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How to clear a blocked drain

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  How to Clear a Blocked Drain How to Clear a Blocked Drain by James Hickman

How to clear a blocked drain

Tools: Bucket (that fits under the drain), rubber gloves, a torch, a plunger, old wire coat hanger or stiff piece of wire.
Approximate time to complete: Less than an hour.

Getting started

GENERALLY, clearing a blocked drain is a simple task, and the common causes of a blockage can be attributed to excessive disposal of cooking fats and oils, along with other domestic waste including DIY materials such as plaster.

Using a plunger to clear blockage

…The kitchen sink
Your first possible solution to clear a drain blockage is to use a plunger. Place the tool over the drain and ensure the rubber ring on the bottom of the plunger has made an airtight seal.
Push down gently and release quickly to begin the suction. Repeat for about 20 seconds, or until you break the clog free. If using a plunger doesn't prove successful, then the pipe below the sink could be blocked.

If you have a double sink then place the plunger over one drain and fill the sink with a few inches of water, make sure the plunger seals around the drain. Firmly hold a wet cloth over the other drain opening to block it before you start plunging. Roll the head of the plunger into the water so you force water, not air, into the drain. Start pumping forcefully. On your final “plunge” pull the plunger from the drain to create extra pressure, if the water doesn't swirl straight down the drain, continue plunging for several minutes.

Clearing the pipe manually
Carefully unscrew the portion of pipe under the sink that leads to the trap, making sure you have a bucket beneath the pipe to catch any spillage. Rinse the pipe out thoroughly with hot water to loosen any possible debris. If the pipe is not blocked, then the clog could be in the waste pipe, you'll need to check the segment between the trap and the sink for obstruction. Use a stiff piece of wire to poke the pipe clear. Once complete, re-join the pipe and pour hot soapy water down the drainage hole to ensure the blockage completely is cleared.
…In the bathroom
Is water gurgling up into your bath from the drain when the shower is being used?
If so, then your waste pipe is no doubt clogged with hair and soap residue. Using an old wire coat hanger, or a stiff piece of wire, make a “hook” at the end and lower it into the drain. Try to fish out the debris that is clogging the drain.

Unblocking a clogged toilet

A large plunger is usually the ideal remedy for toilets that are not flushing away waste properly.
Place the plunger over the outlet at the bottom of the toilet pan and plunge for a few seconds. When the blockage is cleared flush the toilet with a bucket of water.

Never plunge a drain soon after pouring drain cleaners down it. The chemicals can be harmful if they come into contact with your skin. Drain cleaners should only be used if water is draining slowly, and not when there is a complete block.

Avoiding blocked drains

Don't overload your drain with foods high in starch (pasta, potatoes and rice), and avoid flushing bacon grease and coffee grounds down the drain because they solidify once settled and cooled. Also, clear remnants of plaster and DIY waste from your tools before rinsing.

Simple home remedies to clear a blocked drain

Pour half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of white vinegar into the drain. After a few minutes flush with boiling water.
Baking soda and vinegar breaks down fat residue and freshens your drain of unpleasant odours.
Using this simple remedy frequently will assist in preventing your drains becoming blocked by domestic waste.

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