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How to prevent blocked drains - Simple, practical advice!

If you are a builder and you are reading this, our apologies! It is not meant as a technical guide, but rather a helpful hint for homeowners to avoid costly bills for unblocking their drains. Incidentally, my father was a Masterbuilder and my cousins still build, so I do know a little about this subject!!

It is true that prevention is better than cure, but that is no consolation if you have no idea about prevention. There are many simple solutions which will help you keep your money for the nicer things in life like Shopping rather than paying for the unblocking of stinky drains. I am unsure, but I do not think think you can claim on your Home Insurance, so we'll see if I can help!

The first strategy is a simple one, do not buy the extra thick toilet rolls! While these may be kind to your bum, they are not so kind to your drains.

The thicker rolls have a tendancy to be very absorbent, which means they become heavy with fluids. This means they are heavier and combined with human waste, they can cause a blockage. (We have experienced this first hand and we now use good quality thinner paper which is often cheaper than the thicker stuff, but also saves us getting the drain rods out!)

Secondly, buy drain covers. These come in all different shapes and sizes, which are widely available. Make sure you measure the opening to be covered, as they are not necessarily a universal fit.

This simple step will prevent gravel, leaves, toys, etc. from falling or being stuffed in the drains. Therefore, preventing a blockage later on, when the collection of action man, tennis balls and two kilos of gravel magically stop the water flow.

Reverse-baling helps ensure that slight blockages can be moved on before they become a problem. What is reverse-baling? Instead of taking the water out, you put it back in.

Once a week, it's a good idea to send an extra three to six buckets of water down the toilet. By putting this water "back in" it helps to stop the build up of blockages.

Avoid under the rim toilet blocks. Those magical items in plastic cages which cunningly sit just under the rim so that they cleverly clean your toilet are a real menace. Why? It's simple really they fall or they are dropped into the toilet, often without anyone knowing. The next person goes to the toilet and sure enough when they flush the toilet it is suddenly blocked.

The reason for this is that the cage becomes stuck in the u-bend, toilet paper and human waste become jammed against the cage and "hey presto" a blocked loo!

On a more personal note, sanitary towels and tampons can also be a cause of drain blockage. That is why you see the alternative bins in toilets. Just because you have no bin at home, it doesn't mean your toilet won't block. However, it is often simpler to dispose of the latter down the loo, but it is worth mentioning though.

If all else fails and you get a blockage have a go at unblocking it yourself! It won't kill you and drain rods only cost between fifteen and thirty pounds!! (The cheapest I've seen were at Screwfix 2006/01)

Before you start a cautionary note - this can be a rotten, awful stinky job. It is not for someone, who is not prepared to run the risk of getting splattered with raw human sewage. Please be careful, wear very old clothes, gloves and relevant safety equipment such as goggles. Make sure children and pets are kept well out of the way and take a bath or shower afterwards as you will most probably pong!

For breaking up a blockage, you need to use the drain rod with a corkscrew attachment. DO NOT use the rod with the circular disk on the end for this purpose - if you push the circular ended rod for any distance without your hand on it, you run the risk of it becoming unscrewed and low and behold you have a second blockage!! Connect about three rods to begin with. Keep adding rods until they jam up against something solid - the blockage. Keep jabbing and dragging back at this blockage and you will succeed in either breaking it up or moving on into the main drain.

Once the water flows freely again and everything moves on, you know that the drain is clear. Try flushing the loo several times and watch the water flow away, if it does this easily - problem solved!

If you can't unblock it and it sometimes takes a real effort to shift a blockage, call a local qualified builder and get it done professionally. We have never had to call out a builder, but would rather do that than call out someone like flymocod, who will charge the earth and more.

If you are retired and your property maintenance is getting too expensive. Use the money you have put in your bricks and mortar! Take a look at Norwich Union Equity Release and you may be able to get some money to help you out through difficult times!

Alternatively, you could always give Norwich Union Equity Release a call.

Fancy having a go yourself, go on! The links below will help you - fill your toolboxes!!


Wilkinson Plus



DIY Supply

DIY Essentials Ltd

DIY Tools

Tooled Up

plumbworld (affilwin)

We hope this helps! Don't forget to have a good look around the site!!