A blocked drain can be an annoying problem to deal with, especially if you’re in a hurry or have guests over at the time. There are a few things you can do to unblock your drain if it becomes blocked in an emergency. In this article, we will share some tips for emergency drain unblocking.
How do drains get blocked?
Drains can become blocked very easily, and the most common causes of blocked drains are debris, food particles, hair, grease, and oily residue. When these items build up in the drain, they will prevent water from flowing through them properly.
This is when you should either try yourself or, better still, call a professional drain unblocking service to remove them for you.
What are the signs of a drain blockage?
A blockage in the drain is caused by a buildup of material that prevents the flow of water through your drain. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but when it does, you’ll likely notice a change in any of the following:
- Water starts draining away at a slower speed than normal.
- If you have multiple clogs, your sink or bathtub may even start to overflow.
- Water may start backing up into the other fixtures attached to the same drainage line, and you will see wastewater bubbling up through other drains or toilets.
- If there is an unpleasant odor coming from your sink or tub, you may have a clog in your drain due to grease buildup or rotten food that has been sitting in it for too long.
Water buildup in the pipe may cause pressure on the joints, which can lead to leaking. The first sign this has happened may be a damp patch occurring on the wall or ceiling, and in extreme cases, you may even see a bulge appear in the ceiling.
Tips for unblocking your drains
If water is not going down the drain or is backing up into the other fixtures attached to the same drainage line, you are dealing with a clogged drain.
The first thing you should do when you think you have a drain clog is to turn off any water supply valves and open all your taps to drain them as far as possible so that when you start clearing out your pipes, the excess water in them won’t overflow onto your floor, unnecessarily.
We recommend that you try drain unblocking yourself before calling a plumber out. Here are some tips as to what to do:
Tip #1 – Remove the trap
This will allow you to reach into the drain and clear out any debris that has accumulated there by hand or by using a bent wire coat hanger.
Wear protective gloves when handling waste debris to prevent handling rotten food that could cause a health hazard, especially if you have any broken or sensitive skin. If this doesn’t solve your problem, move on to the next tip.
Tip #2 – Use a plunger
You can purchase a plunger from all hardware stores. They are a simple tool with a rubber cup on one end which you use by placing over the drain and creating a seal either with water.
By pumping the plunger a few times, the vacuum created in the drain will dislodge any debris, which can then be flushed away.
Tip #3 – Use baking soda & vinegar
First, pour baking soda into the drain and leave it for a few minutes to absorb any grease. Then add an equal amount of vinegar into the drain and wait for the resultant chemical reaction to subside (it will bubble like crazy for about 20 minutes). This reaction will dislodge debris stuck in the drain pipe, and you can then flush it away by running the hot tap.
Take care when using this method, as the mixture will be mildly caustic and can burn your skin or eyes if you get any splashing. It is always advisable, therefore, to wear protective goggles and gloves.
It is also advisable not to use this method if you have color-plated taps, as it can tarnish the plating.
Tip #4 – Use a drain snake
A drain snake (also known as an auger) is a flexible rod that can be inserted into your drain through an inspection port. The drain snake is hand-wound or attached to an electric drill to be sent along the drain in a twisting fashion.
As it is manoeuvered along the drain, it picks up debris such as paper, hair, or leaves and captures it in the spring. When the snake is pulled out, the debris is pulled with it back through the inspection point.
The debris can then be removed by hand and thrown away. Once enough of the debris that is causing the drain blockage has been taken away, the water will start to flow again, and the rest of the debris can be flushed away by running the tap or inserting a hose pipe.
Tip #4 – Use a proprietary chemical drain unblocker
Go to any DIY center or large supermarket, and you will find a range of commercial drain unblockers. Whereas there are some general-purpose drain unblockers, most are designed to resolve specific problems such as hair or grease.
So, always read the labels carefully or ask advice from a shop assistant in the store. All these chemicals can cause burns or allergic reactions, so take extra care when using them by wearing protective gloves and eye goggles and keeping them away from children and animals.
What to do if these tips don’t work
If, after using these methods, there still seems like there still isn’t enough water flowing through the drain pipe, then call us, at Pro Blocked Drains, for help immediately because there may be something more serious going on here, such as blockages caused by a build-up of grease or builder’s waste which would require professional assistance.
There are some things that you can do to try and clear the clogging before calling a plumber. If your drain is blocked by hair, grease, or food particles, follow our tips to clear the drain blockage.
Or, take the easier, quicker (and often cheaper) route by calling our emergency hotline on 0800 611 82 99. We are available to help at any time of day or night, every day of the year.
Call Pro Blocked Drains on 0800 611 82 99
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