Fallon Solutions

Handy Hints Blog

Unblock a Drain - Six Ways to Success
Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cleaning a blocked drain, sink or toilet is always a headache. If DIY is your way to go - you'll find 'Unblock Drain - 6 Ways to Success' a useful home plumbing how to. As with all DIY projects you need to consider all of the alternatives and weigh up the pro's and con's. We hope our 'Unblock a Drain - Six ways to Success' article helps. Its always worth trying these useful tips before calling Fallon Services for a plumber.

1. The Natural Way

- If its just soap or fat you could try to unblock it with boiling water, but be careful not to burn yourself or melt the sink seal. Using natural enzymes is also a good place to start, so in the following order try putting 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup bi-carb, 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup hot water. This method is perfectly harmless for you, the sink, pipes and the environment and can be repeated as often as required. However, it will have limited affect on severe blockages. Alternatively, your local health food stores or chemist may stock the bacteria based enzyme cleaners which are also quite successful at doing the job and they often smell quite pleasant too.

2. The Old Fashion Way

- You can't go past the good old fashion plunger to force the block from the plumbing pipe. It's the force of the push that forces air through the pipe to clear the clog. Before plunging cover the overflow with a damp cloth to ensure a drain seal and force the air out through the drain blockage. If you have a double kitchen sink make sure you block off the second drain to ensure good pressure. Try this a few times before you throw your hands in the air. Many home DIY handyman report this to be one of the most successful methods.

3. The Technical Way

- You can hire a Drain Auger (AKA Plumber's Snake or Electric Eel) from most hire places, however be aware that these require a bit of skill and can be quite dangerous if not used correctly. These will unblock just about anything, including tree roots. I know of an apprentice plumber who had a bad experience when using a snake for the first time: he yelled out 'STOP' to his colleague just as the toilet block was dislodged. For those with a weak stomach I won't go any further with that story, but needless to say his wife wasn't too keen on a kiss that afternoon. The moral of this story is - do wear protective clothing and practice good hygiene after coming in contact with drain fluids. The snake does have the potential to scratch ceramic surfaces of plumbing fixtures.

4. The Toxic Way

- Many of us have been convinced that you need a full chemical arsenal to clear a blocked drain. Drain-O, Hydrochloric Acid or Caustic Soda are commonly used and are available at most hardware stores. You generally poor the substance down the affected drain, leave for 20-30 minutes (refer to instructions), and follow with cold water afterwards. Do not put hot water down immediately after the chemicals as it may spray back up in your face. Follow instructions carefully, and always wear gloves and a breathing mask.

5. No Way Back

- A piece of C4 explosive down the blocked drain is guaranteed to remove all blockages, but with some obvious side effects - will require some pipe repair.

6. The Easy Way

- Contact a licensed Brisbane Plumber at Fallon Services - 'We can be there today'. We are a member of the Master Plumbers Association and have ONLY fully trained Master Plumbers, Drainers and Gas Fitters. All our plumbers drive well stocked vans with tools and ladders required for most plumbing jobs at the home or business. Find out more about Blocked Drains!