As well as keeping drains inside your property clear, it’s also important to keep your outside drains clear from blockages too. However outdoor drains present a multitude of extra problems. All internal drains connect eventually to an outside drain. Therefore, common causes of internal blockages can occur in outside drains too such a fat, grease and hair. However, there are also issues with outside drains being blocked with silt, mud, leaves, branches, moss etc. that can get into the drain.
In this blog we will explore how this occurs, how you can prevent it and measures you can take to try to clean your drain.
Whose responsibility is to keep my drain clear?
One of the most important considerations is locating the blockage and where it occurs in your drainage system. If your blockage occurs outside the boundaries of your property then it is the water company’s responsibility to clear the drain, so you can simply call them to resolve it. However, if the blockage seems to be occurring inside the boundaries of your property then the responsibility is yours to fix.
How to prevent a blocked drain becoming blocked?
In a similar way to clearing an indoor drain blocked with grease or fat, one of the best things you can do to keep your drain clear is to prevent it becoming blocked in the first place. Some of the things you can do include:
- Purchasing a fat catch trapper / metal strainer to separate fat, grease and solid food objects from getting into your drains.
- Wipe plates, saucepans, utensils and cutlery with kitchen roll before disposing of them in the bin which can blot up a lot of liquids which could block the drain.
As well as these measures, you can also purchase outside drain covers. These covers can be purchased quite cheaply from most hardware shops and can prevent a great deal of leaves, mud and other debris from falling down the drain.
How to clear a blocked drain?
Of course, these steps are only helpful before the drain blockage has become a problem but fortunately there are some steps which you can take to clear your drain, before calling in the experts.
First of all, you need to check where the blockage is to see if it’s internal, external or beyond your property boundary as explained above. It is always a good idea to start from the internal pipes so any blockages can be flushed along the pipes.
You can try some of our home remedy drain cleaners to clean internal blockages and many of these can also be used on the external drain to try to clear any external blockage. There is also a couple of additional measures which you can take to clear an external drain.
Firstly, you will need to purchase some drain rods which are available from hardware stores. These are long, flexible plumbing tools used to break apart blockages within the pipes. It is also a good idea to get some gloves and a face mask as the job can be very messy, gross and also there will be bacteria in the pipes, which you will not want to come into contact with in any way.
Next lift up the drain cover – you might need a flathead screwdriver to prise it open. You will then need to feed the first rod down the drain with the plunger attachment, using short bursts to force it down. If you encounter an obstruction spin the rod clockwise to break it. Note, it is very important you do this clockwise as anti-clockwise might unscrew your drain rod!
If you encounter a solid obstruction then you should pull out the rod and use the corkscrew attachment instead of the plunger to clear it.
Once the blockage is cleared, it is a good idea to flush the pipe with a pressure hose which should flush out any remaining debris. However, if the drain is still blocked then it is time to call in the professionals.
Argo Drains are an emergency drain unblocking and repair specialist based in Lichfield, West Midlands. We can help resolve a wide variety of drainage issues, using a range of innovative techniques. For example, we can use CCTV drain surveys to look for the blockage non-invasively without having to dig a trench.
We also have high pressure jetter washing equipment to flush blockages down the drain to make them nice and clean as well as more traditional tools and methods such as plumber’s snakes to clear blocked drains.