Q: How do I unblock my drain?
A: Most blocked sewer and stormwater drains are caused by tree roots penetrating broken or cracked drains. It is rare for a foreign object to go down the drain and block it, as it would have to pass through the pan U-bend or the gully trap U-bend where the waste pipes discharge.
To unblock the drain, there are three methods of 'rodding':
- Hand rod
- Machine worm
- Industrial water blaster
None will actually repair the drain - just unblock it. The only sure method of repair is replacement. Call Atkinson & Donaldson Plumbing on 07 347 0541 if you are unable to clear the blockage yourself or need a quote to replace the drain.
Drain cameras are sometimes used to give reassurance by showing evidence of the blockage. However, a plumber can usually tell you what the problem is - and where it is - just by using a hand rod, assuming they can gain access to the drain.
Drains that are in good condition rarely get blocked; particularly the new PVC drains used today. So, while rodding is cheaper than replacement and can keep a drain clear for a period, you may decide it's better to fix it if the problem continues.
Q: How high should the lip around a gully trap be?
A: Wastewater gully traps are connected to the sewerage system. The lip must be at least 25mm above a paved surface and 100mm above an unpaved surface to stop rain entering the gully at times of high rainfall.
If the gully is damaged or doesn't have a sufficient lip, the rainwater (or stormwater, as it's known) enters the gully, placing an extra burden on the sewerage system. It can even contribute to wastewater overflows during very wet weather.
If you are having landscaping work done, such as new concrete paths and patios or flowerbeds, make sure the lip around the gully trap isn't affected. If yours is a modern plastic gully, you can buy an extension at your local plumbing merchant and do the work yourself. Just remove the grating, fit the extension and glue it in place. If you have a ceramic gully, you will need the help of plumber, call Atkinson & Donaldson Plumbing on 07 347 0541 and we will sort out your gully for you.
If you do see ponding/pooling in the area, never drill a hole in the side of the gully trap to let the water drain away!
Q: What do I do if my toilet, sink, bath or shower is blocked?
A: A rubber cup plunger can be effective when pumped up and down for a couple of minutes. If it's a blocked sink, keep a damp rag over the overflow while you do it. If that doesn't work, remove the trap under the sink to check for blockage (remember to keep a bucket underneath!), or try flexible wire to dislodge a possible blockage in the pipe.
If none of this works, call Atkinson & Donaldson Plumbing on 07 347 0541.
Q: How do I retrieve valuables lost down the sink?
A: If you've just washed your hands and realise you're short of a ring or precious stone that was there before, there's a good chance the treasure can be recovered.
The item may still be trapped in the curve of the waste pipe, so the first step is to stop any flow of water right away and call Atkinson & Donaldson Plumbing on 07 347 0541. We may be able to find the object by dismantling the waste pipe.