Tool hire national delivery icon Cheap National Delivery - £7.50 each way Click and collect iconFREE Click & Collect - 70 National Branches Low tool hire prices iconLow Prices - Hire Online


How to unblock a drain

Date posted: 30 January 2014

Unblocking the drains may not be the most pleasant of jobs, but you can usually get the job done in under half an hour if there is only a minor blockage – and, if you can put up with the smell, you will save a lot of money by doing it yourself rather than calling in a professional.

You will soon know about it if your drain is blocked. Water in your sinks or bath may not drain properly when you pull the plug, or your toilet water may not flush away. Or the problem could become apparent when the manhole covers nearest to your house start to overflow, or there is a bad smell around the drains.

The good news is that blockages can usually be resolved quite easily without any expensive tools.

Essential equipment
All you will need a pair of rubber gloves, a set of drain rods and a bucket or hose. A spade or screwdriver may also come in useful to lift some drain covers. If you don't own a set of drain rods you can easily hire a set from your local tool hire centre.

Identifying the problem area
First of all you need to lift the drain inspection cover closest to your house, and check whether or not the inspection chamber is full of water. If there are no handles on the cover, you may need a spade or a similar tool to lever up the cover's edge. If you find the chamber empty, this means the blockage is somewhere in the soil pipe between the house and the chamber. If you find there is water in the chamber, however, this means the problem is further along the pipework, closer to the mains sewer. You can then check the next chamber along until you have isolated the problem spot - i.e. between chambers that are full and empty.

Using the drain rods
Take two or three drain rods and the plunger head and screw them together. Push it into the pipe opening in the direction of the blockage. Rotate the drain rods slowly in a clockwise direction to help ease them forward. Never turn them in an anti-clockwise direction or the rod connectors will unscrew and could easily come apart inside the drain.

Shift the blockage
Continue to add further sections of drain rod until you feel the blockage in the pipe. At this point you need to move the plunger rapidly backwards and forwards in a bid to dislodge the blockage. If this isn't effective, remove the rods and fit the corkscrew attachment. Carry on twisting and pushing the rods until water flows through. Once pieces of loose debris appear in the inspection chamber, try to pick the pieces out.

Run your taps
You now need to run the hot taps in your house for at least five minutes, adding some household detergent to help shift and flush through any fat in the pipes. Make sure the water flows away normally, then replace the drain inspection cover. Rinse off the drain rods with fresh water using a bucket or hose, and allow them to dry completely before you store them away.

If the water still isn't flushing away properly, it's time to call a professional drain clearing company to investigate the problem. Check your insurance policy to see if you’re covered. Homeowners are only liable for the drains within the boundary of their own property and those that are not shared -- all other pipework is the responsibility of the utility company.

Avoiding future blockages
You can try to avoid future blockages by making sure you dispose of waste appropriately. Never flush the following down the drain:

  • fats and oils
  • paints and solvents
  • disposable nappies and wipes
  • sanitary products
  • waste food
  • condoms
  • bandages and dressings
  • cotton wool and cotton buds

You can also buy an inexpensive drain tidy to cover the base of your external pipes, preventing leaves and other debris from falling down the drain and creating blockages.



How to hire?

Best at hire is your local tool hire centre. We stock a wide range of tools and equipment for hire including all the essentials you need to unblock your drain.

>> Drain clearance & testing tools

Collect from your local store or have your item delivered direct to your door. UK Wide delivery available.

To hire Call 0344 288 8088 or hire online today.

Need to speak to an expert or have a question? Call us today; our hire team is waiting to take your call.

<< Back to news