How to fix a blocked drain

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Unblock your drain easily with this guide, instead of calling out a plumber- that can be expensive.


How to fix a blocked drain

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Unblock your drain easily with this guide, instead of calling out a plumber- that can be expensive.


Step One

BEFORE YOU START - Remember that pipes below ground are laid in straight lines for as much of their route as possible. Where a change of direction is needed, the bend should be less than a right angle and there should be an inspection chamber there. There may be a manhole cover above it or, in older properties, there may be an interceptor chamber near the boundary before the house drain joins the main sewer. The first sign of a blocked drain may be the failure of WCs and baths to drain quickly and efficiently, or an overflowing inspection chamber or gully. A gully may be cleared by cleaning. Otherwise you will have to clear the drain with rods. You can hire rods and various heads. Wear rubber gloves for the work. Tools : Drain rods fitted with a 100mm diameter rubber plunger; pair of long rubber gloves; strong garden spade; hose; disinfectant; watering can.


Step Two

Locate the blockage. You will have to lift the manhole covers; a strong garden spade will raise the edge enough for you to grasp the cover. Inspect the chamber that is nearer to the main drain, septic tank or cesspool than the overflowing chamber or gully. If it is empty, the blockage is in the drain between this chamber and the higher one or the gully. If the chamber is full, inspect the chamber next nearest to the main drain or septic tank. If the chamber nearest the main drain is full, the blockage is between it and the main drain. If the drain leads to a septic tank and the last chamber is full, have the tank emptied.


Step Three

To clear the blockage in a main drain system, insert the rod fitted with the plunger into a chamber at one end of the blocked section; it does not matter which of the 2. If it is the empty chamber, you can see where the mouth of the pipe is, but if you work from the full chamber, you will have to probe with the plunger until you find the mouth.


Step Four

Add more rods as necessary to work the plunger along the pipe to the blockage. Always turn the rods clockwise as you work; if you turn them counter-clockwise, they may unscrew and be left in the drain to cause a greater problem. Keep pushing against the obstruction and then withdrawing the plunger a little way. If this will not shift the blockage, withdraw the rods and exchange the plunger for a corkscrew attachment, which will break up a tightly packed obstruction.


Step Five

Complete the clearance by directing a strong jet of water down the drain from a hosepipe, or by filling the bath and sink and releasing the water in one gush.


Step Six

Hose down the rods and gloves thoroughly and drench them with diluted disinfectant poured from a watering can.


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