We have all found ourselves in the situation where our drains are blocked. However it’s hard to know if it’s a block in the pipe that could be difficult to fix, or an obstruction that can be easily removed with a simple sink unblocking product.
Here we look at the best way to tackle a blocked drain or pipe.
The first step is to be hygiene conscious and make sure you wear rubber gloves. This will protect you from anything lurking in your pipes and also any corrosive chemicals that you may need to use. It’s important to remember to disinfect your hands once you have carried out this work.
Unblocking your toilet
If you flush your toilet and the water fails to drain away easily or, worse still, overflows completely, you can be sure that there is a blockage. Often this blockage will come up with the water and be visible in the pan, making it easy to remove. However, if it’s further down it may prove more difficult. The first thing to do is check the flow from other waste pipes to find out if the blockage is affecting all the pipes. If it is, then the obstruction will be further down the line. If not, do the following using a plunger:
- Hold the plunger so that the rubber end covers the waste outlet at the base of the pan.
- Pump several times.
- Repeat as required.
- Once you have cleared the blockage, the waste waters should clear rapidly.
If the blockage is further along the pipes, and you feel confident that you would like to try and clear this without calling out a plumber, you will need to hire a large rodding auger to reach it. This is a large flexible rod, which can be inserted into the pipes. Use the rodding auger in the following way:
- Push the wire into the pip as far as you can, when the ‘claw’ that sits on the end hits the obstruction.
- Turn the handle to move the claw, which should help to dislodge the obstruction.
- Pull the wire back up, hopefully it will have caught the offending obstruction.
If this fails to clear the blockage, it must be further along in the soil pipe or the drain run.
Unblocking a soil pipe
Most old cast iron pipework won’t have access traps allowing you to access any blockage that may have occurred. This where we strongly advise you to hire a plumber to help you with the blockage as you may need to access the pipe via the top section on the roof.
Access is therefore very high up, so could be very dangerous.
However if you have a modern plastic system, you will find access points at the pipe junctions making a blockage much easier to fix. That said, there will be a column of sewage in the pipe above, which will come out. Therefore we still advise getting a qualified professional to do this work for you.
If undertaking the work yourself, follow this guidance:
- Lay plastic sheeting and keep to hand any containers to catch any water.
- Remove the access cover and insert a drain auger (available from hire shops).
- Unscrew the pipe junction slowly, giving you time to catch the contents.
- Feed the auger in until you feel it reach the obstruction.
- Turn the handle and move the auger back and forth to dislodge the blockage.
- Withdraw the auger and flush the pipe with water from a hose.
- Replace the cover.
If you require a plumber to unblock your pipes, get in touch today.