Blocked drains

Blocked drains unblocked

A blocked drain or backed up pipe. Sooner or later everyone experiences it. It could be your bathroom sink, kitchen sink, toilet, bath or sauna. Don’t despair as there are steps you can take prior to calling a plumber. Before trying to unclog or unblock your drain, it’s wise to know what you’re doing before you start.

Here are some steps you can try to unblock the drain without using caustic chemicals. Note we take no responsibility for injury to yourself or damage to property by trying these techniques.

1. Visually check out the drain to ensure the blockage isn’t easily removed.

2. Get a plumbers plunger If you can’t visually see the clog. Plumber’s plunger are usually available at most hardware stores. Run enough water in the sink or bath to cover the plunger head. If there is an overflow outlet, block it with a towel or a rag. Swiftly plunge the plunger over the drain six or seven times. Test if water runs freely. If it doesn’t, repeat several times before deciding that the plunger is not going to do the job.

3. If the plunger didn’t clear the blocked drain, try using a plumbers snake, which is basically a flexible steel cable with a handle. Plumbers snakes are normally stocked at hardware stores. Insert the snake and turn it as you push it down into the drain. This might push the clog on through the plumbing or it could hook the clog, which would allow you to pull the clog out.

4. Your last option before calling a plumber is the use of chemicals if the plunger or snake attempts did not work. Using chemicals, which is not recommended by ourselves, to clear blockages or clogs are very caustic and environmentally harmful. Even plumbers will not use chemicals except as a last resort. An old remedy that is friendly to the environment that may work on your blocked drain is to pour equal parts (usually a cup), of baking soda and white vinegar down the drain, then quickly block the drain opening. Wait several minutes while you hear the fizzing, then run hot water into the drain. You might need to redo the baking soda and vinegar process a few times before the blockage is cleared.

Another cause of blocked drains can be plant roots breaking into the drains. There are three options for getting rid of intruding roots:

  1. replace pipes (expensive)
  2. use cupric sulfate crystals which will kill the roots (check local government allows this)
  3. ask plumber to run a root cutter down the pipe

If you end up calling in a Plumber and have used chemicals, ensure you inform the Plumber so they don’t injure themselves.

Maintenance to help stop clocked drains include pouring boiling water down drains once a month, except for toilets as this could damage the porcelain.