Blocked Outside Drain
Outside drains have a unique purpose than the other drains inside the house or a building. A blocked outside drain can cause a disaster in the home or business. Typical plumbing drain systems are composed of a network of pipes that run and connect to the city sewer system. Water faucets, bathrooms drains, and kitchen drains, drive wastewater to the house’s sewer lines. The sewer line usually runs beneath the garden, lawn or driveway. The drain line or pipe delivers wastewater from the house into the city sewer and then to the water treatment facility of the city where water is chemically treated for it to be reused again.
Aside from the different plumbing fixtures in the house, the main sewer line is also connected to outside drains. It is also connected to roof drains, driveway drains, area drains and other kinds of drains. Leaves, dirt, and heavy rainstorms can be too much for drains to take and can cause clogging. Like other drain pipes, outside drains can break and be invaded by roots from trees nearby.
When does a blocked outside drain occur? Blocked outside drain happen any day of the year, but they happen more during the fall season or when leaves from the shrubs and trees scatter on the ground.
The large volume of water from rainstorms and the accumulation of leaves and debris cause the blocked outside drain as well. These events lead to the creation of pools of stagnating water which can even become breeding grounds for insects and mosquitos. Blocked outside drains can also cause rainwater to flood the property or the house. However, it is quite easy to clear blocked outside drains and prevent these plumbing issues from happening.
When heavy snowstorms occur, they can block the drain grating. Once the ice or snow thaws, it creates a water rush and even flooding. This is why there is a need to regularly check all outside drains and drain grates. They should always be ready to accept incoming water.
How to clear a blocked outside drain with your hands?
Clearing clogs do not always require specialty tools. Typical outside drains usually have grates to filter debris and leaves. This usually includes a large city basin to a small drain area for a stairwell, similar to a floor drain inside a building. Cleaning the grate is one step to cleaning an outside drain but other actions are needed to clear it properly. Dirt, debris, and leaves may sometimes fall into the sump of the drain, and when they have accumulated, they form a clog. To clear the clog, there is a need to open the grate to check if there is debris accumulation beneath it.
The space directly below the grate is the sump or the area drain itself. Take out any material causing the clog with a small shovel or your hands. Make sure to clean out each catch basin in every direction, especially for multi-directional drains. This procedure is necessary to do on regular basis to keep the drain line clean and running properly.
Getting your hand dirty for an hour is better than having unhygienic and annoying wastewater backup problems that need expensive repairs or the help of a professional drain cleaner.
Once the clogs are removed, check if water runs through the pipes properly. Feed a garden hose into the drain pipe and flush it. A clear drain pipe must receive and dispose of water fast or quickly. If the water does not flow, you probably have a clog down the line or have a damaged pipe. Try a more powerful flush by placing the hose inside the pipe to help push the clog. What kind of tools are needed to clear a tough clog or blocked outside drain?
Sometimes clogs are very stubborn and cleaning them using physical labour will not fix the issue. If the clog problem is really bad and cannot be solved with the hands, powerful tools and equipment are needed and a professional drain cleaner should be asked for help.
The rubber drain bladder or the blow bag. This drain cleaning tool is placed at the end of the hose. The rubber bag then fills with water and expands to fit tightly into the pipe. It helps prevent the water from backing up. Because of this, all the pressure and force from the water go forward towards the direction of the clog. It is sometimes considered a simple version of the hydro-jet.
The drain machine for tougher clogs
If the drain bladder does not work, consider working with the drain machine. A drain machine is attached with a specialty blade at the end of the snake. If the clog is more than just an accumulation of leaves and debris or if it is caused by tree roots in the pipes, this tool is the best bet for the removal of the clog. With the right cutter, a drain machine will get rid of anything that blocks the water flow. After cutting through the clog, flush the pipe with water from a garden hose to clear the remnants of the clog.
Water jetting uses high-pressure water to clear out debris in the pipes and remove dirt from the inner surface of the pipe. Professional plumbers use various nozzles for specific purposes. Some nozzles push water in a forward direction while others flush water forward and backward at the same time. There are also rotating nozzles used in hydro-jetting. Hydro-jets helps get rid of most clogging issues but the job should be done by a plumbing professional because high water pressure can be dangerous if the jetting is not properly executed.
Easy ways to prevent future clogs
Put a fine screen under the grate. The screen has to be fine enough to keep leaves and debris out. It should not be too fine and restrict water flow.
Make sure to clean drains on a regular basis especially before a heavy rainstorm.
Relocate or add another drain to prevent standing water in your property after a rainstorm. This is best if your drain is installed at a high area in your property. Create a drain in a lower point to let the force of gravity drain the water off the yard.
Redesign the entire garden or lawn for proper drainage. If yard topography and soil permeability are your main problems, have the area redesigned. Have a map that shows the pipe connections and locations and they should not be located near trees to prevent tree root invasion to avoid damage to pipes. Damaged pipes have to be excavated and replaced. And the process is very expensive. So, it is best to avoid damage to pipes at all cost.