There’s nothing more frustrating than having a sink that doesn’t drain water or a toilet that won’t flush. A blocked pipe or drain is usually the culprit here, caused by foreign objects, pipe scale or grease build up. If the blockage is in the house, you may be able to clear it yourself with the right techniques. If the blockage is in an outside drain, you may need the assistance of a professional plumber.
Without the right equipment, it’s not easy to know what is blocking your pipes. But it’s usually easy to make a good guess when you know which sink or pipe is blocked. If the blockage is in the bathroom, the cause is probably hair or a foreign object like a non-flushable wipe. If the kitchen sink is blocked, it’s probably caused by food or fatty deposits building up. Here’s five top methods to clear a plumbing blockage.
Use a Commercial Drain Cleaner
Many hardware shops in Australia will sell commercial drain cleaners. Some popular ones are Mr Muscle Drano Ultra Gel, Drain Clean Hair Unclogger and Diggers Methylated Spirits. Make sure you read the instructions carefully and wear protective gloves and goggles when handling the liquid. The usual method is to pour the commercial drain cleaner down the clogged drain, wait for 20 minutes and flush with water. You may need to repeat several times.
Make a DIY Drain Cleaner
Sometimes you’ll have ingredients in your cupboard that can be made into a drain cleaner. If your kitchen sink is blocked, often boiling water is all you need to pour down the sink to get things moving. If the blockage is caused by fat, the hot water will melt it. To mix a DIY cleaning solution you need;
- 1 cup of vinegar
- ½ cup of bi-carbonate soda
- ½ cup salt
- 1 cup boiling water
Mix these ingredients together and pour into the blocked sink. Or you can pour each ingredient down the sink one by one. Give the solution time to sit before you rinse.
Remove Debris from a Pipe U-Turn
Often food particles and foreign objects get stuck in the u-bend of a pipe. It should be possible to unscrew the pipe bend with your hands or use a wrench if you need more leverage. Once open, remove any clogged particles.
Try the Plunger Method
One of the oldest and simplest methods to unblock a sink is the good old plunger. It works by creating a seal over the plughole and as you pump, it forces air through the pipes which will push out any blockage. Make sure other taps are turned off, before you start the plunging method.
Contact Your Local Plumber
If you’ve tried all the above methods and nothing works, it’s time to call in your local plumber. Plumbers have hi-tech equipment to find the source of a blockage and high pressure jet cleaners to cut through almost any obstruction.