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How to Unblock a Drain Outside

Have you noticed an increase in puddles of water near your outdoor drains? 

Well, you hope it’s water. But it could also be sewerage or last week’s dinner that didn’t quite make its way down the drain.

It could be blocked for a number of different reasons. Sometimes it’s due to a combination of grease, food, hair, and toilet paper clogging up. Other times it’s tree roots or a collection of leaves that have managed to stockpile up and block the drain.

So how do you get rid of the puddles before it begins flooding your yard? Depending on what’s causing the problem, you might be able to clear the blockage yourself. Simply follow these steps to unclog the pipes before you call in the professionals.

Investigate the Drain Outside

The first step in unblocking a drain is taking a closer look and working out what you’re dealing with. Simply remove the cover using a screwdriver and try to find any obstructions inside the pipes.

You also check the drain covering itself. Sometimes the reason for the blockage could be due to a dirt and grime build-up. Cleaning this up might be all you need to get the drain working properly again.

Get Your Tools

Now that you have a better understanding of why your drain is blocked, you can grab some tools to clear the rest of the debris. You’re best to start with common plumbing equipment like drain rods, an auger, or a snake. 

If you’ve got an external drain, then you should get yourself a drum auger. This can help get cut through tree roots, which is one of the most common reasons for outdoor drains getting clogged up. 

For other blockages, a metal, flexible auger can get help break through materials. They also have a hook on the end to help drag out any obstructions from the drain.

Another alternative is a high-pressure hose. This can help push through the debris and clear a path for the drain. 

You should always ensure you’re wearing gloves and waterproof clothing. This job is quite messy, so you can expect to get dirty no matter what you’re pulling out of the drain.

Clear the Blockage

Depending on what you’re using to clear the drain will determine your approach to the problem. 

If you can see a pile of leaves, mud, or grime blocking the pipes, then you might be able to don a pair of gloves and clear it out with your hands. 

When you’re using a drain rod, you’ll want to insert it and rotate it clockwise until you feel some resistance. You’ll need to keep turning until you feel the blockage clear and the rod continue down the drain with ease. Slowly remove it and clean off any gunk on the rod away from the drain.

For a Drum Auger, you’ll also want to insert it until you reach the blockage. When you feel the obstruction, turn on the motor and keep it running until you clear the debris. Slowly remove it and wash it off when you’ve got some distance from the drain.

Clean the Area

After you removed the obstruction from the pipes, you’ll want to clean the surrounding area of the drain. This will help play a part in ensuring that it doesn’t get clogged up again.

Pick up the leaves, grimes, roots, or whatever was blocking the drain by hand and appropriately dispose of it. Once everything has been cleared. Grab a hose, high-pressure or garden, and wash down the area.

Try to ensure nothing is washing down the drain you just cleared. Aim the spray towards a garden or lawn instead.

How to Stop the Drain Outside from Getting Blocked Again

One look at your dirty clothes and grimy gloves will be enough to make you not want to have to do this a second time. Thankfully, there are steps that you can take to avoid having to unblock an outside drain again. Some of them include:

  • Regularly clear your gutters of any debris, particularly after windy days
  • Clear out downpipes using a hose
  • Wash out stormwater drains
  • Maintain gardens and trees so the leaves and branches can’t fall into gutters or drains
  • Invest in a drain camera to regularly inspect them for roots or branches
  • Don’t flush anything you’re not supposed to as it can contribute to a blocked sewer

Get Some Extra Help

There are several reasons as to why you might have a blocked drain outside. It could be due to a rogue tree root. It might be because of excess leaves and branches in your gutters that have made their way down the pipes. Sometimes it’s related to your internal plumbing.

On most occasions, you’ll be able to clear the cause of the blockage by hand. But for more complicated clogs in the drain, you’ll want to get your hands on some plumbing equipment to get rid of the cause of the problem.
But if the issue is too big or you have no idea why your outside drain is overflowing with what you hope is water, you should get in touch with All Day Plumbing. Whether it’s inside or outside, we’re experts when it comes to clearing the pipes and getting your draining system back to working as it should. Don’t wait until your yard is flooded. Book an appointment with All Day Plumbing today and let us do the dirty work for you.