Clearing Blocked Drains
CLEARING BLOCKED DRAINS
The discovery of clogged drains is enough to send most people rushing for professional help. But providing you have a few simple pieces of equipment, clearing the blockage yourself is usually neither difficult nor particularly unpleasant. The secret is not to be daunted by the fact that drainage systems largely run underground — although you can’t see them, their workings are deceptively simple.
♦ Abnormal gurgling sounds.
♦ ‘Drain’ smells inside the house.
♦ Overflowing gullies outside.
♦ Raised water levels in the WC.
Shopping List to Clear a Blocked Drain
Most blockages can be removed with a set of polypropylene drain rods, using one or other of the attachments shown below. Some sets include a selection of attachments as part of the kit; with others, you have to buy them as and when the need arises, which is less convenient.
Although you can hire them, drain rods are cheap enough to pay for themselves in a single job. They also have many other uses (see Trade Tip below). Don’t, however, be tempted to buy an old set of wooden rods as these have a tendency to break.
Other equipment for unblocking drains which is useful to have available includes:
♦ Gloves and a face mask.
♦ A garden hose.
♦ A WC (cooper’s) plunger. (This differs from the sink type in having a longer handle and a flat rubber disc for dealing with S-shaped WC traps.)
♦ A crowbar or spade for lifting manhole covers (See Problem Solver – Clearing Blocked Drains).
A sink or drain auger may also come in handy for some types of blockage, but is rarely essential. Hiring tools should only be necessary for really stubborn blockages.
You may need:
Powered augers for cutting through tree roots.
High pressure water jetting equipment for flushing drains.
Flexible drain rods on a drum for coping with very long drain runs.
"One good reason for buying a set of drain rods is that they have plenty of other uses around the house — threading cables under floors, sweeping
chimneys (with a brush attachment) and clearing leaves from rainwater pipes to name but a few."