How to Unblock an Outside Drain

how to unblock an outside drain

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Homelife would be a lot easier if indoor drain blockages were the only types of drainage problems to fear, but outdoor drains can just as easily become blocked. Outdoor debris accumulation can become backlogged in small drainage reservoirs that can create the formation of gunk and sludge due to excess moisture build-up.

Foul odors and overflow can create nightmare situations for yards, thankfully there are some steps that you can take to remove a blockage and safeguard future blockages.

KJC Drainage Guide to Unblocking an Outside Drain

Outside drains can be unclogged by using a drainage rod and a quality pressure hose to shift the debris and spray the remaining particles through the drain. This will remove the blockage and promote the return of water flow. 

The process of removing an outside blockage is relatively easy, it just requires some patience and a good set of tools for the job. You will want to invest in a quality drainage rod, a sturdy pair of gloves, a pressure hose, and a heady dose of perseverance. Some outdoor blockages can be minuscule in severity, some can be stubborn, and some can take some colossal elbow grease to get moving.

Another important factor to take into consideration is the types of debris that can cause outdoor blockages. Most often, exterior drains become blocked due to severe storms that cause flooding, which can create thick blockages of mud and silt in addition to larger debris items such as leaves and tree limbs. Toilet drains, septic tanks and sewers will require a bit more observation and work to clear, but the process will work if you stick with it.

What to do if an Outside Drain Becomes Blocked with Mud or Silt?

Mud or silt can be a positive or a negative in terms of blockage severity depending on the length of time the drain was clogged. First, it is essential to inspect the blockage to be sure that mud is the only type of debris that is causing the blockage. This can be done by removing the drain cover with either a screwdriver or a crowbar for thicker seals. With a pair of gloves, sift through the debris and check to see if the consistency is mud or silt with minimal structural debris.

Often times for mud or silt blockages, you can simply use your hands to remove large chunks until you have clear and easy access to use a pressure house to finish the job. Obviously, you will want to wear a thick and sturdy pair of gloves for this in addition to a mask. You can also use a shovel to remove the mud or silt, which will save you from having to use your hands.

If the blockage is thick and deep, you will want to use a drainage rod to sift around the debris. This can serve two different purposes: this allows you to measure just how deep the blockage is, as well as to shift the blockage to break the mud and silt into a more pliable texture. It is also essential to probe the rod deep down into the drainage canal and twist counter-clockwise to loosen the debris.

Once you have the mud and silt loosened, and a large amount of it removed, you can then begin to use a pressure hose to clear the remaining clog. Aim the hose on the drainage reservoir and blast the mud and silt away from the canal. Keep doing this until the water is running clear, by which you have successfully removed an outdoor drainage blockage filled with mud and silt.

unblocking outside toilet drain

How to Unblock an Outside Toilet Drain

Outdoor toilet drains will present the most problems when it comes to unclogging. It goes without saying that this is likely due to a blockage of waste, which if this is the case, you definitely need to consult a professional. If the blockage is due to outdoor debris, the process used to remove mud and silt can be repeated here.

If the blockage is due to an overuse of toilet paper, be sure and completely remove all paper particles which can cause severe blockages if left unattended. Toilet drain clogs can be severely unpleasant, but the problem will not remedy itself. Probing the clog with a drainage rod will move stubborn debris such as hair or paper, which are much harder to remove than mud or silt.

At the end of the day, clearing a toilet drain clog just isn’t a pleasant experience. It is highly beneficial to consult a professional for your blocked drains, especially considering that toilet drains need to be cleared swiftly.

How to Clear an Outside Drain Blocked with Toilet Paper

There should be a concentrated effort to always use biodegradable toilet paper. Thick toilet paper and wipes do not degrade as easily and are one of the prime causes of drainage blockages in the UK. Toilet paper presents a challenge when trying to clear an outside blockage, but success can be achieved.

A drainage rod will be an essential tool for this kind of blockage and you can leave the pressure hose in storage since spraying paper will only cause the blockage to spread deeper. Twist the drainage rod repeatedly to loosen the stubborn paper, the more flushing you do, the looser the clog will get.

You can then use a shovel to scoop the loosened paper out of the drain. This will take time, so try and maintain patience to be sure that every last bit of clogged toilet paper is removed.

Related Questions

What to do if an Outside Drain is Overflowing?

If you see that an outside drain is overflowing, this usually means that there is a blockage somewhere between the interior plumbing and the outside drain, or, an external blockage from outside debris. If an outside drain is actively overflowing, this is a problem that immediately needs to be addressed. Calling a plumbing professional is the best move to remedy the problem.

If an outside drain is overflowing, you can inspect the blockage to feel out a deterrent that is clogging the water flow. The problem with trying to unclog overflowing drains is that the back up of water can make the task arduous and uncertain. A drainage rod can only do so much when water is continuously gushing out of the drain and a pressure hose is useless in these types of scenarios.

Consulting with a drainage professional is the best course of action for active overflows. Clogs can be deeply embedded into the piping system and likely will not be a viable fix without professional equipment.

Are There Any Outside Drain Unblocker Chemicals?

Chemical solutions are certainly proven to remove stubborn clogs, even in outdoor drains. Although this process is useless for drains that are clogged by heavy debris such as limbs and leaves, a powerful chemical can eat through blockages from degraded paper and other smaller particles. There is a range of chemicals available.

Caustic soda works well by causing the particles clogging the drain to disintegrate into smaller particles, which can then easily be flushed away. This chemical is easily available and works just as well as any other unblocker chemical. Be sure and choose an unblocker that works to either shrink or eat away at the particles causing the clog.

How to Unblock a Sewage Drain

Sewage drains are incredibly complex, and it may not be possible to unblock a mainline sewage system clog. It is always worth a try to see if you can achieve success in fixing the blockage. It is crucial to wear thick gloves and a respirator mask since raw sewage can cause a whole host of health effects if exposure occurs. A sewage drain is a vitally important system that keeps dangerous waste from infiltrating freshwater.

A professional draining company is best suited to diagnose these problems, but the inspection can be carried out by visually observing an overflow in the drains within your home. Sewage will back up into these drains when it has no other exit point to escape into the mainline sewer system. A professional will use a complex set of tools to probe the sewage drain to diagnose any obstruction, which can then be removed.

The tools available for private use can only do so much, and overdosing a sewage system with chemicals may only make the problem worse. If you notice a sewage backup, attempt to unclog the blockage with the steps outlined below, if this fails, call a professional plumber immediately.

In Summary

Unblocking an outside drain can be an easy or a complex task. There are many different types of structures and particles that can cause exterior drains to clog, therefore a diagnosis of the type of blockage will allow you to proceed accordingly. Sewage drain blockage is best suited for professionals to handle. If an outside drain in your yard is blocked, these steps can be taken to clear the blockage with only a few simple tools.

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