Stage One: Preventing Blockages
If you’re reading this, chances are this opportunity has already passed! However, the following simple tricks will significantly reduce the risk of future trouble.
Place fine plughole strainers over every sink in the house. This will stop larger, more troublesome debris from ever getting as far as the drain.
While it’s good to use drain cleaner from time to time, this can be corrosive and harmful if used excessively. For a more regular routine, simply pour boiling water down every sink during your cleaning routine.
Be very careful if disposing fats down the kitchen sink, as these can easily re-solidify. Either wait until it solidifies for proper garbage bin disposal, or – if absolutely necessary – wash it down with a good amount of detergent and hot water.
Stage Two: DIY
If you’re the type to take matters into your own hands, try working through the following strategies in order. When a step doesn’t work, move to the next.
If you can see the blockage, you may be able to remove it with a simple set of needle nosed pliers.
Use a chemical drain cleaning product. (Just make sure it’s not a type that could damage your specific plughole or sink.)
Use a plunger for several minutes, with a cloth placed over the plughole to keep the overflow out. (Otherwise, you’re only forcing the water above back in.)
Remove the trap from under the sink and check for blockages, with a bucket or large container underneath to catch any water that might be backed up. (This will take some additional research, as different traps need to be approached in different ways.)
Stage Three: Professional Plumbing Techniques
If you have yet to identify the source of the blockage, many professional plumbers can offer a CCTV Drain Camera service. By feeding a camera down into your drain, they can quickly identify what’s causing the issue and where, saving unnecessary maintenance. This is particularly effective for more fundamental plumbing issues, such as tree roots and blocked stormwater drains.
Two common techniques include:
The Electric Eel
Also known as the “Sewer Snake”, this motorised device spins a metallic coil, drilling through harder obstructions and scooping up hair and grime. While very popular among professionals, it is not recommended for amateur use, as this can easily damage pipes without careful training.
This device – ideal for major sewer blockages – fires a powerful jet of water through the entire drain system, forcing out the debris and grime without ever needing to physically access the piping.
Need more advice on how to deal with blocked drains? Your local plumber is here to help.
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