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How To Clear Blocked Drains - Part 3

Dec 3, 2007
Blocked Inspection Chambers

The only really effective tools for this job are a set of rods. You could try plunging with a mop or poking with a bamboo stick, but because the outlets and inlets will be hidden by effluent you really need something more flexible.

Drain rods can of course be hired, but this is inconvenient. If your drains block regularly or you are worried that they could, it its really worth buying a set of 'unbreakable' polypropylene rods and attachments - they are now very cheap. Among the attachments you can get are a plunger, a worm screw, a scraper and flexible wire leader and a small wheel.

Screw two rods together and lower them into the chamber. Feel for the inlet or outlet when you think the blockage is, and try to slide the rods into it.

When you feel them go in, screw on another rod and keep pushing. Continue in this manner until you feel and obstruction.

Now turn the rods clockwise (so they don't unscrew in the drain) and at the same time keep maneuvering them back and forth until you feel the block age 'give'. You may have to do this for several minutes before it has any effect.

After you have cleared the blockage, always flush the chamber thoroughly with water to remove the last traces of debris.

Interceptor Problems

Interceptor blockages are nearly always in the trap. Above this is another pipe - the clearing eye - which should be closed by a clay stopper on a chain. When confronted with an interceptor full of effluent, the first thing to try is removing the stopper. You will not be able to see it - you must feel for the handle with a piece of wood and try hooking it out of its socket. If you succeed and the blockage is in the trap, the chamber will clear and you can set about clearing the trap itself. Plunge it vigorously with your rods - preferably using the plunging head - until the debris shifts.

If removing the stopper has no effect, the blockage is further down the drain; in this case rod through the clearing eye. An all too common problem is that the stopper chain breaks and the stopper falls into the trap where it acts like a butterfly valve and causes periodic blockages. If you think this has happened, call in professional help. If the stopper is simply missing from your interceptor you can buy a new rubber one.

Modern Techniques

Recently companies such as Karcher have released pressure washers powerful enough to clear drains, in some instances. They also manufacture drain kits, which are like rods, but carry a high-pressure jet of water, clearing blockages in no time. Hot water machines are also available which in the case of some blockages work better.

Summary
That is it for this article, however, still to come I will tell how to clear a blocked gully, clearing a blockage in a stack and mending drains that have been tree roots. Remember kids measure twice cut once.
About the Author
Johan Nickson is an expert in Pressure Washers
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