Clogged drains are nothing short of a nightmare!
Just the thought of back flowing wastewater with the foul smell makes our skin crawl. What’s even more frustrating is that both indoor and outdoor drains are susceptible to blockage. No respite from the torture, you think?
Well, the good news is that there’s a DIY procedure that’ll help you unclog an outdoor drain without putting too much strain on your muscles. Although there are a couple of not-so-pleasant tasks involved, it’s still better than spending dollars for replacing a pipe that just needed proper maintenance.
So, let's get started, shall we?
What Clogs Outdoor Drains?
Before we take you through the steps involved in unclogging an outdoor drain, allow us to shed some light on the things that may clog it in the first place. And if you can prevent them from getting near the drain opening, consider the job half done!
Here are the most common things found near an outdoor drain:
- High grass, weeds, or other plants growing near the opening
- Dirt or debris from drainage holes
- Twigs, mud, leaves blown or washed away by wind and rain
- Trash or litter, including plastic and paper
- Toys, shoes, or broken parts of equipment
How To Clog Outdoor Drain?
Now that you have an idea about the things clogging an outdoor drain, let’s look at the steps that help clean the mess.
When you spot stagnant water near the drain, the first thing to do is to get a closer look at the problem. This step will usually require you to remove the drain cover, which in turn, may need a screwdriver. But generally, drain covers can be removed by hand. In any case, don’t forget to get a pair of gloves on.
Once you get the required access, assess the problem thoroughly with some assistance from a powerful flashlight. Has the clogging happened close to the opening, or is it entirely out of sight? If visible, is there only gunk accumulation, or the cause seems bigger?
If you think that you're capable of solving the problem, proceed to step 2. Otherwise, contact a professional at the earliest.
Considering that the blockage can be cleared the DIY way, the next step is to get hold of the necessary tools and equipment. Apart from the gloves, the other things that you will need are protective clothing, protective glasses, a drainage rod/snake, a bucket and a hose.
Before utilizing the tools, there is but a nasty job that ensures an efficient cleaning session. Keeping your hands fully protected, reach out for the immediate blockage and pull it from the sides. Dump the diggings into the bucket. The more you pull out, the better it would be.
Next, put the rod slowly through the drain to push the remaining debris and reach deep inside the system. Move it slowly to break as much blockage as possible. Depending on the concentration of the backup, it may be a relatively time-consuming process. Be patient and continue till you can move the rod freely inside the drain.
At this point, it’s worth mentioning that if the debris is water-soluble (like mud), you can use any long, metal rod. If not, then employ a plumbing snake in swift, stirring motions to catch all the gunk. Ensure not to damage the pipe.
Once you think you have done enough, slowly pull it out. Be careful not to transfer anything back inside. If you don’t have a drainage rod handy and plan to get one, we’d advise getting a hydro-get drain snake from the get-go. It’s high-pressure water jet moves hard-to-dislodge debris out of the drain. Moreover, they can be rented from the local hardware store.
Using the pressure hose, clean any excess debris that may have built-up near the drain. Another advantage of doing this is that you can check whether or not the water has an unobstructed flow through the drain. Besides, it also helps in removing the loosened debris that may have accumulated near the opening.
Although it may add up to the effort, we’d strongly suggest not skipping this step. The high water pressure is one of the best techniques to get rid of significantly stubborn gunk that may have been left behind.
Step 5 (Optional)
To be on the safe side, you can follow the same steps to clear the termination or cleanout points, which are responsible for drawing the water. If there’s still some resistance after cleaning the opening, then this step is crucial for eliminating the dirt buildup at different locations.
As the final step, rinse the drain cover and place it back on the opening. Pour some more water to confirm its unhindered flow.
Some Tips To Keep The Drain Clean
The best way to save yourself from the hassle of going through the above-mentioned steps is regularly cleaning the drain opening and nearby areas. Most drains have a screen or grate cover that is prone to get clogged. Hence, it’s a good tactic to remove them regularly and rinse thoroughly.
Other than that, we’d advise flushing the drain periodically to prevent the buildup of unwanted material. Alternatively, you can also opt for an outdoor drain filter to cease the entry of dirt and debris. But again, these filters will also require frequent cleaning.
That’s it from us on how to unclog an outdoor drain.
Not only do blocked drains and stagnant water invite a host of diseases, but the resultant water pressure can also lead to damages and pipe bursts. Furthermore, you may experience flooding that can destroy the landscape and seep through the ground to damage drainage structures through mould formation and corrosion.
That said, regular cleaning sessions with once-in-a-month unclogging routine shouldn’t let the problem escalate. However, if you still notice considerable blockage and can’t spot the debris buildup, it’s best to call a professional.
And before we leave, here’s another pro-tip: avoid planting greens near the outdoor drain as the roots can cause the underground pipes to break.