flowing water in the sink

4 Easy Steps on How to Unblock an Outside Drain

Almost everybody has had a toilet block up on them at some point in their lives. A blockage in a home’s internal drains is one of the most common household problems; unfortunately, it can be very messy.

But when you have an outside drain blocked, the problem rises to an entirely new level. That is because blocking outside drains can cause water to back up into your home in multiple rooms all at once.

So, if you have a clogged exterior drain, it is essential to take action quickly to remove the drain blockages from your plumbing system and protect your home from water damage.

4 Steps to Unblock Your Outside Drain

Luckily, there are some things that you can do to clear a blocked outside drain.

1. Remove the Drain Cover

The first thing that you will need to do is remove the outdoor drain cover. This will give you access to your outdoor drainage so that you can assess the situation.

A screwdriver should do the trick in most cases, but you can use a grate hook if the outdoor drain grate is particularly heavy.

Read More: Blocked Drains Warning Signs

2. Mechanical Methods

cutting a wire coat hangerNext, you will need to look inside the drain and see if you can tell what is causing the stubborn blockage. If you can see the backup, then you may be able to remove it with your hands.

If the drain blockage is not readily visible, you can gently use a wire coat hanger to probe around and see if you can dislodge the clog.

When using a wire coat hanger, be careful not to push the debris further down the blocked drain. You want to try to pull it up and out of the pipe.

For a low cost, you can also purchase a drain rod or a drain snake from a hardware store to try to remove the blockage. The drain rod or snake will break up the clog and allow the water to drain freely.

Regardless of your instrument, ensure you wear a sturdy set of waterproof rubber gloves to protect your hands from natural bacteria, muck, and debris.

3. Use Water to Help

If you cannot remove the blockage with your hands or a mechanical assist, you can try flushing the drain with boiling water. This will help to break up fat deposits and organic matter and is useful in unblocking drains.

Boil a pot of water and slowly pour it down your outdoor drains, being careful not to splash yourself. You may need to do this multiple times to see results.

Another option after trying these other methods is to use a garden hose to flush out your external drains. Turn the hose to full power and direct the stream of water down your outdoor drains. This will help to push any newly softened debris through the drain and unblock an outside drain. 

Of course, if you have access to a high-pressure hose, that will increase the water flow and clear even more debris.

4. Try a Chemical Drain Unblocker

If you are still struggling after you tried all the methods to unblock drains, you can use chemical alternatives to unblock a drain outside.

There are several drain-unblocking remedies, but you need to be careful with these as they can be corrosive. Always follow the instructions on the packaging, wear long sleeves and protective clothing, and take care not to splash the chemicals on yourself or anyone else.

There are also two chemical options that use items commonly found around the house. The first is a combination of baking soda and vinegar. To clear a drain with this combination, pour 200 g of baking soda into the drain, followed by 250 ml of vinegar. You should see bubbling and fizzing as the baking soda and vinegar react.

This combination will help break down organic material. Leave the mixture for at least 30 minutes and agitate the stubborn debris mechanically with drain rods or other means. You can then flush the drain with boiling water.

The second home remedy is bleach or caustic soda. Made of sodium hydroxide, these materials have a high pH. In fact, caustic soda will break down almost anything in its path. Use rubber gloves and eye protection with this product, as it can cause severe burns.

To unblock a drain with caustic soda:

  1. Pour 700 ml of caustic soda into 12 L of water.
  2. Allow them to mix thoroughly, and then pour the mixture down the drain.
  3. Leave it for 30 minutes, then gently use mechanical agitation with drain rods or the like to break up the blockage.

Again, flush the drain thoroughly with hot water, so you do not damage the pipes with the chemicals.

Also Read: How to Prevent Blockages in Drains

Outside Drain Clog Prevention

cleaning the gutter with leavesOf course, the best way to deal with blocked drains is to prevent the problem from happening in the first place. Here are some ways to prevent future blockages:

  • Regularly examine your tree roots to ensure they are not growing into your drain.
  • Regularly clear leaves and debris from your gutters, so they don’t end up in your drains.
  • Be careful about what you put down the drain pipe, and never discard items down a bathroom sink or drain opening that could harden and cause a clog. Also, don’t put wet wipes, sanitary items, or coffee grounds down the kitchen drain or sewage system.
  • Check the overflow relief gully regularly to ensure it is not blocked, as that may lead to a clogged drain.
  • Use covers to catch hair on inside drains and outdoor debris outside drains.
  • Regularly clean sewers and downpipes with pressurized water to remove debris buildup and unblock drains.

If you are looking for a local professional plumber who can help you prevent outside drain clogs. Check these links below:

Call a Professional

If you have tried to clear your external drain using the above home remedies and are still struggling to unblock a drain outside, then it is time to call in a professional plumber. A blocked outside drain can indicate a more severe problem, so it is best not to delay getting help.

At Damien McEvoy Plumbing, our professional plumbers have the expertise and equipment to quickly and efficiently remove the toughest drain blockage, no matter the cause. 

We can use high-pressure water jets for drain jetting to eliminate the stubborn blockages of clogged outside drains. We also do a thorough review of your entire drainage system to ensure there are no unseen plumbing problems on your property, such as tree roots impinging on your sewer line.

Contact our plumbing services today at (02) 8599 4593, and we’ll get your drain back to business in no time.

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