People who experience blocked drains in London usually resort to calling in a plumber to fix the problem. Its one of the services we provide here at CW Services Plumbing and Heating.
Some people who are keen DIY enthusiasts may consider clearing the blockage themselves, so here are a few tips on how to go about it.
Some useful background information
It’s useful to bear in mind that underground pipes are laid in a straight line most of the time. When a change in direction is required, the bend that is incorporated is usually less than 90 degrees. There is often an inspection chamber at this point.
Inspection chambers normally have manhole covers over them, but in the old days, they used interception chambers. These tend to be located close to the boundary of a property, near where the property drain meets the main sewer.
Early warning signs to look out for that indicate you could have a blocked drain could be:
- Water draining very slowly from WCs, baths and showers.
- An overflowing inspection chamber or an overflowing gully.
If it’s an overflowing gully this can be cleared simply by cleaning the gully out and in the process removing any obstructions. Should the blockage appear to be in the drain itself, you will need to clear it with rods. These can be hired together with various heads. A word of warning – you should wear rubber gloves before starting work.
The tools you will need
Here is a brief summary of the tools and chemicals you will need.
- Drain clearance rods and a 100 mm diameter rubber plunger
- A pair rubber gloves
- A garden spade
- A length of hose
- A large bottle of disinfectant
- A watering can
The rubber gloves should be long and strong, and the garden spade needs to be sturdy. This is because it is this you will use to initially lift the manhole cover.
Locating the blockage
Once you’ve removed the manhole cover you then need to locate and inspect the chamber closest to the main drain, septic tank, or cesspool. If there is no blockage here then it will be in the drain between the chamber and the next one higher up or the gully.
Should you find the chamber to be full, check the chamber nearest to the main drain or septic tank. If the one nearest the main drain appears to be for then the blockage is between that and the main drain. Where the drain leads to a septic tank and the last chamber appears full, the tank needs emptying.
How to set about clearing the blockage
To attempt to clear blocked drains in London you must insert the drain rod with the plunger attached, into one end of the blocked section. The mouth of the pipe will be easily identifiable if the chamber is empty. However, if it is full you will need to probe around with the plunger until you locate the mouth by touch.
Attach extra rods as needed
Depending on the location and extent of the blockage, you may need to attach extra rods. Remember to always turn the rods clockwise. If you turn them anticlockwise they could become un-screwed and get left in the drain adding to the blockage problem.
Clear the blockage by pushing against it then pulling the plunger back a short distance. Repeat as necessary. If this does not work, withdraw the rods, and swap the plunger for a corkscrew attachment. You can then use this to break up a more tightly-packed blockage.
To complete the process of clearing blocked drains in London (or indeed anywhere here in the UK) aim a strong jet of water down the drain using your hosepipe. Alternatively, fill the bath or the sink and pull the plug releasing the water in one gushing stream. When done, wash down the rods and gloves and soak them with undiluted disinfectant. You can mix this in the watering can.
Calling in the professionals to fix blocked drains in London
This type of DIY repair is not everyone’s cup of tea, and if you would rather call in professional help in terms of fixing blocked drains in London you should call CW Services Plumbing and Heating on 020 7733 6812 or 020 7733 6812. Blocked drains can be a health hazard so make that call today.