How to unblock your drains

Date published: 7th July 2014

If your drains are blocked, you need to act quickly to avoid the problem getting worse. There are many things you can do to try and unblock your drains but sometimes, you’ll just have to call in the professionals.

But you can always start by following these tips before you get on the phone to some trustworthy Plymouth plumbers!

Using liquids

There are plenty of liquids on the market that, when poured down your drains, will work to disintegrate and break down any clogs that have been caused by hair and other matter.

But before you go out and buy any of these, try boiling up a kettle of water and pouring the lot down the drain in one go. This may help to shift any small blockages that are nestled in your drain.

If you think the blockage might have been caused by grease or food, try pouring a bit of washing up liquid down the drain about 15 minutes before you hit it with the boiling water. This should start to break down the blockage and the hot water will hopefully finish the job.

Using a plunger

If you have a plunger (or feel like popping out and buying one) this can be very effective at clearing a clogged drain. Put a little water in the basin (enough to cover the head of the plunger), apply some petroleum jelly to the lip of your plunger to create a really strong seal and slide it over the drain. Pump the plunger vigorously several times and this should build up enough force in the drain to dislodge whatever’s causing the blockage.

When you’ve removed the plunger, make sure the water is running smoothly down the drain to see if your efforts have paid off. Keep the taps running for a little while to flush away any remaining debris.

Clean the U-bend

If you’re feeling confident, you could try disconnecting the u-bend yourself and giving it a good clean out. Just remember not to use the taps above if the u-bend’s not connected! And don’t attempt this if you’re not sure what you’re doing.

Make sure you pop on a pair of rubber gloves as the stuff that accumulates in the u-bend can be pretty grim. You can use cleaning fluid, bottle brushes and even a coat hanger to dislodge anything that’s wedged in the u-bend. Make sure you give it a good scrape out before carefully reattaching the u-bend and checking the results by running the taps.

What next?

If you’ve tried all of the above and your drains are still blocked, it’s probably a good idea to call a plumber. Blocked drains can be smelly, irritating and very inconvenient. And they have a habit of getting worse if they’re left alone. Plus if you have a dripping tap and a small sink, the sink could quickly fill up while you’re out or asleep and end up flooding your bathroom or kitchen.

So it’s wise to curb the problem before it gets bigger and ends up costing you more.

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