How to clear an outside blocked drain

We tend to not pay much attention to our outdoor drains. That is until something goes wrong. Often rearing its ugly head after a downpour, a blocked drain can cause significant damage to a property if not dealt with quickly. While your first instinct may be to call a professional, there are a few things you can do to quickly clear an outside drain. Before you reach for the phone, try these DIY tips for clearing an outside drain.

DIY Guide to unblocking an outside drain

  1. Determining the cause of the blockage

Outside drains tend to become blocked when overwhelmed by organic material such as dirt, leaves or other debris. Excessive rainfall can also cause drains to overflow as they may struggle to cope with the sheer volume of a large downpour.  Other issues can because of blockages in the plumbing system from things that shouldn’t be flushed blocking the pipes such as wet wipes or sanitary items. Once you have determined the cause of the blockage, you can then assemble the tools you need to remedy it.

  1. Gather your drain clearing tools

Having the right tools on hand will ensure that you can clear your outside drain before any property damage occurs.   It pays to have the following items on hand for when an outdoor drain blockage occurs.

  • Drain Rods

Drains rods are sturdy yet flexible rods that are screwed together end-to-end. Drain rods are an inexpensive tool that can be picked up relatively cheaply from your local hardware store. Drain rods are your best tool to find and remove a blockage.

  • Gloves

Clearing an outdoor drain is a messy business. Make sure you wear a pair of protective rubber gloves before you go fishing about in your drain.

  • A Bag

Keep a plastic bag nearby to store any debris that you remove from your drain. You do not want to leave this debris in your yard as it will eventually find its way back into your drain!

  • Rope

Some drain covers can be very heavy. Using a rope will allow you to wrench open your drain cover more easily.

  • Hose

Once you have cleared your blocked drain you will need a hose to flush the drain with clean water.

  1. Remove the drain cover and peek inside

All drains are different. Some drain covers can be removed easily while others require a bit more encouragement. Particularly stubborn drain covers can be removed using your rope. Simply tie it around the drain handle and give it a good pull. Once remove, glance inside the drain (a torch may be useful here). If the drain chamber is empty, the blockage will be located before the chamber. If the chamber is flooded the blockage is somewhere after the chamber.

  1. Using your drain rods

Wearing your protective rubber gloves, insert your drain rods into the drain, continually feeding the rods through until you encounter the blockage.  Once you have encountered the clog, slowly rotate the drain rods in a clockwise direction, and push them away from you. Continue pushing the rod through the blockage to breakdown any grease or debris sitting in the drain.

  1. Clean up

Once you have cleared your blockage, grab your hose, and run some fresh water through your drain. This will rinse away any remaining debris and help prevent any future blockages.

Is your outside drain still blocked? You may need to call a professional.

If your blockage is substantial, or an overflowing drain is threatening to damage property, do not hesitate to call an expert. Envirovac offer an efficient emergency drain unblocking service using the latest in tools and technology. Envirovac can quickly identify and remedy blocked outside drains and help to prevent future blockages occurring. Book your outside drain unblocking here.

Tips to keeping your water tank healthy year-round

Rainwater tanks are low maintenance not no maintenance!

If you want to ensure your water supply is fresh and uncontaminated year round then you need to undertake some simple maintenance tasks on your tank.

There are a lot of potential contaminants that can get into your tank water and most of them come from your gutters from leaf litter, dirt, and bird or possum faeces.

Here is a list of what can contaminate your tank water:

Animal or bird faeces entering at the source of the supply. These can carry harmful germs such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Campylobacter, Salmonella, E.coli 0157 and viruses. All these germs can cause serious illness.

Bird, possum or other animal droppings on the roof or dead animals and insects in the gutters or tank itself.

Leaves, soil, and other debris entering the tank.

Lead flashing on the roof causing high lead levels in the collected water.

Cracks or holes in partially buried tanks.

To maintain good pH levels in your tank water, it is best to start with keeping your gutters clean and clear. Cleaning out the gutters is a simple way to improve the water quality and the efficiency of the tank.

A study on contaminated water tanks showed that 4 percent of tested households that were contaminated had faecal matter in the gutters, while 31 percent of sites inspected were found to have half or completely full gutters.

So if you want to prevent this leaf litter and dirt ending up in your tank it is worth installing gutter meshing.

Mozzie mesh – check it every 3 months

A rainwater tank is a great place for mosquitoes and other pests to thrive.

Tanks reviewed in a recent study showed 91.1 percent had mosquito meshing, but more than 10 percent were in a condition that would allow pests or vermin into the tank.

Check your water quality – every 6 months

A majority of households use rainwater for the toilet or the washing machine so cleanliness of the water is less important. However, for those properties that use the water for showers, drinking or cooking, checking the water is crucial.

A comprehensive water test will cost on average around $200.

Check your pump– every 6 months

The condition of the pumps and outlets will affect the quality of the water and the efficiency of how the household can access and use the water. A well-maintained system can also protect against long-term damage.

A recent report on tank waters in NZ found that in homes with pumps installed, 5 percent were not functioning and 18 percent of properties inspected were reported to have leaky pipes.

When It’s time to de- sludge – It’s time to call us!

Water contamination can cause serious illness (diarrhoea and vomiting), which can be particularly dangerous for infants, the elderly or people with damaged immune systems.
We recommend that your tanks get sediment removed every two to three years.

healthy water tank

You probably don’t want to be dealing with this water yourself!

So speak to us at Envirovac if your water is starting to smell, look discoloured or there are unexplained tummy bugs in your household.

Contact the team now.