Ducks 'n a Row: DIY Tips for Newbies:Unblocking Drains

24 October 2013

DIY Tips for Newbies:Unblocking Drains

Guest post by Roxanne Wells

You may not think it, but a lot of the problems that arise in the kitchen and bathroom are fixable without having to call in the experts. While you may not be a lover of DIY, it can be an incredibly convenient way of tackling simple-to-fix issues that may ordinarily be left to the specialists. There are so many issues that professionals have to deal with day to day that, with a little know-how, you’d be able to fix yourself. 
Here are a few tips to help:
While a Dyno plumber is a worthwhile investment, particularly if you have no clue where to start, there’s no reason why you can’t give unblocking a go – who knows, you may be able to dislodge the blockage without any trouble at all! Of course, only try and unblock the drain if there’s no chance of making the problem worse; that’s the last thing you need!


Many blocked drains in the kitchen can be cleared with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. The reaction between the two in the pipe can shift what’s blocking it and will rinse away with ease. If not, pour some bleach down the plughole and leave it overnight.


If that doesn't work, it’s time to unscrew the pipes to see whether you can access the blockage to manually remove it. Turn the water off at the mains before you try to do this, so that you’re not faced with a flood as well!
Place a bowl underneath the sink, beneath the U-bend, and carefully unscrew the first bend in the pipe. The bowl will catch any water and loose debris. Use a coat hanger or your fingers to locate and remove the blockage. Screw the pipes back together, switch on the water and rinse the pipes through.



Similarly, it’s also possible to unblock drains in the bathroom, although some of them can be a little more difficult to access and may require help from the professionals. A free-standing sink that’s fixed to the wall at the top will likely have access to the pipes behind it (albeit a little tricky to maneuver) while the bath panel can easily be removed exposing the pipes within. In both of these cases, the above methods of baking soda and vinegar, or bleach, should be enough to dislodge many blockage issues.


The shower can often be a little more awkward if you have a separate unit. If you’re having trouble with the shower, check that the waste trap is clear (there is usually one underneath the plughole guard that can be removed and cleaned with ease). If there’s an issue further down the pipes that bleach won’t shift, call the experts.

Make sure that you have a plunger on hand for any toilet issues. Most of the time, toilet blockages can be shifted with a little elbow grease. Be careful not to flush it unless you’re sure the blockage has been removed, so that you don’t risk the loo overflowing. You can usually tell because the water level will return to normal.

If this still doesn't work, give your local plumber experts a call – they’ll know what to do!


Photo Collage Credits:
  • Running Tap by Grand Cochrane on Freedigital Photos
  • Tool kit by supakitmad on Freedigital Photos
  • Plumbing by spierzchada on Flickr Creative Commons

Others…
  • Vinegar & Baking Soda by katerha on Flickr Creative Commons
  • Shower by girann on sxc.huPhoto Collage:


Previously on Ducks 'n a Row


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