A functioning plumbing system keeps homes clean and hygienic since the waste is disposed of efficiently.
So, blocked drains can create many problems and interfere with daily activities. They can cause backflow through the toilet and kitchen, which results in flooding, while accumulated wastewater will eventually give out a foul smell around the house.
And if you don’t clean the blocked drains, they can cause your pipes to develop a leak and affect the main plumbing system. Hence, it is vital to fix a blocked drain whenever you notice one in your house, and today we will discuss how to unblock a drain outside.
What Are The Main Causes Of Blocked Drains Outside?
When it comes to outside blocked drains, some of the most common reasons for drain blockages are soil, mud, leaves, branches, moss, litter, and other debris. Besides this, the wastes we discard, such as big chunks of food scraps, can get stuck in a drain opening, which results in a blockage.
The toughest drain blockage occurs when people flush sanitary items and wet wipes down the toilet, clogging the internal pipe. On a similar note, you should be careful not to flush hair or soap down drain openings, as they can cause severe damage to your property and plumbing system.
How To Spot Blockages In Outside Drains?
Blockages in outside drains are usually hard to spot, but here are a few key factors that can help you to identify a blocked drain:
A. Blocked Kitchen Outside Drains
Kitchen drains usually get blocked when food scraps and other organic waste are stuck inside the pipe. Check the kitchen sink and look for debris or food waste whenever you notice an outside drain blockage.
B. Nasty Smelling Drains
When the drain gets blocked, all the waste is collected in one area. Since they remain stuck for a long time, they emit a rotten and foul smell, an indicator of a blocked pipe. If you notice your outside drains are smelling, it is high time to unblock and clean them.
C. Overflowing External Drains
When your external drain is overflowing, it is a clear sign that something is blocking the outdoor drainage system.
How To Unclog A Blocked Outside Drain?
It is essential to understand where the blockage lies and if it was caused due to external or internal factors. For instance, not all blocked drains are your responsibility; one example is when your neighbour accidentally dumped your drains with their garbage. In this situation, it is the neighbour’s responsibility to clean the drains.
But if you are responsible for the blockage, we have listed a few DIY fixes for your benefit.
Preparation And Equipment
For this DIY fix, you will require the following items and tools:
- Protective clothing and safety goggles
- Pressure hose
- Drain rod
- Rubber gloves
Steps To Unblock Outside Drains
Step 1. Remove The Outdoor Drain Cover
Before cleaning or unblocking any drain, we advise you to wear protective clothing and goggles since working with drains can be hazardous to your health. Wear high-quality rubber gloves to keep your hands clean while working.
From here on, you will need to use a flathead screwdriver to lift the drain cover. The screwdriver will act as a lever to lift the heavy drain cover. As soon as the cover is up slightly, tie a rope around it and use it as leverage to lift it entirely.
While following this step, we recommend you be careful since the cover can fall on the ground and break, resulting in additional costs. Also, ensure that the cover doesn’t fall on your feet which can cause severe injuries.
Step 2. Look For The Blockage
After removing the cover, the next step would be identifying the severely blocked areas. Use a flashlight to scan the inside of the drain and see which part of the drain is blocked.
Wear your rubber gloves and remove as much of the debris as possible. Additionally, you can use a rubbish bin to collect the waste to search for additional factors blocking the drain from within.
You can even blend baking soda and vinegar into a cleaning solution and pour it to remove clogs and unblock drains. But remember to take breaks since working long hours near the drain can cause severe nausea and headache.
You should immediately contact a doctor if you notice any discomfort while breathing.
Step 3. Use Drain Rods To Remove The Remaining Debris
Once you have completed these steps, your final task is to use the drain rod to remove any remaining residue or debris inside the drain. Take the drain rod and insert it into the drain while twisting the rod clockwise to apply pressure to the blocked area.
If the stubborn blockages are giving you a tough time, you might have to plunge and twist the drain rod deeper. This allows the drain rod to free the outside drain before you can use high-pressure water jets to remove stubborn wastes.
How To Clean A Kitchen Drain Pipe?
Kitchen drain pipes are usually smaller; hence, you can’t use your hands to clean them. However, there is a simple way to clean kitchen drain pipes for which you will require two common ingredients - baking soda and vinegar.
Begin by pouring hot water down the drain before taking a cup of baking soda and mixing it with a cup of vinegar. You will notice the mixture beginning to foam and fizzle as soon as you mix the two ingredients.
Pour the mixture down the drain and give it time to react with the debris stuck in the pipes. In addition, cover the drain slightly while you constantly monitor the opening and keep repeating the process till the drain pipes clear up.
You can also use this method for bigger drains, but you will require a larger quantity of baking soda and vinegar to get the best results.
FAQs On Blocked Drains
1. How to deal with standing water?
Standing water usually occurs when your drains are severely blocked by large debris that doesn’t let any water pass through.
First, remove all the standing water from the area and then unclog the drain using the abovementioned methods. Even in this situation, baking soda and vinegar are one of the best solutions for clearing a clogged drain.
2. What are the reasons for the gurgling sounds coming from your drain?
Whenever drains are partially blocked, they give out a gurgling sound. The partial blockage forms air bubbles in the water when it tries to escape from a tiny gap, producing a gurgling sound.
Kitchen drains are usually prone to clogging from oil and leftover food waste, while bathrooms can easily get blocked due to fallen hair and soap.
3. Is it possible for tree roots to block your pipes?
Even after regular maintenance, there is a high chance that your outdoor drains can get blocked by external elements. Outdoor drains are usually susceptible to tree roots in your garden or yard.
Older pipes are vulnerable since the roots only need the smallest gaps to penetrate and grow. When you notice roots growing in the drain, immediately call a professional plumber since it’s tricky to deal with this situation yourself.
4. What is a CCTV drain survey method?
Nowadays, plumbers use a more modern approach while unblocking drains, one of them being a CCTV drain survey method. Plumbers use drain survey equipment with a CCTV camera attached to it and push this device down the opening. This gives them a clear view of the drain from the inside, and some CCTV drain survey devices even come equipped with powerful LED lights for better vision.
5. What to do if you notice an animal stuck in the drain?
It is common for animals to get stuck inside a drain, especially if it is kept open or doesn’t have a cover. Get in touch with a professional plumber and an animal rescue to work together to save the animal. Remember that you should not try not to save it yourself since it might feel threatened and attack you instead.
Get Your Outside Drain Blockage-Free!
Before signing off, we are listing a few tips that can help keep your drains clean.
Try not to dump huge chunks of food waste down the pipes. Instead, you can throw the food waste in a bin and clean your plates in the kitchen sink. Also, if you notice any blockage in your drainage pipe, you should immediately get them cleaned to prevent them from developing leaks in the future. The team at Big Blue Plumbing are always here to help, so don’t hesitate to call us if you have a blocked outdoor drain!
We will see you next time with another engaging guide. Bye!