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How to clear a blocked drainage pipe outside

Save some money and get the job done: find out how to unblock a drainpipe and deal with pipe blockage at home with our guide.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Cleanipedia Team

Blocked outside drainage pipe
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Key steps

Deal with a pipe blockage by following these steps:

  • Gather your tools.

  • Never work on your own.

  • Secure your ladder.

  • Clear out loose debris and flush pipe with water.

  • Take the drain pipe apart to deal with stubborn blockages.

External drainage pipes help divert rainwater and prevent damage, and are a key part of your home’s plumbing system. But they can easily get clogged with leaves, moss, and mud, and pipe blockage can lead to problems. There’s no need to worry, though, as we’re here to show you how to unblock a drain pipe outside and avoid the situation getting worse.

Before you start dealing with your exterior pipe blockage, cover your drain with a piece of wood. That way you’ll stop the muck falling down and blocking your drain as well as your pipe!

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Potential problems with a blocked drainage pipe

Before we talk about how to unblock pipes, we need to cover the potential problems. There are many good reasons to clear drain pipes, but some of the most common issues with pipe blockage are:

  • Rain water not draining properly

  • Damage to pipes and the exterior of your home

  • Nasty smells as a result of blocked house drains

  • Saturated walls

  • Damp

How to unblock a drain pipe

Learning how to unblock a drain pipe outside has the potential to stop problems in their tracks and save you money in the process. Having said that, any time you feel like the pipe is difficult to get to or the job is beyond your reach, you should call a professional.

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If you can get to it safely, here’s how to unblock a drain pipe for yourself:

  1. Gather the tools you need to unblock drain pipe parts — gloves, ladder, bucket, water jet and brush or scrapers to loosen debris.

  2. Safely secure the ladder against your brickwork — don’t attempt to clear drain pipes on your own, someone should always be at the foot of your ladder.

  3. Remove leaves and loose particles from your gutters and the top of your downpipe.

  4. Flush the pipe with water.

  5. If flushing doesn’t work, it’s time to remove drain pipe parts, like the neck, and dig out the debris with a pole of some sort. A plumber’s snake works well. Don’t do the cleaning while on the ladder! Come down to the ground and take your time.

  6. Check all parts and areas surrounding your drain pipe for damage, put back together, and connect the system.

Working at a height carries safety risks, so if you’re in any doubt about whether you can reach the pipe safely, or the problems caused by your blocked drainage are more severe than you thought, you should always call a professional to unblock drain pipe parts.

As long as it’s safe and a fairly straightforward job, clearing a blocked drainage pipe isn’t that tricky. While you should always call a professional for challenging tasks, knowing how to unblock pipes yourself could save you hassle and money in the long run. So, carefully decide whether you can get the job done for yourself, and then clear those pipes!

Originally published