Drainage Plus runs you through how to clear a blocked drain outside

Unexpectedly finding your drain blocked outside can be an unpleasant surprise. Outside drains can build up a backlog of waste and it can even lead to unwanted smells. Usually a blockage happens to narrow pipes in homes, such as the pipes that your toilet and sinks rely on. However, outside drains also face the challenges of external debris getting into them too.

Your initial thought upon seeing the blockage may be, how much does it cost to unblock an outside drain? Whilst professional drain unblockers are on hand to help with these situations, there are a few things you can do before you call a professional. These steps may require you to get stuck in, and even a little dirty.

This may seem like a nightmare scenario, but the good news is, there are many ways to clear a blocked external drain.

Using screwdrivers to open the cover of a blocked drain

Step 1: What's Blocking Your Drain?

Before you do anything, you need to assess what may be causing the blockage using the best method you can. Usually the easiest way to gain visibility into your drain is to remove the cover. Most drain covers just require you to pull them upwards, but some may require you to use a screwdriver.

There are a few things you can do to assess the severity of the block. If the blockage is visible, this allows you to make a quick assessment on weather it looks like something you can do, or if you’ll need a professional. For example, if you can see a heap of leaves down there or if you can see your outside drain is blocked with silt, you may be able to simply remove these and solve the problem. However, if you cannot see any signs of what might be causing the block, this may be something deeper which would require a professional’s help.

If you think the type of block you have is something you can handle, move onto step two.

Blocked/Broken toilet

Step 2: Get The Necessary Tools Ready

Having the correct tools for the jobs makes unblocking a drain outside much easier. Most professionals use a high pressure water jet, but you can also use a drainage rod.

High pressure water jets blast away anything in the way of your drainage system by breaking up the blockage and flushing it out. As they’re extremely powerful, they can remove any obstructions in a matter of minutes.

Drainage rods are thin which makes them perfect for even the smallest pipes and they’re also strong and flexible. Drainage rods enable you to reach the blockage and disturb its formation by pushing through it. It’s a great tool as it can access deep blockages that would be near impossible to reach without one.

You may wish to get some old or protective clothes on before you go any further. You may even want to protect your mouth and eyes if the blockage is near the surface. This avoids you experiencing a backsplash of built up bacteria. Get a bucket ready and you’re ready for the next step.

Blocked drain

Step 3: Remove The Blockage

As we mentioned before, if the blockage is visible, you may want to try and tackle this yourself. Get your bucket ready for this part, you won’t want to leave the debris around the drain after removing it.

If the blockage causing your outside drain problems is within arms reach, go ahead and extend your arm into the drain to remove what you can. Surface tasks like this are simple to remove, such as outside drains blocked with silt or leaves. However, it’s not a pleasant job and the preferable method is to use a drainage rod or jet.

If you’re looking to use a high pressure water jet to clear the block, you can simply aim the hose down the drain and it will reach the point you need it to. Don’t worry if you can’t quite see the block, the water can reach even past pipe bends.

If you’re looking to use the drainage rod method, get the rod at the ready and don’t be afraid to really dig in. Ensure you twist the rod clockwise to avoid the joins becoming unscrewed. The rods are made from a narrow piece of metal, so it should just coast through the blockage with the appropriate pressure. You may need to try this a few times for more stubborn or large built up areas. You’ll know once it’s beginning to break apart as the rod will feel much easier to get through.

Unblocking a drain outside isn’t the most glamorous tasks, but you’ll be glad when it’s done. Remove all the debris you can and then you’re ready for the final step.

Cleared Exterior Drain

Step 4: Clean and Finish Up!

Hopefully at this point, you’ve successfully unblocked your outside drain. This means water should be running through the drain with no problems, smell or backlog. Taking extra time to ensure your drain is completely unblocked will be time well spent. You don’t want to do the same task the following day.

Clear around the drain to ensure there is no silt or debris that could easily gain access into your outside drain and try to keep this area tidy. Blast the yet or a hose pipe down the pipe to wash away any leftover debris and clean any tools you’ve used.

How To Unblock an Outside Drain You Can't Clear

If you’ve given these steps a go and the blockage still persists, it’s time to call a professional. Outside drain blockages can be more difficult to clear when compared to those from kitchen sinks. This is due to the vast amount of internal and external debris that can get into them.

Still wondering how to unblock an outside drain? If you’re not comfortable with the above steps or if you haven’t been able to successfully remove the block, contact Drainage Plus to get your outside drain cleared.

Cover Image by Alan Stanton found here licenced under CC 2.0

Need help unblocking your outside drain? Call us on 01243 282 818

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