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Do I Need Drain Unblocking

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  • Admin
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  • Drain, Pipes, Plumbing, Debris, Soda
  • Posted date:
  • 06-09-2022
Do I Need Drain Unblocking

Do I need drain unblocking? Find out how to tell if your drain is blocked and the methods of unblocking drain.

How to tell if your drain is blocked

There are many ways to tell if you're dealing with blocked drains or not, and with the right equipment, you can prevent future build-ups from affecting your plumbing system and drain pipes. 

When you leave drain blockages for too long, you can cost yourself significant time and money, so let's look at the most common symptoms of clogged drains in your home.

The most obvious symptom of blocked drains at your home is a bad smell being produced. This is a sign of a large blockage caused by food waste, hair, human waste or something else. 

This build-up creates unpleasant odours, either as a result of your sewage pipe backing up or from the items you've been flushing down the toilet and drains. 

Drain unblocking services spend a lot of time unclogging food waste and other materials from external drains and home plumbing systems. With the many linking drain pipes and sewer networks required for your system to work, you have to care for it, or you can experience extremely unpleasant smells.

If there is a large blockage caused by a build-up of waste and debris, your water drainage will be slower than usual. This can be a sign of a bigger problem, but generally is a result of your outside drains and home plumbing system being blocked by hair and grease. 

To prevent blockages and stop slow draining water, you can keep your drains clean and stop debris from falling down by using drain covers.

Another sign of blocked drains is when your flushed toilet water rises higher than normal. If the water begins to rise and begin flooding your bathroom every time you flush, this is not right, and you should contact local drain experts to assist you.

Trapped air in your plumbing can result in gurgling sounds from your drains and plugholes, especially when you begin to run water. Strange noises are to be expected from your plumbing, but if you notice more noises, this can be concerning. 

Debris, rust and sludge in your system, especially when you haven't cleaned them in a long time, can create gurgling and unusual noises.

How do I know if the blockage is in my home?

If your drain is blocked in your home, it is your responsibility to unblock it. When you unblock a drain, you must wear protective clothing and only complete what you feel confident with. 

How to determine whether these blocked or clogged drains are happening in your home is a matter of following these steps:

  • You share no drains with other properties.
  • Neighbours aren't reporting problems with their drainage or plumbing.
  • Certain areas of your house are being affected, and others aren't. For example, your bathroom is blocked, but your kitchen isn't, or your upstairs or downstairs.
  • No flooding on your street or local area.
  • When the manhole cover is lifted, and the drain appears clear, this suggests the blockage is in your home and nowhere else.

Why are my drains blocked?

There are many reasons why your drains could be blocked, starting with regular maintenance. Experts suggest you should unblock drains and clean them regularly, removing potential obstructions and material building up.

Some other reasons why your drains at home could be blocked is because of:

Small pipes

If your pipes are too small, you can experience more blockages due to debris building up more easily.

This problem affects older homes more than modern ones, as metal pipes can become damaged or corrode over time, causing blockages.

Drain misuse

When you start pouring items down the drain, you shouldn't (hair, grease, soap, tissue paper); blockages can quickly form after they congeal and harden.

Understanding the signs of blocked drains and how to fix them can stop you from experiencing expensive and dangerous plumbing problems. Of course, you should only carry out work you feel comfortable with and push for a professional plumber to assist.

What are the methods of unblocking drain?

Professional plumbers have many services and methods of unblocking drains, depending on the level of repair and damage caused. 

To save as much water as possible when dealing with blockages, flooding and leaks, you should contact a plumber as soon as you can. They are stocked with modern equipment and are well versed in keeping costs down and returning your plumbing system to normal life. 

There could also be bigger problems present when you notice blockages, so leaving it to the professionals is wise.

Professional plumbers will use one of two methods most commonly:

Drain rodding

A common practice is to use a drain rod on your sewer pipes or drains. Drain rods are flexible and can unblock anything that is causing water flow issues at your home, especially when navigating complex outside drains and sinks, dislodging sanitary items and wet wipes. 

If you've heard of a plumber's auger, a drain rod is similar.

Drain Jetting

Drain jetting is the use of high-pressure water to unblock your drains, with the water shooting through the pipes to remove clogs and blockages. 

When you enlist the help of a plumber with a power washer, you can typically expect this to last a few hours, but you have the insurance policy of their equipment and experience that they will leave the drain clear.

What to do if your outside drain is blocked

What to do if your outside drain is blocked

Before you spend time pouring hot water, vinegar, baking soda and grabbing a bucket and protective clothing, you should determine where the blockage is on your property. 

Depending on where the clogged drain resides, you may not be wholly responsible for the damage - sharing it with your neighbours means you're both responsible for what you pour down the drain and unblocking it.

Contact your local water company if you're unsure about a shared drain on your site. Your local authority or council are responsible for fixing, repairing and unblocking road drains, so alert them if your street has a wider issue.

If the blocked drain is on your land, it's yours to fix. You can contact a plumber, or you can tackle the blockage yourself. Several factors contribute to why the drain has been blocked, so you should start evaluating that for a solution to form.

Leaves and debris are blocking the drain cover.

It's not unheard of for garden waste, leaves and debris to block drains. If you notice a build-up taking place, you should do your best to sweep and remove leaves from clogging. These items will attract more, and, before you know it, you're dealing with a large blockage.

Coffee grounds and sanitary items stuck in the pipes.

The items you pour down the kitchen sink or (heaven forbid!) into the drains directly affect the pipe's health. Coffee grounds can easily harden with the changing temperature of the pipes, causing smelly drains and blockages.

If you notice foul smells or your outside drain overflowing, especially when it's outside your house, this is not part of the public sewer and is your responsibility to fix.

Ways to Unblock Your Household Drain

The next time your household drain is blocked, whether you're showering or washing the dishes, you should know of some quick fixes that can solve your problem. While we recommend you contact a professional plumber the first chance you get, you can keep the total cost of your home plumbing down by implementing these tips.

Boiling Water

As said above, boiling water is a great way of cleaning a drain pipe once the blockage has been removed, but you can also use it to dislodge and dissolve certain debris. 

When you slowly pour boiling water down your drain, it will travel through the pipes and dissolve food waste, soap and grease that is clogging the flow of water. 

In an emergency, you can attempt to do this by filling up your kettle and pouring the water down the sink in stages. You don't need more equipment and can sometimes do the job.

Ways to Unblock Your Household Drain

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Perhaps the most famous home remedy for fixing blocked drains, baking soda and vinegar can be used as effective natural cleaners to fix various home problems. 

You should use a third or half a cup of baking soda and vinegar, creating a concoction of the two ingredients. Once you have stirred them together, don't waste time pouring them down the sink. Leave it for an hour or even overnight, and then pour boiling water down the drain to wash it all out, hopefully alleviating the problem.

Cleaning the Pipe

We don't recommend this cleaning method to everyone, as it does require more knowledge despite being a simple procedure. Start by placing a bucket under the U-bend pipe under your kitchen sink. 

This will catch all water and leaks during the pipe cleaning. You will need a wrench to loosen slip nuts at either end of the pipe and remove it. All the contents can be emptied into this bucket, although it could produce a nasty smell if the debris has been there a while. Using an old toothbrush or similar tool, dislodge any debris from the pipe and start rinsing it out using gentle cleaning products. Be sure to tighten the slip nuts when you are done.


If you feel comfortable and want to attempt to remove the blockage without the aid of a plumber, consider buying or using a plunger. These are ideal at sucking up blockages, especially in toilets, but do require persistence and won't always fix the problem. 

A bad smell coming from your toilet can sometimes be fixed by you putting some elbow grease into using a plunger, but it can sometimes be a deeper problem.

Plungers Drain Unblocking

Salt and Baking Soda

Since most homeowners will have salt and baking soda ready in their kitchen cupboards, this is an easier fix to implement. Start by mixing half a cup of salt with another half of baking soda and then pouring this slowly down the blocked drain. 

Once again, you should leave this for 10-20 minutes for the full effect and pour boiling water afterwards to finish the process.

Chemical Cleaners

If boiling water doesn't remove your blockage, you're likely dealing with a stronger form of debris. 

Most chemical cleaners can help remove blockages and come in varying strengths. Most supermarkets sell these. Pour it down the drain and leave it to work before running hot water to wash it away.

Biological Cleaners

Homeowners wanting to use more environmentally friendly products can use biological cleaners. These are enzyme-based products that can work through blockages in drains. However, chemical cleaners are stronger and can dissolve older and tougher forms of debris. However, if you are dealing with soap and hair, you could see a benefit from biological cleaners.

Despite all this, the best solution to solving home blockages is regularly caring for and maintaining your drains. Professionals can offer CCTV surveys, visually inspecting your drains and spot problems before they worsen.

If you are based throughout Wigan and the North-West of England, Dillon Services are your local drain experts, and we can help prevent blockages and treat your drains efficiently. Get in contact to arrange an appointment with our team.

Are you looking for blocked drains specialists and septic tank cleaning in Warrington, Macclesfield, Northwich, and Cheshire?

No job is too large or too small- from a small domestic blockage to a commercial site emergency, next time you need emergency drain unblocking in the areas of Cheshire, give us a call on 0800 0725147.