No matter how many years you’ve lived, if you’re reading this we already know that you’re quite familiar with the signs of a blocked drain. If it’s not completely obvious – like if the sink or toilet water is either stationary or at your feet – then you know that a blocked drain smells bad, clears waste a lot more slowly than usual, and makes weird gurgling sounds. Much less well known is what to look out for if your place has an outside drain blocked.
While it’s usually soap, hair, food scraps and clumps of toilet paper that back up those inside drains, your outside drains are an entirely different kettle of fish. They’re designed to grapple with more serious debris, like branches, leaves, mud, litter and other outdoor debris – but they can only take so much. Often, all it takes is a serious storm and you’ll soon be looking up how to unblock a drain outside or reaching for that plumber’s number.
So before calling in the cavalry, let’s see if we can unblock outside drain pipes all by yourself. First up, how confident are you that it’s just a relatively straightforward blockage and not a deeper and potentially more damaging, complex and expensive plumbing problem? If you’re confident, then ask yourself a second question: Is it your drain, or a shared one? If it’s yours alone, then it’s both your right and your responsibility to put it right.
Related reading: How to unblock a sink drain
How to unblock a drain pipe outside
Learning how to unblock drains outside really is something you can do, although we should caution that if you’re not a fairly confident do-it-yourself enthusiast, it’s probably best to leave it to professional drain cleaning plumbers. Also, please understand that the people who really know how to clear a blocked drain outside are trained, licensed, qualified and benefit from having all the best and most specialised drain cleaning tools and technologies. Whether it’s a blocked stormwater drain or sewerage pipe blockage they know exactly what to do to get that outside drain unblocked and flowing.
Apart from that, our DIY method really is quite simple:
1. Be prepared
All you’ll need is some clothes that can afford a splash of dirty water, a pair of rubber gloves, eye-protection if you’re super-safe, and then:
- A drain rod
- A bucket
- Some bin bags
- A screwdriver
- Garden hose.
2. Remove the drain cover
That’s why we’ve got the screwdriver – a big flat-head one, to be precise. And if the drain cover is particularly heavy, you may need the rope for superior leverage.
3. Find the blockage
Put on your rubber gloves (and other PPE if desired) and go fishing with your hand for as much wrist-deep gunk as you can pull out. With a bit of luck, that will be enough to unblock your outside drain.
4. Use the drain rod
Although you can try using something other than an actual drain rod, this is a specific tool that isn’t expensive at all. The basic idea is that you can keep attaching another piece to hack away at blockages that may lie a lot further from the drain opening. Then, it’s just a case of moving it around with force but caution to get that water flowing once again.
5. Use the garden hose
Now, it’s just a matter of using an ordinary hose to wash away what you’ve just loosened and broken up.
Outside drain blocked? Call Ezy-Plumb
How did you go? If your outside drain is flowing again, congratulations – now just repeat the process every now and then and with a bit of luck, you won’t be needing to read any more about how to unblock an outside drain. Still having trouble? Don’t panic, because Melbourne Bayside’s best plumbers are standing by and ready to help right now.
We don’t just carry drain rods in our fully-stocked vans, but also sophisticated drain-clearing equipment including CCTV drain inspection cameras, powerful motorised augers and ultra-high pressure drain jetters.
With our fast response times and affordable, upfront pricing, there’s no need to search “how to unblock a drain outside”. All you need to do is give Ezy-Plumb a call right now!