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How do I Know If My Outside Drain is Blocked?


When a drainage system has problem, you will see a number of signs. The first sign is sink, bath or toilet slow draining. The water retreats minutes later after you finished showering. You may also sense a bad smell due blocked outside drain that hinder smooth flow of used water.

Basic Steps

A blocked drain will have standing water or slow draining. You need to let a contractor know this before they come to your house as it will help them carry the right equipment. A contractor will check and lift the manholes and chambers. It helps them in isolating the problematic area. An empty chamber means they have to move upstream and locate the full one.

If it’s your upper bathroom draining slowly, the Soil Vent Pipe should be the first thing to check. If it is empty, you can be sure that the blockage is within upstairs pan. A full one, check base bend, it may have dropped or the SVP branch line may be blocked downstream. Most modern buildings, the SVP is internal and most likely located behind your kitchen’s cabinets.

When dealing with a blocked toilet, someone should flush it while you watch gullies outside to see the water will flow. If the water levels lift before flowing away, the blockage is external. Always be careful because if the property has two drainage systems, you may end up with raw sewage on your feet. The same thing happens with blocked gulley and helps you take the right action. Run some water into the gulley and watch how the water levels go. If the levels rise, it means the main line is blocked.

A good engineer will have a sonar tracer to check the SVP. He can also use a carbon rod to identify the exact obstruction as it easily negotiates junctions and bends. Since he is qualified and experienced, he can tell what the problem is. It could be grease and fat, roots, buried chamber or collapsed drain. After using the jetting hose, water levels react differently and the colour varies depending on the cause of the blockage.

Main Causes of Blocked Outside Drain

Your outside drain can block any day, any season. But, most blockages happen during the fall season because there are many leaves scattered all over. The storms that occur during the fall season do not help much as they wash away debris increasing chances on blocking your external drainage. Apart from providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes on your property, such accumulated water can cause a flood in your home. A broken pipe can also cause blockage leading to slow movement of water in your sinks and toilet.

Though it is not a difficult procedure, a blocked outside drain must be attended like an emergency.

However, the simplest way is to always check how water is moving and call a contractor without any delay.

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