/ Blocked Drain
This is like a needle in a haystack job. Our house is old. A downstairs loo is blocked & I have been told (by the £75.00 per call out plumber) that the blockage may be in a pipe under the floor - he reckons that tiling has been put over an access manhole - but can’t locate it.
Any ideas as to how I can identify the location of the blockage without setting to and lifting the floor. Tried heavy duty caustic soda & chemicals...and rods aren’t flexible enough. What’s the best way to locate a ‘lost’ drain cover?
Apols if you’re having breakfast
You could try rodding back from the next manhole and measuring how far the rods go. You may even hit the blockage that way. Can you take the loo out? You could rod without having to negotiate the u bend then.
Hope that helps,
Try something more flexible than rods to try and locate the blockage - something like a stiff hosepipe.
if you can locate the blockage with the hosepipe and if you have access to a compressor, give it a blast of air to clear it.
That's what I'd do.
That's also not necessarily a recommendation.
Thanks for the suggestions. - appreciated. I think that I'll have a scout around for some flexible rods...the compressor idea also might be worth investigating.
Will keep the Forum appraised of the eventual solution - the country is in enough sh*t as it is
In this situation I would try to rod back from 'downstream' as someone else suggested, failing that you can get some very flexible drain snakes (think really long thin spring with a winding handle on the end) which will get just about anywhere.
When you tried drain clearing chemicals did you try using a hose to get them down to the blockage or just tip them into the U-bend?
Be a bit careful with relying upon pressure to shift the blockage as you can end up separating the joints in the waste pipe!
I find that a mop used as a plunger helps, flush the loo so the pan fills with water and gently plunge the mop into the bottom of the pan, do this a few times until the blockage loosens and the water you have in the pan should help flush it away.
Pretty much what everyone else has said - get some rods with a pig tail on the end and work upstream. Only turn clockwise, never anti-clockwise.
A spring based device may work and will go round the U-bend but will make put those nasty black line on porcelain. If the bowl is reasonably empty (and probably even if not), removing the loo & U bend would be a better option than digging up the floor. Getting someone in with a water jet would be a whole lot better than digging up the floor.
My experience in this regard? - being the first house uphill of a blocked sewer for 10 weeks, during the course of which I became very, very familiar with the insides of drains and the options for trying to get anything to shift. Ended up with a gurt hole in the road.
Never used one but there are drain cleaning attachments for pressure washers.
Another vote for back rodding
Thanks all! This stuff is brilliant - I was going to say 'food for thought', but that's not very appropriate in the circumstances. Will see what works and (as said) will certainly report back.
Try to hire a drain snake locally
I got a lidl pressure washer that came with a drain attachment. One of the ends self propels (some of the water is fired backwards) and I fed this in and it dragged itself through. Found later this was for small blockages in bathroom pipes and I could have just blasted our main drain.
We have a similar issue with a possible hidden cover and I have usb camera on 5m of cable that i go online that I was going to tape to the pressure washer end to explore this.
In an age when (it seems) local authorities/councils etc draw a lot of negative press, check this out. Mrs G phoned them & asked whether they had in their posession any old plans of the house (it had been subject to a planning application some years ago). Bingo - within less than an hour we were sent copies of the plans by email. These show location of mains drainage & access points on the current footprint.
Net result is we can at least target the drain blockage more accurately, thus reducing impact of any invasive works to get at the problem. Not solved yet - but a good step forwards. And fair play to the efficiency of the Council.
Get a Coke-sized plastic bottle (i.e. big enough to not go down the pan), ideally with a rounded rather than flat bottom, fill it up to give it some weight and try ramming it. Worked for me in the past
> Another vote for back rodding
Yes, who doesn't like a bit of that?
> Yes, who doesn't like a bit of that?
If there's a downstream access point that doesn't have sewage backing up out of it the blockage is obviously upstream of that. I'd be wary of powerful methods of unblocking if you've got tiled-over access points, the last thing you want is to force up a hidden manhole lid. If the blockage is a partial one i.e. slow draining then try a chemical unblocker (acid / caustic soda) as it will get to the blockage and hopefully dissolve it enough to remove it.
> ...the compressor idea also might be worth investigating.
You're not daft and this is kind of obvious, but I'm going to say it anyway...
Be very careful about 'blowback' if you decide to go this way. Some of the fluid in the pipe might be splashed in your direction and you don't want it on your skin or in your eyes, especially if there are still caustic chemicals in there from your attempt to dissolve the blockage.
> I got a lidl pressure washer that came with a drain attachment. One of the ends self propels (some of the water is fired backwards) and I fed this in and it dragged itself through. Found later this was for small blockages in bathroom pipes and I could have just blasted our main drain.
The problem with these self propelling drain jetters is it can be easy to get them stuck. I do a lot with professional drain jetters on site and even they get stuck sometimes.
I’d add that a friend used a sort of plunge compressor thing when he had a blocked bathroom pipe. Did the job a treat until he got damp patches and water coming through his ceiling, it had popped all the compression/pressfit pipes apart!
Dax, I’ve no doubt, it did catch a few times and I’m just trying to block the whole memory out. A few hours of feeding and yanking the thing while standing in a mist of shit, the horror.
Followed this plumbers advice on google... and it worked ...
Push a hose pipe down the pan as far as it will go. Surround it with tightly packed towels / sheets etc
stand on them and turn on the water. Can take up to 30 mins but the gradual increase in pressure often does the trick. Good luck
When you have a blockage obviously something is obstructing the pipe, when you put chemicals down the pipe this removes all of the debris on the pipe walls which now settles on the blockage making it worse, any pressurised force then packs the blockage tighter. Some times the best option is suction rather than pressure to loosen the blockage and soon as there is a small flow the obstruction can sometimes flush away. Try a having a go with a sink plunger of an appropriate size to cover the opening, pan , sink etc. push slowly but pull quickly.
Hope this helps
Also have an old house.
Also have had blockages.
Now with the usual caveat regarding the fact that I am not a plumber.
Best method I have found is to get a plain ordinary hosepipe, with the nozzle set to the fiercest jet possible, then (prior to turning on the tap, as this makes the pipe more "solid" and difficult to get around any bends), shove the hose up the system from the opposite end (where you want it to drain to) and when you find it stop, pull it back a couple of inches or so, and turn on the tap full blast.
This breaks up whatever it is, slowly at first, and then incrementally quicker.
You can tell if it's working because you should see "something horrible" appearing in front of you.
Keep going until the upstream end completely clears, and then turn off the hose tap. You may need to do this a couple of times, or possibly push it further up when part of the blockage is cleared.
Warning: It stinks to high heaven, you need to fully flush the system afterwards (a full bath, washbasin, toilet cistern - you get the idea). And then you have to clean the hose down as it won't be too pleasant either. Wear gloves and old clothes and prepare for quick and easy access to the shower afterwards.
> Keep going until the upstream end completely clears, and then turn off the hose tap. You may need to do this a couple of times, or possibly push it further up when part of the blockage is cleared.
I have visions of the hose being push so far up the drain it appears in the bog and you blast the whole room....
That's not a vision, it's a nightmare.
> I have visions of the hose being push so far up the drain it appears in the bog and you blast the whole room..
Reminds me of a photo I saw when working at a big regional water utility. They had been jetting a sewer to remove a blockage, but had accidentally pushed the jetting hose up through an unfortunate customers toilet and fully covered their bathroom with sewer content.
Fortunately nobody was in the bathroom at the time.
<Fortunately nobody was in the bathroom at the time>
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