A blocked drain is a drainage problem that requires an immediate fix to avoid having backup into the inside drains. While there are many procedures that can unblock a drain, using a drain rod is definitely the most common and oftentimes, the easier method for unblocking a drain.
Using a drain rod requires attaching enough rods together to reach the entire perimeter of the drain. The rod is meant to be moved around to loosen the debris causing a blockage to get the water to start flowing smoothly again. Once a drain has been unlocked with a rod, the debris can be removed with drain jetting.
In this article, we will explore everything there is to know about drain rods. How effective they are, what they can be used for, and any associated problems that can come with using a drain rod based on the type of drain issue you are having.
How Do You Unblock an Outside Drain with a Rod?
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.
Once a rod is attached and ready, 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.
How Do You Rod a Drain Pipe?
The rodding process is generally the same regardless, but there can be some different modifications if you need to rod something like a drain pipe. To effectively rod a drainpipe and unblock drain obstructions, always make sure you attach enough rodding to cover the length of the pipe you are working with.
Direct the drain rod through the pipe until you hit the obstruction; you will usually know if you are hitting the obstruction if the debris is mushy or is penetrable, otherwise, you may have just met a bend in the pipe, which mean you need to twist the rod around to adapt to the bend and keep going. Blocked drains are almost always caused by an obstruction, therefore, you simply need to do everything you can with the auger of the rod to sift around the blockage and cause it to move and break apart.
Keep pushing forward and backward and to the side to break up the blockage. Make sure you never turn the rod anticlockwise, as this will unscrew the attachments and lead to an even bigger problem with a stuck rod in the piping.
If there are no other issues with the drainpipe, the plunging effect with the auger end of the rod will usually break up the blockage and the debris will then run through the pipe as it is supposed to.
Can Drain Rods Go Round Bends?
As previously mentioned, bends in the piping can cause some unwanted problems when it comes to rodding a drain. First, this typically means that you have a blockage that is further down the line, which will require moving the rod around bends and traps sometimes.
Make sure that you use a highly flexible drain rod that can bend and adapt to the contours of the pipes. It is certainly possible to get around the bends, but just be sure you are using the right kind of rod. If ever in doubt, consult with a drain professional.
Can You Use Drain Rods Down the Toilet?
A drain rod can certainly be used to remove blockages in the toilet. These kinds of blockages will generally require a bit more force and a longer rod to remove the blockage than what a regular plunger can provide.
To avoid any water from splashing back onto the floor, you may want to make slow and steady plunges once the plunging auger is into the mouth of the drain pipe. Just keep plunging the auger until the toilet flushes clearly and any backup flows smoothly.
The Problems with Using Drain Rods
Drain rods are great for unblocking drain issues and to wash away and remove any obstructions. But unblocking drains with a drain rod can sometimes cause problems, and this is almost always that the rods can get stuck or break off into the drain pipes.
Learning how to use drain rods and understanding how to adapt the tools properly is essential. Once a rod has become stuck, you now have the original blockage and a stuck drain rod on your hands, which means it is time to call a professional.
Why Use a Professional to Clear Your Drain?
Unblocking a drain with a rod 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. While you can usually expect to have great success with using a rod effectively on your own, the problems with detached and stuck drain rods can cause problems to escalate, which means you will likely have to call out a professional anyway.
In short, always allow a professional to unblock drains since all the required tools can be used effectively and the blocked drain can run clear to the best of its ability, not just a quick fix.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Flexible Are Drain Rods?
Not all drain rods are going to be able to clear every blocked drain and wash away the debris effectively. It is always best to use a flexible drain rod that can reach way back into the pipe if need be.
A rod that is bendable and flexible enough to reach about bends and twists in the pipe may be the best option to consider unless the blockage is very near to the surface. Bendable rods are designed to replace more traditional rods that can only work vertically.
You may need a bendable set of rods if you are rodding a drain inside the home, like a toilet.
How Do You Unblock a Drain Without a Rod?
Using a rod is not always going to solve the problem completely, and may even make the blocked drain even worse. With this in mind, a procedure like a drain jetting may be the perfect solution.
Drain jetting is an optimal procedure for blocked drains due to the flexibility of the jetting hose, which can contour to a wide range of corners and tight spaces, as opposed to bulkier equipment. It takes an adequate amount of experience to effectively navigate the jetting hose, therefore a CCTV drain survey is also beneficial during the jetting process to have an effective visual guide during the process.
Additionally, the water pressure needs to be powerful enough to remove the debris causing the blocked drain. The nozzle attached to the hose effectively increases the water pressure to a point where the high-pressure water can shoot out of the nozzle with enough power to move debris.
Drain rods are great tools to use to remove blockages, yet you may need more complex services if the blockage is too deep or the set of rods you have are not flexible enough. KJC Drainage can find solutions to this common problem with rods and much more.
We pride ourselves on delivering the most comprehensive and industry-specific standards of excellence to every job we take on. When you contact us, rather you choose to call us or email us, our commitment to excellence begins with a friendly and personable conversation to answer all of your initial questions thoroughly and effectively.