Clearing a drain can be done simply, as long as you have the right tools available. Many blockages can be cleared effectively using basic tools that cost less than hiring a professional such as CDC Draincare to do the job.
It’s important to remember that drain clearance is not a particularly sanitary job, and there are plenty of nasties lurking down there! You should invest in a set of strong rubber gloves to keep bacteria and germs away from your hands. If you’re working on an outside waste pipe, it is also advisable to wear protective and waterproof clothing.
The most common type of drain clearance occurs when a house has a blocked sink, bath or basin. One of the simplest ways to remove a small blockage is to invest in a traditional plunger. This is simply placed over the plughole, and pushed up and down repeatedly. It’s extremely effective at clearing any small blockages. If a plunger proves ineffective, there are more advanced versions to try. A power plunger uses compressed air to push the blockage down the pipe, or break it up into smaller pieces. It is activated by pumping the handle to gather air into the plunger, which is then released once it is placed over the plughole.
You could also consider investing in a water injector to help with drain clearance. The water injector is placed into the sink or bath etc, after it has been filled with a small reservoir of water. The injector is then placed over the plughole, and the handle is pushed down quickly and firmly. This forces water into the blocked drain, and into the material causing the obstruction. Repeated action will clear the drain of its blockage.
The final tool to use with a blocked sink etc is the corkscrew cable. As its name suggests, the tool is flexible and bendy, and is a very useful tool for drain clearance. The cable is simply inserted into the blocked drain, and the obstruction is broken up by pushing and twisting the cable against it.
If you are working on outside drains, then you will need to use more appropriate kit for this job. The most common tool for outside drain clearance is a drain rod. These are available from most DIY and Plumbing stores, and are not hideously expensive. Drain rods come in one-metre lengths, with a screw and plunge attachment kit. Most domestic kits screw together, so care must be taken to screw the rods and attachments together in a clockwise direction, so that the sections do not unscrew in the drain itself. If you want to ensure against this happening, you can invest in professional drain rods that lock together, but you will obviously pay a premium for this.
Bear in mind that drain rods will only be useful for drain clearance in simple drains that can be accessed through an inspection chamber. Drain rods are not flexible enough to deal with drains with multiple bends. For that, you will need a drain clearance specialist.