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How To Clear A Blocked Drain - Tools Of The Trade

Should you find yourself staring at a blocked manhole, toilet of grid there are a couple of questions you should be asking yourself, firstly do you really want to be getting involved with what could be a potentially messy experience, do you have the ability and tools at hand to have a go and finally is your time and effort worth more than the cost of getting out an expert.

If the problem is a blocked gully due to leaves covering the gully grating then of course you should have a go, you can even borrow Bob from next doors drain rods and have a go at that blocked manhole but more often than not the blocked gully or the slow drainage toilet is only a symptom of the main problem. I wish i had a pound for every call we get after 4.30pm from a house owner who has been `rodding the drain all day` and has now `lost a couple of rods with that corkscrew thingy on the end`.

There are of course several methods when it comes to clearing a blocked drain, pipe or sewer, the correct method for each occasion is dependent on access into the affected system, are you working from an upstream or downstream position in relation to the blockage, do you have direct access into the system or are you working through or around a trap.


Drain Rods

When the first drain man crawled out of his cave he had his trusty cane drain rods at his side, we know this because we are still finding them in drains and sewers up and down the country.

www.draindomain.com_how to clear a blocked drainGone are the rigid cane rods of the past and you now get flexible multi-coloured rods with an assortment of attachments but beware, I can well remember being in a tool hire shop in the eighties grumbling in disgust as the shop manager hired out a set of drain rods to a keen householder, i think i may have mentioned something about small contractors like ourselves losing work but i was quickly assured that very seldom did the full set of rods return to the shop, there was almost always one or two rods and a plunger left behind in the problematic drain.

This is because the domestic drain rods on open sale screw together and during the process of thrashing about in a blocked drain they unscrew quite easily, especially when they become stuck and the person at the business end forgets that if he twists them anti-clockwise he`s in big trouble. Its amazing how many times over the years we find drain rods, plungers and corkscrew attachments in systems and guess what, the house owner who has lived in the property for 20 years knows nothing about them or how they got their, i am convinced there`s a phantom drain rodder skulking about in suburbia in the dead of night.

Contractors tend to use lock-tight rods for this very reason, they won`t unscrew, they come in 2mtr lengths and are strong but fairly flexible.

Rods are ideal for systems with access chambers and rodding points but are limited when they have to negotiate traps and multiple bends, rod attachments include plungers, scraping tools and retrieving heads.

Blockages due to solids and paper snagging on displaced joins and sharp changes of direction can be easily cleared however rods tend to punch a hole through tree root ingress and grease and fat, so as soon as the blockage has been cleared it starts to build up again.


Drain Plunger

When you have a blocked gully, toilet, sink or shower and the blockage is within the water trap a good old plunge can do the trick, this could be a modern flat plunger you tend to get with a set of drain rods or the old cartoon style shaped plunger. Problems occur however when contractors and home owners get stuck in and thrash about with a plunger on the main line drainage.

www.draindomain.com_drain_plungerThe problem with plunging a drainage system is that if the blockage is an immovable object and you are pushing a plunger towards it the water has to go somewhere, not a problem if the 10mtrs from the manhole to the blockage has no lateral connections on it, should it have a branch line and that connection runs to a downstairs toilet then the waste water is going to rise at that point and before you know it you have the brown stuff flowing through the house. I`ve seen it done and i have followed contractors onto sites after they have been on the roof plunging the soil vent pipe, the rest bend at the base of the SVP has collapsed and the sewage has shot up through the downstairs toilet. So as mentioned in the earlier drain diagnostics page isolating the blockage can save a lot of mess and expense, but if used in the right circumstances plunging is an affective means of clearing blocked drains and traps.


Closet Auger

A handy tool for clearing blocked toilets it is basically a length or flexible metal rod that passes easily around the U bends and extends to about 1.5mtrs, there is a handle so that you can rotate the rod and a retrieving head on the end should you wish to keep a trophy from your little expedition.

The only real set back is you have to be careful that you don`t scratch the toilet bowl especially if you are at a customers house, you just know that you won`t be able to get a replacement toilet in that 1970`s mustard colour and of course the whole bathroom set matched and now needs replacing so that £55.00 you just made has turned into a major loss.