How To Unblock A Drain Outside
First, you need to work out where the blockage is and therefore who is responsible for unblocking it.
- Contact your local water sewerage company so they can advise on whether you are responsible. They will come out to unblock the drain if appropriate
- Follow the DIY fix guide below if its a blockage you are responsible for as the property owner, and youre looking for a quick fix.
Keep yourself covered with HomeServe insurance so that if a blockage affects your home and its your responsibility to sort it, youll be able to call on our trusted Home Experts to help you.
Professional Services To Unblock Muddy Drains
At ASL Limited, we have over 40 years’ experience cleaning a wide variety of drains across Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire, Sussex and SW London, each with its own individual problems. We have seen many outside drains blocked with mud and soil, so we know that we will have the right solution to get your water flowing again, too.
Our most successful methods of clearing blocked drains include:
- Drain rodding
- Drain jetting
- Industrial waste suction tankers
Our drainage engineers are all highly trained and dedicated to their profession and are completely qualified to clear the mud from your outside drain.
Flush Drains With Baking Soda And White Vinegar
If you prefer, baking soda and white vinegar can be used as an alternative to a biological cleaner. You can also use bicarbonate of soda instead of baking powder. With a bit of luck, you will already have both of these items in your kitchen cupboards.
All you need to do is pop a couple of tablespoons of baking soda into a cup of white vinegar and immediately pour the mixture down the drain. Leave the mixture to fizz down there for about five minutes before flushing the drain clean using hot water directly from the kettle.
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Unblocking Drains By Hand
The first step in the drain unblocking process, before trying anything complicated, is to see if you can unblock it by hand. Many blockages can be surprisingly easy to shift so dont think that you need to do anything drastic before youve tried the simpler options.
Unless youve got a dedicated pair of drain or pond gloves, youll want to get several heavy duty bin bags so you can cover your arm up to the shoulder. If youre using bin bags, make sure you use more than one as they tear easily.
You also might want to tie a scarf around your mouth and nose, especially if youre going to be reaching in up to your shoulder as blocked drains arent the nicest smelling thing in the world.
After youve donned your protective gear, reach into the drain and start slowing pulling out any material you can find that could be causing the block. Its best to do this upstream of the blockage as it will be easier to pull it out and you wont risk compacting it further.
What’s Blocking Your Drain
Before you do anything, you need to assess what may be causing the blockage using the best method you can. Usually the easiest way to gain visibility into your drain is to remove the cover. Most drain covers just require you to pull them upwards, but some may require you to use a screwdriver.
There are a few things you can do to assess the severity of the block. If the blockage is visible, this allows you to make a quick assessment on weather it looks like something you can do, or if youll need a professional. For example, if you can see a heap of leaves down there or if you can see your outside drain is blocked with silt, you may be able to simply remove these and solve the problem. However, if you cannot see any signs of what might be causing the block, this may be something deeper which would require a professionals help.
If you think the type of block you have is something you can handle, move onto step two.
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Three: Remove Any Blockages You Can Reach
Can you get your arm in and take out some of the blockage? If so, this is your best chance of shifting the matter clogging your drains and making it easier to use your drainage rods for simple debris removal.
Its a horrible job, but its worth it.
Grab your bucket, place it by the drain and dig in. Remove every piece of blockage material you can. The more you remove, the easier the next steps become.
What Causes Smelly Drains
A bad smell usually indicates an accumulation of bacteria. Bacteria accumulates on any blockages or build-up of organic materials within the plumbing of your house. This can happen when food, hair, grease, soaps, minerals, or objects are washed into the drains, causing blockages somewhere along the drain pipes. Luckily you can typically clean these blockages out by yourself using home remedies.
However, smells can also indicate plumbing issues, such as a dried out, or leaking U-bend under the sink, or eroding/cracked pipes, if you have old plumbing. In some cases, it could even be a problem with the main sewers.
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Leaves Mulch Silt And Other Yard Debris Can Be Difficult To Clean And Flush Out Of A Landscape Drain Unless You Have The Right Drain Cleaner For The Job
When To Call The Professionals
The methods of clearing an outside drain blocked with mud listed above can be effective at cleaning outside drains blocked with soil, silt or mud, but this does not mean they will always work.
Sometimes, the problem will extend too far into the drain for home methods to be completely effective, or you may not have the correct tools available for the blockage.
Any of these may result in the blockage not being cleared or being pushed further along your drains. The latter of these could even result in damage to your pipes. This will result in a larger mess for you to clean up and mean a larger bill for you to pay to get the pipe cleaned, repaired or even replaced.
To avoid this, we recommend that you contact a professional drainage company to take care of your blocked outdoor drains from the start.
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Treat Your Drains With A Biological Cleaner
A biological cleaner containing enzymes is the best drain cleaner for hair and an excellent way to treat a build-up of fats, bacteria, mould and other organic materials. They are also far better for the environment than harsher chemicals such as bleach or caustic soda.
You can buy an enzymatic drain cleaner from most DIY shops relatively cheaply. Always be sure to follow the instructions on the back of the packet when using the product on your drains.
Things You Will Need To Unblock The Drain
Before we learn more about how to fix a blocked drain, there are a few things youll need for the purpose. These include,
- Rubber gloves: Drains are dirtier than what you have imagined them to be. It is also as smelly as it is dirty, and that is why a good pair of rubber gloves would always be handy when going through a drain.
- Rope: A rope is quite useful in removing a drains cover when you need to unblock a drain pipe.
- Waste bags: Transporting the debris to the waste bins is also very important. That is why you will need some waste bags.
- Drain rod: Another important piece in the how to clear a blocked drain puzzle is the drain rod. They are used to dislodge a drain blockage and are available in local stores. You might want to get two or more, just in case something happens to the first.
- Bleach: After clearing the blocked drains with your drain rods, it is necessary to clean up the drain. Bleach is an excellent outdoor drain cleaner, and it helps to remove the drainage smell as well.
- Caustic Soda: Chemical drain unblockers are useful substitutes to the conventional manual process of unclogging a drain with a drain rod. However, you will never know when your blocked outside drain will require caustic soda, but homeowners use it as their last resort.
- Garden Hose: After removing dirt from your drain, you may need to use water to clean it up more. Garden hoses will help you transport the water from the source to the drain.
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My Outside Drain Is Blocked
We get a lot of calls from frustrated people saying My outside drain is blocked!. But to unclog an outside drain by yourself, you would need to find out what the cause of the drain blockage was in the first place.
It is important to do this because each drain blockage has a different cause. For example, kitchen sinks get clogged with grease, food particles or oil, for a bathroom it may be soap or hair, and a toilet drain can be blocked by something that seems so harmless like toilet paper.
The drain outside the house is not exempted either. It may be blocked by soap, grease, domestic items or combinations of those items. Your leaves, silt, grease, dirt or other outdoor debris can cause your external drain to get blocked.
So how does one decipher whether their outside drain is blocked by soil, mud, dirt or any other outdoor debris?
What To Do If Your Drain Or Sewer Is Blocked
In case you are not sure whether it is your drain or sewer thatâs blocked, you can contact your local EHOs who can assess the problem and advice you on what you should do next.
In addition, depending on whether it is the sewer or the drain thatâs blocked, they can tell you whether it is your responsibility to have it cleared or whether your neighbours should also contribute. If it is your private section of the drain that has a blockage, you can check with your neighbours to see if theyâve been affected too. You should have the drain or sewer cleared as soon as possible to prevent the condition from worsening.
If you experience blocked drains in the Darlington area contact our drainage expert today. We can unblock your drains quickly and effectively.
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Wash Your Pets Outside
If you wash your pets in the bath you should bear in mind that they shed even more hair than we do, especially during moulting seasons. If possible, you should wash your cat, dog or rabbit outside, or cover the drain in your bath with a cloth to collect any hairs shed during washing.
When in doubt never flush the following down your drains
Signs Your Outside Drain Is Clogged With Mud
Generally, its not too difficult to spot an outdoor drain clogged with mud because it will start to back up, resulting in visible pooling. However, if water is still getting through in a trickle, backup could seep into the soil surrounding the drainage pipe, leading to soggy soil, areas of overly lush growth, foul odors, and the presence of mold, mildew, or fungus.
If youre not certain you have a clogged yard drain pipe because theres no visible pooling, look for these clues of an outside drain clogged with dirt, debris, or roots.
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How To Effectively Clean And Unclog Outdoor Drain Pipes
Many homes and businesses have outdoor drain systems somewhere on their outside property. The function of any outside drain and/or system is to keep rainwater and melted snow from flooding the yard, home or outdoor property. If there is a driveway, there could also be a drain to keep the driveway surface from flooding during a storm or due to runoff rainwater.
Keeping these outside drains clean and cleared from debris and other materials is an important home and property maintenance chore that all property owners should learn how to perform. The following article will answer how to effectively clean and unclog outdoor drain pipes safely and successfully.
Tips For Dealing With Tough Clogs
If clearing the yard drain by hand and flushing with a hose fails to remove a clog, there are some things to try:
- A rubber drain bladder is a rubber bag that attaches to a garden hose and fits tightly into the drain. When the water is turned on, the bag becomes pressurized to seal the pipe, then shoots water out at pressure to dislodge clogs. This is a helpful technique if the water is stopped up or moving very slowly in the area drain.
- A motorized drain auger is effective at cutting through tough clogs or tree roots. This is the same type of “roto-rooter” plumber’s tool used to clear sewer drains from the house to the city main. Drain augers have a rotating cable with a cutter head that cuts roots and debris from the inside of the pipe. Most yard drains are 3 or 4 inches in diameter , so make sure to rent a machine suitable for your pipe size . You may need to run the auger from multiple directions, including from the termination point back toward the catch basin. If you’re not confident doing this yourself, you can always have a plumber auger the drain.
- Hydro-jetting, or water-jetting, is the use of high-pressure water to clean out a drain line. This works well when there is a significant buildup of dirt, grease, or sludge. While a drain auger can bore right through the stoppage, it doesn’t flush out the debris as efficiently as a hydro-jet. This is a job for a professional plumber.
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Pour Fats Into A Container
Prevention is the best cure, so you should always make sure that excess fat from your cooking ends up in a container rather than down the drain. One of the most common causes of blocked kitchen drains is the accumulation of congealed oil from deep fat fryers, mixed with other debris such as food and plastics.
How To Unblock An Outside Drain In 6 Easy Steps
03 July 2018
Has an external drain become clogged on your property? Discover how to unblock it yourself with some tips from our expert plumbers.
Blocked drains can be frustrating. They create backlogs of waste and often result in rather unpleasant smells. Usually, youll get blockages in the narrower pipes of your home, such as those in sinks or toilets. However, debris can build up within outside drains as well, leading them to become clogged.
This might seem like a nightmare scenario, but it may not be a total disaster. There are steps you can take to solve the problem and get your plumbing systems back in working order. Need to know how to unblock an outside drain? Our London drainage experts explain.
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What To Do If Tree Roots Or A Broken Drainage Pipe Is Suspected
Handling the challenges of outside drainage system clogs due to either problems with nearby tree roots causing clogs or pipe damage and breaks can be difficult for even handy property owners to fix.
If trees are located on the property, the roots may have grown towards that drainage pipes in an attempt to draw the water found there to nourish the tree itself. In time, these roots can become very deep and may be actually penetrating the pipe itself causing leaks, cracks and breaks.
Property owners should suspect this scenario if after clearing the drain with powerful pressurized water-jets the drain openings/exits reveal only dirt, mud or stones that are flushing through the underground pipes. This can indicate a severe problem that could involve complicated tree root involvement, and property owners should contact a professional plumber to resolve this problem correctly.
Featured photo credit: Unsplash
Four: Clear The Blockage
Using your drainage rods, attempt to flush out the blockage.
The narrow metal should slide through the sludge, though you may need to apply a bit of pressure. Move the rods around, breaking apart as much of the blockage as possible. This may take some time, especially if the buildup is quite large or stubborn, so be patient. Keep plunging until it becomes easy to move the drainage rods if you can see the blockage, it will start to drain and dissipate.
When using your drainage rods, be sure to twist clockwise. If you twist anti-clockwise, you may find the tough blockages actually result in the joints of your rods becoming unscrewed!
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