Updated on 14th December, 2022 by Martin Astley
If you have a blocked outside drain, then you will need to call our home emergency cover team to arrange for a drain doctor to come round to your property and give it a strong jet and thorough clean.
But most minor drain blockages can be repaired with very little effort using an outside drain unblocker or other equipment you can buy from a DIY shop or local supermarket. You don’t need to be an expert DIYer to unblock a drain, either; you just have to be willing to get a little dirty and a little smelly!
Figure out what is wrong
The first thing to do when unblocking a drain is to figure out what is wrong. A bathroom drain may be clogged up with soap and hair; grease could block a kitchen sink; and baby wipes can block up toilets. Outdoor drains can also be clogged up with grease, soap, and other domestic products, but they can also become blocked because of leaves and outdoor debris.
Unblocking indoor drains
So how can you unblock a drain? Indoor drains can usually be unblocked with something as simple as a bottle of drain unblocker. Pour this in the drain before you go to bed, following the instructions on the bottle, and then rinse it out the following morning. Make sure you stay safe; you should wear rubber gloves at a minimum when using drain unblocker, as it can be very corrosive and can cause chemical burns. If it is accidentally ingested or if it makes contact with the eyes, the consequences could be even more serious.
Unblocking outdoor drains
While it is more complicated to unblock an outdoor drain than an indoor drain, it is by no means a difficult task and shouldn’t take you more than half an hour. You’ll need a set of drain rods, appropriate protective clothing, and perhaps a peg for your nose.
Take off the drain cover
Pull the inspection cover off the drain. You might need to use a screwdriver or other thin, flat object to jimmy it open. If there’s a handle but you can’t seem to budge it, tying some rope or string around it will give you better leverage and help you remove the drain cover.
If the drain chamber is filled with water, then the blockage is somewhere after this chamber. However, if the chamber is empty, then the blockage is somewhere before it, perhaps in the soil pipe between the chamber and your domestic plumbing system. Work your way along the chamber until you find a drain chamber that is between a full chamber and an empty chamber.
Use your drain rods
Take your drain rods and plunge them into the drain chamber. Keep on plunging until you feel yourself dislodging the blockage. Rotate the rods clockwise while pushing them forward; if you rotate them in an anti-clockwise direction, you might unscrew the plunger attachment in the drain!
Push the drain rod continually through the blockage. This should dislodge and break up whatever is blocking your drain.
Clean it out
Once you have finally unblocked the drain, run some clean water through it to rinse away any additional debris and prevent future blockages. Turn on the taps in your house for a few minutes and check to see that the water is running through the drains as it should. Pour some bleach down the drains for additional cleanliness.
To prevent blocked drains, please read our help and advice guide here.
If your drain is still blocked
If, after all this effort, your drain is still blocked, then our home emergency cover team will resolve the drainage emergency on your behalf—just call our 24/7 claims line, quoting your reference number.
But if you want to go it alone, then hire a pressure jet and blast it down your drain. Some petrol-powered hoses can spray water the entire length of a football field and clear debris at the goalposts!
247 Home Rescue accepts no liability for any injuries or damages you sustain following the advice on this website. If in doubt, seek professional assistance.