Blocked drains happen to everyone. What’s important is that you know what to do when you have a blocked drain. Locate the cause and get it fixed — and know what to do next time to keep your drains healthy.
Below we’ve listed ten things you need to do if you have a blocked drain at home. Follow these and your blockage should ease up.
1. Turn off all the appliances which run from the mains water
You have many appliances in your home which run off your water mains. These include items such as your:
- Washing machine
- Water heater
Leaving these appliances on while you have a blocked drain not only risks causing damage to them, it can also make the blockage worse as the water that flows from them will not be able to drain. Turn them all off at the source until the blockage is cleared up.
2. Check your grating & gully
If the blockage has led you to have an overflowing gully, then it may be that the problem is being caused by clogged grating.
While a blocked gully can cause real problems for your home, it be fixed fairly simply by following these straightforward steps:
- Locate the blockage
- Remove the drain cover
- If you can’t see the blockage, use a drain rod to locate it
- Dislodge the debris
- Rinse the drain with a hose
- Pour hot water into the drain to clear any greasy or fatty build up.
3. See if your vent pipe is blocked
Venting lets air enter your drain pipe while the water in it drains away. Enough air in your vent pipe will allow the waste and water to drain away properly.
Have a look at your vent pipe opening on the roof of your home. This can become blocked by birds nests or debris created by other animals.
4. Look for gulp valves
Gulp valves are normally mounted at the end of your drain line. You can spot them by looking for an item that looks like the cap of a spray paint can.
Checking for gulp valves is important because they are designed to stop sewer gas from leaving the drain line, while letting air into your vent pipe. A problem with your gulp valve could be behind your drain getting blocked.
5. Minimise your toilet and sink use
One of the most unpleasant things about having a blocked drain is that you need to use your toilet and sink as little as possible. This is because using either your sink or your toilet will just add to the blockage.
In fact, using your sink and toilet while you have a blocked drain may cause them to block too — spreading the blockage to other parts of your home and making the problem more serious.
6. See if your neighbours have a blocked drain too
Your neighbours may same the drains as you. This means that you are having problems with their drains, then they may also be experiencing issues with their drains. It might also be that your blocked drain has been caused by something that has happened at their property.
Check to see if your neighbours have a blocked drain. If they do, then they will also need to stop using their drains while you both establish what has caused the blockage.
7. Look for drain covers near your home
Check the area surrounding your property for drain covers. If you are uncertain where they might be, then check the plans for your property as these should indicate where the drain covers are.
It is important to check external drain covers, because if there is a blockage in your drain then, there may be other blockages in the surrounding area. Do not go inside the drain covers when checking for blockages.
8. Find out if you’re on the mains drains
You will either be on the mains drains or you will have a septic tank or sewage treatment plant. If you live in an urban area then it is likely you will be on the mains drains. If you live in a remote area, then the chances are that you will be on a septic tank or sewage treatment plant.
You need to know what you are on, because this changes what needs to be done in order to clear the blockage and deal with the issues caused by it. For example, if you have a septic tank, then you may need a sewage tanker to empty it. Speak to your water company to find out what your situation is.
9. Check for outside water sources
If you require professional help to clear your blocked drain, then the chances are that we will need access to water in order to clear the blockage. It is likely that a high powered water jetting device will be needed to unblock and clean your drain.
Look for an outside water source that can be used by the specialist drainage services you have called. If you have no access to an outside water source, then let the professionals know.
10. Establish if you have flooded circuits or equipment
One of the more serious problems caused by a blocked drain is when your circuits or electrical equipment become flooded. This creates a hazard for you and your family, as there is a risk of experiencing an electric shock.
If you think there is a risk your circuits or equipment have become flooded, then contact an electrician to establish the extent of the problem.
There are many different things you need to do if you have a blocked drain. Some of these things will help to stop your blockage, while others will help you establish the cause.
If you are unable to fix your blocked drain then it is important you contact a professional drainage services company.
If you do try and fix a blocked drain without expert advice, then you could make the problem more serious, making the solution even more expensive.