Dealing with a blocked drain can be an absolute nightmare. The stagnant water, unpleasant smelly drain odours, and the inconvenience it brings can quickly become a source of frustration for any homeowner. While calling in a professional plumber is often the go-to solution, if you’re looking to save some pennies, it’s worth exploring the possibility of clearing the blockage yourself before reaching for the phone. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your tools, and let’s get the blocked drain cleared.
Not so confident with DIY? The team at Swan’s Professional Plumbing is here to help! Call us for prompt drain clearing services.
Eliminate the Causes of Blocked Drains
Before deciding how you want to proceed with clearing a blocked drain, it’s important to first consider what is actually causing the blocked drain. There’s no point getting your drain cleared to then discover it blocked again a week later. Some of the common causes to consider include:
Hard Water Build Up
Over time, minerals present in hard water, such as calcium and magnesium, can build up and form scales inside pipes, narrowing the passage for water to flow freely. This could eventually lead to a blocked drain if the build up is not frequently cleared. There are a few ways you can address this such as cleaning with baking soda, having a water softening system installed or even installing a water filter.
Grease & Food Wastage in the Sink
Pouring cooking oil, grease, fat, or even food wastage down the drain may seem convenient, but these substances can solidify and accumulate inside the pipes, restricting the flow of water. If you’ve got cooking foil, line your drain with foil then pour your grease down to catch it. Once hardened, you can throw it out as normal.
In outdoor drainage systems, tree roots can infiltrate pipes seeking water, causing blockages as they grow and spread within the plumbing system. Once tree roots, leaves and other debris have infiltrated your drainage system, it’s pretty difficult to clear without the help of an expert plumber. However, with regular drain maintenance and careful planning when landscaping, you can minimise this risk.
Hair in Shower Drains
If you’re experiencing a blocked shower drain, the likely culprit is hair. Make it a habit to clean your shower drain regularly, even if you don’t notice any blockages. Remove the drain cover and manually pull out any visible hair to prevent it from getting pushed back further and creating a clogged drain.
DIY Steps You Can Take to Clear a Blocked Drain
Once you have identified what might be causing the clogged drain, you can take the right preventative measures to ensure your drains remain clear. To clear your drains you can try these home remedies before calling a plumber.
Boiling water can be a simple yet effective method to clear a blocked drain. When you pour boiling water down the drain, the hot water helps to break down and dissolve organic matter, such as grease, soap scum, and small debris, which may be causing the blockage. The heat from pouring boiling water can also help to dislodge and flush away the blockage, restoring the flow of water in the drain. However, this might not be enough for drains where the clog is deeper or if the clog is quite large.
DIY Coat Hanger Drain Snake
A DIY coat hanger drain snake can be a handy tool for clearing a blocked drain. By straightening out a wire coat hanger and creating a hook at one end, you can effectively navigate the drainpipe and catch hair, debris, or other obstructions. Inserting the DIY drain snake into the drain and gently manoeuvring it back and forth helps to dislodge the blockage and pull it out. It’s a cost-effective solution that can save you from calling a plumber for minor drain clogs. However, be cautious not to use excessive force to avoid damaging the pipes. It’s much cheaper to clear a blocked drain than fix a damaged pipe, so it’s best to call in your local plumber if you can’t clear the drain blockage yourself.
Homemade Drain Cleaning Solution
Vinegar and baking soda can form a powerful and natural drain cleaner to clear a blocked drain. When mixed together, they create a chemical reaction that produces fizzing and bubbling, helping to break down organic matter, grease, and small blockages. By pouring a mixture of vinegar and baking soda down the drain, followed by hot water, you can effectively dislodge and flush away the blockage. This DIY drain cleaner is non-toxic, cost-effective, and often proves successful for smaller drain blockages.
A plunger is a simple yet effective tool for clearing a blocked drain. By creating a tight seal over the drain opening and applying upward and downward pressure, the plunger creates suction that can dislodge and move the blockage. The back-and-forth plunging motion helps to break up the obstruction and restore proper water flow. It’s important to use a plunger designed specifically for sinks or drains and to ensure there is enough water in the sink or tub to cover the plunger’s rubber cup for better suction.
How a Professional Plumber Can Help
If you’ve tried all these drain cleaning methods with no luck, it’s likely time to call in your local plumbers. A licensed plumber is equipped with specialised tools and equipment that can help get your drains unblocked in no time. Some of the methods our plumbers at Swan’s Professional Plumbing utilise include:
Plumbing Drain Snake
Plumbers often use a plumber’s snake, also known as a drain auger in some regions, to clear blocked drains effectively. The drain snake is a long, flexible cable with a coiled or hooked end. Plumbers insert the snake into the drain and navigate it through the pipes, either manually or using a motorised mechanism. As the snake is pushed further, the coiled or hooked end helps to break apart or retrieve the blockage, allowing for the smooth flow of water. This professional-grade tool is especially useful for stubborn or deep blockages that cannot be easily resolved with DIY methods.
Drain Hydro jetting
Plumbers also often utilise hydro jetting as a powerful method to clear blocked drains. This technique involves using high-pressure water streams to thoroughly clean the inside of the pipes. A specialised machine with a nozzle is inserted into the drain, and pressurised water is sprayed at various angles. The force of the water dislodges and flushes away stubborn blockages, including grease, and mineral deposits. Hydro jetting is particularly effective for large-scale or recurring blockages, providing a comprehensive and long-lasting solution for restoring proper drainage.
Chemical Drain Cleaners
Natural remedies are a great first step however, they don’t always help in more severe cases. When this is the case, plumbers may use commercial-grade chemical drain cleaners designed to dissolve blockages. These cleaners contain strong chemicals that break down organic matter and debris. Proper safety measures and caution are crucial when using chemical drain cleaners. Therefore, these chemicals are not easily accessible to the general public.
CCTV Drain Camera Inspection
In situations where the cause or location of the clog is not apparent, plumbers may use a small camera on a flexible cable to visually inspect the inside of the drain pipe. This is known as a CCTV drain camera inspection. This allows them to identify the exact location and nature of the clog, helping them choose the most appropriate method for clearing it.
Need Our Plumbers Help to Fix Your Blocked Drain?
If you’ve tried all of our DIY tips for clearing blocked drains to no avail, it’s probably time to call in your local plumber for professional help unblocking drains. At Swan’s Professional Plumbing, we service the entire Perth and Peel region. If you’ve got any plumbing problem whether it’s a blocked shower drain, a broken hot water system or even a new renovation goal, no job is too big or too small. Don’t hesitate to contact Swan’s Professional Plumbing.