So you’ve discovered that your outside drain is blocked. Of course, your immediate thought is, “How much is this going to cost me?”

Don’t panic! There are a few things you could try before calling out a professional, and we’re here to guide you through them in this handy blog.

So sit down, have a read and relax. For now, at least. Unblocking an outside drain can sometimes be an easy task. However, it can quickly become a very difficult one if you don’t know what you are doing or have the right equipment. Also, believe us when we say that you’re going to need a strong stomach, as the smell will be foul!

PPE to unblock a drain

Safety should always your first priority. Before attempting to take on the task of unblocking your drain, you’ll need to make sure you’re fully protected. Many diseases, including Wells disease, Hepatitis B and C are often lurking in drains, and you wouldn’t want to catch anything nasty. There can also be sharp objects down there, so thick protective gloves are a must. Here’s a list of the full PPE you’ll need to get started:

  • Eye protection/goggles
  • Overalls (unless you fancy your clothes covered in poop!)
  • Waterproof, elbow length, thick gloves
  • Over shoes/wellies
  • Face mask (you wouldn’t want anything splashing into your mouth!)
  • Most importantly, always wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds, even after use of gloves.

Equipment to unblock a drain

Now that you’re fully protected for the task in hand, you’ll need some tools to help you to unblock your drain. Here’s a list of products that you should be able to get hold of easily from most large DIY stores.

  • Prise bars (you may need to lift up a manhole cover or move gully grates)
  • Drain rods (the main tool in unblocking your drain)
  • Bleach/disinfectant (to clean the area after you have finished)
  • Bin liners (for any debris)
  • Hose pipe or buckets of water (to help unblock the drain and also for cleaning up afterwards)

How to locate a drain blockage

Once you’ve got all your equipment ready, you need to try to locate whereabouts the drain is blocked. You might have a blocked gully or even a blocked manhole. Here’s a short video to show how to locate a blockage in your drain.

How to unblock your drain

Once you’ve located the blockage, screw your drain rods together and attach the rubber plunger to the end. Push the rods down the drain hole and push down and up in short, sharp bursts. Some water may burst from the drain.

Whatever you do, don’t turn the rod anti-clockwise while it’s down your drain. The sections of the rod will unscrew and you’ll be left with part of the rod stuck in your drain!

Pour more water down there every so often, and then try the plunger again. Once you’re sure it’s clear, give it a good swill out with the disinfectant and replace the cover.

If this doesn’t work, or you’re not sure if you’ve got the stomach to give it a go, just give us a call. We’re experts in unblocking and repairing drains in Manchester, and can arrange a visit to get your drains back in working order.