How to Clear Blocked Drains
When you first begin to notice the tell-tale signs that your drains may be slowly becoming blocked, then its time to act. Slow sink drainage, extended gurgling noises and the occasional stagnant waft are the associated indicators that you need to consider your options. Depending on the severity of your blocked drains Brisbane there are a range of possible measures to combat the clog and our advice below outlines the increase level of options you can take, ranging from do-it-yourself to get the professionals in.
More often than not, blocked drains are caused by the steady build up of soap, fat and things such as coffee grounds that have gathered on the surface of the water in the pipe. The most effective first measure is to fill your sink (and the drainer too if you have one) with soapy boiling water, then pull the plug to release the full sink into the drain. Be very careful not to scald yourself in the full sink. The aim here is to provide a quick powerful flush which helps to break up the crust or blockage with heat and water-power. As an alternative to soapy or detergent based water, try adding a mixture of salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar – generally half a cup of each – with a cup of hot water and washing it down the drain. These ingredients help to break down soap and fat, but if these methods fail, read on.
In the old days a popular method of unblocking a drain was to use a plunger and plenty of elbow grease. Plungers were and still are very effective and work by forcing air through the pipes, which in turn helps to break the blockage free, because often they have bonded themselves to the insides of the pipe where they sit too. Depending on your set up you may have to block off the drain in the second sink or drainer, to ensure the air pressure is forced down the pipe, and not out of the nearest adjoining plughole.
Stage three drain clearance requires a more caustic approach. The use of drain un-blocker products that you can purchase at the supermarkets is one alternative, but others include caustic soda and hydrochloric acid which can be bought from DIY stores such as Bunnings. The general process of events with these solutions are to leave them in the affected pipes for about thirty minutes, to enable them to attack and break down the blockage. It is advisable not to leave them for too long because they can have the adverse effect of corroding the pipes if they are made of PVC. An additional word of advice is to begin flushing the chemicals out with cold water first. If they’ve not worked properly and are backed up in the pipe, and you then add boiling water, the chances are that the solution could spray back, and if it gets onto your skin or in your eyes then you will be in for a rather unpleasant time. Be sure to always wear protective clothing such as gloves and a facemask, and preferable wear old clothes so that they don’t get spoiled.
At this point, if your blockage is still evident then it’s time to call in a professional plumber or drain cleaning specialist. Drain cleaning technologies such as electric eels and hydro-jets can be hired but, if you don’t really know what you are doing then you stand every chance of making things worse. Plumbers have a wealth of technology to help them first locate and then either remove the blockage or repair the damage that caused it in the first place.