Blocked Drain – Can you fix it?
If you have ever experienced a blocked drain, you know how frustrating and inconvenient it can be. Read this to make sure you don’t get mislead by a company that may entice you by advertising a cheap starting rate when they’ll know what the cause is. For example, is there a sink slowly draining or the shower grate is holding water and slowly draining, or when flushing the toilet, the water level is rising (scarily close to overflowing all over your floor). The best thing to do is call a professional but what if it’s a problem you can fix yourself?
This is why we want to talk about the difference between blockages. Does your blocked drain simply need a plunge and maybe some drainage cleaner (acid) or does it require drain unblocking hydro (a drain snake) or root cutting machines?
We’ve all experienced that feeling of dread when you use your sink, and the water keeps rising and won’t drain away. Or you flush the toilet, and the water level rises instead of flushing down the toilet pipe. It can be a serious issue where you need to call in a professional licenced plumber/drainlayer, but there are ways you could try to clear it yourself.
Blockage for a plunge!
The great plunger is a good item to have tucked away in the back of your laundry cupboard; the standard cup style is fine. If it’s a small blockage, then go and get your plunger. First, make sure you plug up the overflow drain on the sink – you can do this by using a cloth such as a flannel or a dishcloth. Put the plunger over the sink plug and make sure it is creating a seal over the sink hole, (the sink will have water in it, and this is good). Now you need to pump the handle up and down rapidly and you will see dirty water come up through the plunger; take the plunger out and watch the water drain; you may need to repeat a few times.
What if the Plunger doesn’t work?
When you’ve tried to unblock a sink, shower, or toilet yourself and it hasn’t worked, or you have wastewater or sewer overflowing outside you need to call a professional. It’s important to determine what the blocked drain is so you can relay as much information as possible for instance, is it on a pump system like a Sani pump that does the toilets and hand basin, or does it discharge over a gully trap outside? By determining this you can then understand where the blockage could be and how it can be unblocked. This is very useful information for a plumber and may mean reduced cost as the plumber knows what they are coming to.
In some circumstances, a whole house could be on a pump station which would be located within the boundary of the property. Then from there, it can hold up to 2000ltr of sewage and if this was to fail the chamber starts to fill and that will set off an alarm and should activate a flashing light.
However the most common is connected to the council’s public wastewater and stormwater system via connections that should be in your boundary and this is unblocked with specialised equipment of hydro machines or root cutting machines.
Rural locations have septic tanks for wastewater that can be pump-operated or non-pump-operated. It won’t be the tank itself that is blocked. If it’s pump operated it could be a blocked filter going to the pump causing the tank to overflow. If its non-pump operated and discharges to a field, it will be the pipes blocked and will have an issue such as collapsed pipes. Both circumstances require a drain layer and the septic tank to be sucked out.
Health and Safety
When dealing with any of these blocked drains there is a health and safety risk. You’ll need protective gear like eye protection, and masks must be worn. Use gloves and sanitiser, and don’t forget the area that has wastewater or sewerage needs to be cleaned up and sanitised immediately.
AllGo Plumbing is an expert in Drain Unblocking – we do it every day. If you have a blocked drain and need help to get it sorted Give Allgo Plumbing a call!