Clogged drains are nothing short of a nightmare!
The thought of back-flowing wastewater with a foul smell makes our skin crawl. Even more frustrating is that indoor and outside drains are susceptible to drain blockages. No respite from the torture, you think?
Well, the good news is that there’s a DIY procedure that’ll help you unclog a blocked outside drain without putting too much strain on your muscles. Although a couple of not-so-pleasant tasks are involved, it’s still better than spending dollars on your drainage system and replacing a pipe that just needed proper maintenance.
So, let’s get started, shall we?
What Clogs Outdoor Drains?
Before we take you through the steps involved in unclogging an outside drain, let us shed some light on the things that may clog it in the first place. And if you can prevent them from getting near the drain opening, consider the job half done!
Here are the most common things found near an outside drain:
- High grass, weeds, or other plants growing near the opening
- Dirt or debris from drainage holes
- Twigs, mud, and leaves blown or washed away by wind and rain
- Trash or litter, including plastic and paper
- Toys, shoes, or broken parts of equipment
How To Unclog Outdoor Drain?
Now that you know about the things clogging an outside drain let’s look at the steps that help clean the mess.
When you spot stagnant water near the blocked drain, the first thing to do is to get a closer look at the problem. This step will usually require you to remove the drain cover, which may need a screwdriver. But generally, drain covers can be removed by hand. In any case, don’t forget to get a pair of gloves on.
Once you get the required access, assess the problem thoroughly with assistance from a powerful flashlight. Has the clogging happened close to the opening, or is it entirely out of sight? If visible, is there only gunk accumulation, or does the cause seems more significant?
If you think you can solve the problem, proceed to step 2. Otherwise, contact a professional as the earliest.
Considering that the blockage can be cleared the DIY way, the next step is to get hold of the necessary tools and equipment. Apart from the gloves, the other things that you will need to unblock drains are protective clothing, protective glasses, a drainage rod/snake, a bucket and a garden hose.
Before utilizing the tools, there is a nasty job of ensuring an efficient cleaning session. Keeping your hands fully protected, reach out for the immediate blockage and pull it from the sides. Dump the diggings into the bucket. The more you pull out, the better it will be.
Next, put the rod slowly through the drain to push the remaining debris and reach deep inside the system. Move it gradually to break as much of the toughest drain blockage as possible. Depending on the concentration of the backup, it may be a relatively time-consuming process. Be patient and continue till you can move the drain rod freely inside the drain.
At this point, it’s worth mentioning that if the debris is water-soluble (like mud), you can use any long metal rod. If not, employ a plumbing snake in swift, stirring motions to catch all the gunk. Ensure not to damage the pipe.
Once you think you have done enough, slowly pull it out. Be careful not to transfer anything back inside. If you don’t have a drainage rod handy and plan to get one, we’d advise getting a hydro-get drain snake from the get-go. Its high-pressure water jet moves hard-to-dislodge debris out of the drain. Moreover, they can be rented from the local hardware store.
Using the pressure hose, clean any excess debris built up near the drain. Another advantage of doing this is that you can check whether or not the water has an unobstructed flow through the drain. Besides, it helps remove the loosened debris that may have accumulated near the opening.
Although it may add to the effort, we suggest not skipping this step. High water pressure is one of the best techniques to eliminate significantly stubborn gunk that may have been left behind.
Step 5 (Optional)
To be safe, you can follow the same steps to clear the termination or cleanout points responsible for drawing the water. If there’s still some resistance after cleaning the opening, this step is crucial for eliminating the dirt build-up at different locations.
As the final step, rinse the external drain cover and place it back on the opening. Pour some more water to confirm its unhindered flow.
Some Tips To Keep The Drain Clean
The best way to save yourself from the hassle of going through the steps mentioned earlier is regularly clean the drain pipe opening and nearby areas. Most drains have a screen or grate cover that is prone to clog. Hence, removing them periodically is an excellent tactic and rinse them thoroughly.
Other than that, we’d advise flushing the outside drain periodically to prevent the build-up of unwanted material. Alternatively, you can also opt for an outside drain filter to cease the entry of dirt and debris. But again, these filters will also require frequent cleaning.
That’s it from us on how to unclog an outside drain.
Not only do blocked drains and stagnant water invites a host of diseases, but the resultant water pressure can also lead to damage and pipe bursts. Furthermore, you may experience flooding that can destroy the landscape and seep through the ground, damaging drainage structures through mould formation and corrosion.
That said, regular cleaning sessions with a once-in-a-month unclogging routine shouldn’t let the problem escalate. However, if you still notice considerable blockage and can’t spot the debris build-up, it’s best to call a professional plumber. Here at Fixed Fast Plumbing, we provide quality plumbing services for your plumbing system, from drain jetting to unblocking drains, inside drains or outdoor ones and more. Request a free quote today.
And before we leave, here’s another pro tip: avoid planting greens near the outside drain, as the roots can cause the underground pipes to break.