What are the Warning Signs of a Blocked Drain?
They say time is a healer, but when it comes to blocked drains, time will only make the problem worse and the drain may suffer serious damage or even begin to overflow as a result. So, it makes sense to act quickly and take the necessary steps to fix the problem before it gets any worse.
But what are the warning signs you should look out for? In this guide, we’re going to identify the first signs of a problem and help you determine whether the job is one you can do yourself, or whether it’s time to call in the experts.
1. Unpleasant smells
It stands to reason that, if your drain is blocked, it’s not going to be at its fragrant best. A bad smell is a telltale sign of a blocked drain, with bits of food and other organic matter getting lodged in the pipes and starting to decompose. Running the water will often make the smell worse as it aggravates the bacteria.
2. Water drains away slowly
Another sure sign of a problem is when the water in your shower, sink and toilet starts to drain away more slowly. In fact, if the drainage is really bad, the water may not drain away at all. If the water drains slowly from all of these fixtures then you have a blocked drain. If it’s just the toilet or sinks that are affected then it’s more likely to an issue with the fixture itself.
3. A gurgling sound
The first sign of a problem you’re likely to experience is a gurgling sound when running the tap or flushing the toilet. This is produced by the air that has been trapped in the pipes before being pushed up through the system. This could well be an indication of a blockage, particularly when combined with one of the other warning signs.
What should you do?
There are a number of remedies you can use to try and fix the problem before resorting to professional help.
If just one fixture in the house is blocked then it might be easily fixed. Showers can be blocked with hair and sinks can become blocked with food and other items. If you think that may be the case, fill the plunger with water (this helps to put more force on the source of the blockage and get plunging) and press and pull rapidly for about 30 seconds.
If the water starts draining slowly then more plunging is required. If the water drains quickly then you’ve fixed the blockage. If nothing happens then you could try pouring a small amount of baking soda down the plughole, followed by a cup of white vinegar.
Tackling the outside drains
If all the fixtures in your house show signs of being blocked then you have a problem with the outside drain. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty (literally in this case), then we suggest you don the appropriate protective clothing (gloves, mask and some old clothes) and reach for your drain rods.
The first step is to remove the drain cover, which you can do with a screwdriver or a handle if there is one. If it still doesn’t budge, tie some rope around the handle and give it a pull to give you the leverage you need.
Now take a peek inside the drain. If the drain chamber is full of water then it means the blockage comes after the chamber. If the chamber is empty then it means the blockage has occurred somewhere before. You then need to work your way along until you find a chamber one that’s neither full nor completely empty.
Wearing your protective gloves, it’s now time to grab the drain rods and try to dislodge the blockage. Once you feel the blockage, continue to push the rod through while rotating them in a clockwise direction. This should break up the blockage and remove any grease or grime.
You should then run some fresh water through the blockage to see if it’s completely gone.
Sometimes only a professional will do
Unfortunately, in many cases, the blockage is not so easy to shift and professional drain clearance is the only solution. When you do require professional assistance, we offer a drain clearance service in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambs and Essex that clears drains of encrustations, obstructions, tree roots and any other form of clogging or debris you face. To call a local engineer, please get in touch today.