be detrimental to flush down inappropriate items like sanitary items or wet wipes down your toilet and leave buildups of hair or soap down the shower drain, which often has a poor impact on your drainage system. The only thing that you should flush down is human waste and toilet paper in reasonable amounts. 

How to unblock a drain outside

The first step is to ensure you take off the drain cover using a flat-head screwdriver. The drain cover is typically quite heavy, so you can always tie a rope around it for more efficient leverage if you find yourself struggling. You must remember to be as careful as possible during this part of the process to prevent the cover from falling into the drain and becoming contaminated with wastewater.

Next, you must find the blockage using a face mask and protective gloves. It's paramount that you use your hands to remove as much of the existing blockage as possible before taking a drain rod to clear away the rest. You want to ensure that you have bin bags and a bucket to place the waste beside you.

Please do your best not to inhale the substances as they can be toxic, harmful or generally not the most pleasant smelling.

The final step is to put your drain rod to use by inserting it into the drain, twisting it carefully in a clockwise direction directly into the blockage. When you reach the blockage, be sure to apply some pressure, pushing, twisting and plunging if it becomes more stubborn. As soon as the blockage feels more manageable, it's a sign that it's beginning to clear.

Are you looking for blocked drains clearance in the Ipswich and Suffolk area? Find out more about our local drain jetting services below.