A blocked drain is annoying inside or outside of your home, and you need to know how to clear a clogged drain. Knowing the leading remedies, methods and tools to unblock an outside drain is helpful if you have a drain blocked with outdoor debris or household items.
Tools such as a drain rod or a plunger attachment are useful in clearing an outside drain blocked with debris, but there are household items which clear a drain too. This guide provides all the solutions and remedies you need when an outside drain is blocked, and you want to avoid making the problem worse.
Telltale signs of blocked drains
If you need a telltale sign of blocked drains, please consider the following circumstances:
- Funny smell
- Overflowing water when the drain is completely backed up
- Standing water
- Slow-moving water or water not draining at all
- Gurgling sounds
- High water levels
If you see, smell or see any of these signs affecting a drain or pipes inside your property, investigate the matter further or call the professionals like Sewer Surgeons, as there could be drainage issues to contend with.
Items which lead to blocked drains
Remember that items usually used inside the house can still lead to blocked drains outside of your home, so consider items like:
- Food waste and food particles
- Toilet paper
- Coffee grounds
- Soap scum
Look out for items around your bathroom or kitchen drain
If you see these items around your kitchen sink, wipe them away before they fall into the kitchen drain. The same goes for items in the bathroom. Minimising debris falling into a drain chamber minimises the likelihood of a blocked drain. The items inside your home often lead to an outside drain blocked with debris.
Items you should use when dealing with a drain blocked with debris
If you are compiling a shopping list to help deal with a blocked external drain, please consider the following items:
- Protective clothing, including a face mask and rubber gloves
- Bin bags
- Caustic soda
These items, allied to simple tools like drain rods or drain jetting, make clearing a sewage drain easier. If you’re responsible for your outside drain, ensure you know how to unblock drains, and then follow the next steps.
Do you need to remove the drain cover?
Take care with removing the drain cover. Even if the drain is your responsibility, the drain cover is the property of the local council or water authority. Many people find it easier to lift a drain cover with a screwdriver or something which adds better leverage. Once the cover is removed, look inside the outside drain.
Be careful when removing drain covers with outside drains, as these covers will likely be the property of a local council or water company.
You can sometimes unblock drains by hand
If you can see the blockage, and it isn’t too large, you can break it up by hand, clearing a blocked drain pipe.
Wear long rubber gloves and break a grease or debris blockage by hand. Place removed debris into bin bags or a bucket. If there is a body of water, use a plunger to unblock an outside drain and ensure water flows freely.
A drain rod is an effective tool when an outside drain is blocked
If the blockage is large or deeper than you can reach, there is specialist equipment to help you clear blockages. Drain rods give you a further reach, and turning the drainage rod in a clockwise direction when it hits a blockage will break the debris up.
Drain rod insert and drain rodding tools are available to buy
You can buy drain rods online or from hardware stores. If you find a tough blockage, like hardened mud, that the drainage rod doesn’t remove, consider using the corkscrew attachment to break up the blockage.
A pressure hose is a good way to unblock a drain, but a garden hose is often as effective for drain jetting when an outside drain is blocked. If you have an outside kitchen drain, you should be able to run a house out of your kitchen window, and you can blast the blockage with water.
You can hire an expert to unblock pipes and clogged drains
Many people prefer to hire a professional plumber to perform a drain cleaning, and there is no harm in hiring a drainage expert to review and resolve an outside drain blocked with debris. They can also advise you on how to avoid future blockages.
Is it possible to use substances to break up debris in a blocked outside drain?
There are options to consider to loosen the material and help flush debris away:
- A mixture of water and bleach is effective in clearing a drain
- A cup of baking soda and white vinegar can dissolve some blockages, including hair – and after half an hour, rinse the mixture through the drain.
- Pour boiling water into the outside drain and flush it through pipes with cold water soon afterwards.
- A biological enzyme drain cleaner, left overnight, breaks down organic items and materials in a drain.
- Caustic soda is harsh, but for stubborn blockages, it can unblock a drain quickly.
- Hot water is also a good way to unblock outdoor drains, but be careful.
Take care when dealing with blocked drains and certain products
Given the harsh nature of caustic soda, only use items like that with protective gear, or leave it to a professional. You should avoid contact with harsh chemical drain cleaners wherever possible when clearing outside drains.
There are many remedies for a blocked drain
If you have drainage problems, it is best to act swiftly; otherwise, it might worsen them. When you have outside drains blocked with mud, grease and other outdoor debris, you often need a professional plumber or drainage company to deal with drain blockages. Their use of equipment like drain rodding makes light work of a blocked external drain, but even if you tackle a blockage in outside drains yourself, you have plenty of options to consider.