Getting a drain clearance

If your home has blocked drains or a blocked sewer, you can search and look online to find drain-clearance contractors in your area who have been assessed to date. A clogged drain or blocked drain is a big issue, but you can avoid it when you keep the drains clean and clear all items from around it also. You just need to keep on top of it all you will be fine and safe too.

You need to first assess the issue in hand

Access your outdoor drainage through whatever method you can. For most properties, this means removing the drain cover. This may require a screwdriver, although this is rare. Once you have access, inspect the problem. Is the blockage near the surface or is it out of sight? Is it simply gunk or does it appear to be a tougher job? If, after assessing the problem, you think you can manage the job yourself, you will do so at your own risk. Drain clearance is no easy job.

If the problem looks to be far more challenging than you anticipated, we recommend you avoid tackling the problem yourself. You may also find you have clogged gutter pipes. These are easier to clean out, although it is still worth following these same steps.

You also need the best and correct tools for the job

Removal of an outdoor drain blockage requires a few things. The most critical tool is a drainage rod. These items are long, thin, flexible and often made with steel joints. They enable you to push through the blockage in your drain, reaching deep into the external systems. Cheap and easy to find, don’t try to unblock an outside drain without one.

You’ll also want some protective clothing, as you’ll be digging around inside the drain. We recommend waterproofs — gloves and long-sleeves — as well as protective gear. It is key here for your mouth and eyes if the blockage is near the surface. Splatter can contain nasty sewage bacteria, which you don’t want to come into contact with. This is as it may cause illness or infection.

It is vital you then clear out the blockage and source of this

Using your drainage rods, attempt to flush out the blockage. The narrow metal should slide through the sludge, though you may need to apply a bit of pressure. Move the rods around, breaking apart as much of the blockage as possible. This may take some time, especially if the buildup is quite large or stubborn, so be patient. Keep plunging until it becomes easy to move the drainage rods — if you can see the blockage, it will start to drain and dissipate.


The advent of CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) systems has made it possible to access, accurately record, and analyse the condition of drainage systems. It can pin point the nature and location of defects and obstructions. Remote-controlled crawler units, with cameras attached, are guided along drainage channels to complete a comprehensive survey. From this, you should then get a video of what work has been done and how the job has also been run too.