How to Use Drain Rods

Blocked drains are inconvenient as well as a potential health hazard. If a drain backs up, you might end up with standing water in a sink or an overflowing toilet. You could also end up with raw sewage bubbling out of your sink, which is never pleasant.

Drain rods can clear blockages in drains and pipes. They are versatile, effective, and relatively easy to use. Whether you are dealing with a clogged sink, toilet, or outdoor drain under a manhole cover, drain rods can loosen the blockage so water starts flowing through the pipe, which is enough for drain jetting to work.

In this guide, we will walk you through why drain rods are sometimes necessary and the process of using them effectively.

How to Use Drain Rods

Why Are Drain Rods Needed?

Drain unblocker chemicals are not going to work on an outside drain blocked by silt and debris after a major storm. While they are always suitable, in most situations, drain rods are more effective than other methods.

Drain rods are suitable for any type of drain, including sinks, outside drains, and toilets. Depending on how many rods you fix together, drain rods can reach deep blockages. They are strong, flexible, and capable of pushing through tough blockages and clogs. If you don’t want to call out a plumber for a small blockage, drain rods will normally fix the problem. They can also be used as a preventative measure, to keep drains clear and prevent future blockages.

Drain Rods Vs. Chemical Drain Unblockers

Chemical drain unblockers are effective at breaking down hair, soap scum, and grease in kitchen and bathroom sinks. If you have a slow-draining bathroom sink, it may be worth trying a chemical unblocker first. However, chemicals won’t work on more serious blockages and can damage pipework. In addition, chemical drain cleaners are bad for the environment and pose health risks if not handled correctly.

A Step-By-Step Guide

You will need a set of drain rods, which typically consist of several interlocking rods that can be assembled to reach the desired length. You’ll also need rubber gloves, overalls, a bucket, and a torch for better visibility.

Identify the Blockage

First, you must identify where the problem is, so you can remove the blockage. This will help you determine the best approach to clear it. If the clog is in a sink or toilet, it's usually fairly easy to locate the blockage. However, if it's in an outdoor drain, you may need to remove the manhole cover and inspect the pipe with a torch.

Assemble the Drain Rods

Assemble the drain rods by connecting them. Start with the base rod and attach the other rods as needed to reach the depth of the pipe. Make sure the rods are securely fastened to avoid them coming apart while in use.

Insert the Drain Rods

Once you have the rods assembled, insert the first drain rod into the drain or pipe. Push them gently but firmly, allowing them to travel deeper into the system. It's important to maintain a steady pressure to ensure the rods continue to move forward without getting stuck.

Rotate the Drain Rods

Once you’ve reached the blockage, turn the rods and start rotating them in a clockwise motion. This helps to break up the blockage and dislodge any debris that may be causing the blockage. Keep rotating them until you feel less resistance, or the water starts to flow again.

Remove the Drain Rods

Once the clog is cleared, slowly withdraw the drain rods from the pipe. Be cautious not to pull them out too quickly, as this can cause splashing and make a mess. Keep a bucket nearby to catch any water or debris that may come out when you remove the rod.

Rinse and Repeat if Necessary

After removing the drain rods, flush the system with water to ensure the blockage has been completely cleared. If the water drains smoothly, then the job is done. However, if there is still some resistance or the water doesn't flow freely, you may need to repeat the process a few more times.

Clean Your Rods

Once the blockage has been sorted, clean your drain rods thoroughly to remove all debris and bacteria.

Remember, using drain rods to unblock a drain requires patience and caution. With the right technique and tools, you can effectively clear a minor blocked drain on your own. However, if you are unsure or uncomfortable with the process, or worried about losing a drain rod down the pipe - and making the problem worse - it's always advisable to consult a drainage expert like us.

If you are experiencing blocked drains First Response Drainage should be your first call  we are specialist blocked drain engineers and provide emergency drain clearance 24/7 across London. Call 0800 043 4860 and get your drains unblocked.