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  • Cost to Clean and Unclog Drains

    Tips and prices for unblocking drains

    The average cost of unblocking a drain is around

    you can expect this type of job to take roughly 1-2 hours.

    £100

    Blocked drains are not usually noticed until they start causing problems such as the toilet not flushing properly or the sink starts overflowing. But sometimes you also get an early warning sign of blocked drains by way of a nasty smell! Basic drain unclogging usually involves rodding to remove the blockage, followed by a good power flush through the system, though there are DIY options for less serious blockages. Drains usually get blocked due to a build-up of fat, oil, grease and soap - though the resulting gunge blocking the drain will often also contain dirt, leaves and hair! If you do notice a bad smell coming up through the drains, it is important that you tackle the problem sooner rather than later, procrastination will likely end up costing a lot more money as the problem will just get much worse over time. If dealt with at an early stage, sometimes a cheap plunger on the drain will be enough to clear the blockage, but if left to long, a professional will be required and will probably have a minimum charge of £50-£75. To quickly find reliable and trustworthy tradesmen to clean or unclog your drains, use the free service on this website to have up to 3 specialists get in touch with you to provide written quotations and further advice.

    Typical drain unblocking prices

    Job Description Duration Material Cost Labour Cost
    Straightforward unblocking a bath or sink 0.5 hours £0 £50
    Unclogging a toilet 0.5 hours £0 £60
    Water jetting with high pressure for more serious blockages 1 hour £0 £100
    Complete system clean out using rods and high-pressure water jets 1-2 hours £0 £200

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    Things to consider about unclogging drains

    Drain blockages are not always caused by fats, soap and other substances which have been flushed or poured down the plugholes, they can become blocked by structural defects, subsidence or even growing tree roots over time which can partially collapse the pipe. But whatever the cause of the blockage, blocked drains can be serious, much more than a nuisance or a bad smell – they can eventually lead to an overflowing toilet if nothing is done! Without a doubt, the best way to deal with blocked drains is to prevent them becoming blocked in the first place! Be careful about what you put down the drains, as things like cooking grease, hair and soap are well known for causing drain blockages. Grease or oil is probably the number one substance for blocking drains, so dispose of cooking oils etc in the bin and always use a screen or grate to cover the drain opening. Regular cleaning of the drain using a handful of baking soda will also help them to keep running freely, some people also swear by pouring a cup of vinegar down the drain and letting it sit for some time before flushing with very hot water.

    When dealing with drainage companies be very wary of the hard sell. Some companies will try to sell additional services that are really not required in most instances, such as remote CCTV inspections. Digging up the drains is also very rarely needed except where the drain has completely collapsed. Think twice about paying a contractor huge sums of money without clear evidence the work is required. Cleaning drains is not rocket science, but thee area few things that can go wrong. The most common issue by far is for the drain cleaning rods to become detached and get stuck in the drain causing a further blockage! If a contractor does this, then it will be up to them to rectify the problem and you should not have to pay any extra, however, if you are cleaning the drains yourself and this happens, then you potentially have some major expensive problems on your hands! The main cause of rods becoming detached is they simply unthread themselves during all that thrashing about in the drain trying to unblock them. There are a number of ways to remove drain rods without the expense of excavating the drain, but these are best left to the professionals as most will require specialised knowledge and equipment.

    Doing it Yourself

    Cleaning house drains is not only a dirty and difficult job, it can be more complicated than you would think! Cleaning drains is one of those jobs that looks really simple at first sight, especially if you have ever watched a professional do it, but first impressions can be deceiving. Cleaning drains is not always such an easy and simple job as you would think. But whether complicated or simple, drain cleaning is always smelly and repulsive! All that being said, minor blockages to your ink, bath or shower tray can be relatively easy to fix using over the counter cleaning chemicals and simple tools such as a plunger. An ordinary plunger should be used before trying anything else, simply place it over the plug hole and start pushing up and down on the handle to creates a force in both directions. A power plunger is the next step up in the drain blockage arms race.

    Power plungers use compressed air and are pumped up using the handle then placed over the plug hole where all the compressed air is released by pressing the trigger, forcing any debris down the pipe or breaking it into smaller bits. But for any serious blockage, it is likely that drain rods will be required. These rods come in lengths of one meter and are screwed together to make a longer yet flexible length that can be inserted into the drain pipe and the blockage can then be pushed into the run. Drain rods have various interchangeable fittings on the end which can make the removal of blockages easier. If you cannot move the blockage with drain rods, or worse you end up blocking the drain with unscrewed rods, then it is time to call in the professionals. In fact, most people will call in the experts if a plunger does not do the trick – unblocking smelly and gungy drains is not most peoples idea of a fun DIY project!

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    Cleaning Drains Checklist

    • Unblocking drains can be a relatively easy but dirty job
    • The first sign of a blocked drain may be the failure of water to drain away quickly
    • Many drains can be unblocked just with an ordinary plunger
    • Always wear sturdy rubber gloves when working with drains

    Hiring a Tradesman Checklist

    • Always get at least 2 quotes before hiring.
    • Never pay the full amount upfront.
    • Get the quote in writing.
    • For any payment you make, always get a receipt.
    • On more expensive jobs, ask for references.
    • Check if the tradesman is a member of any trades associations.
    • Make sure the tradesman has public liability insurance.

    FAQ's

    Who is responsible for blocked drains and sewers?
    Finding out who is responsible for blocked drains can be difficult. But in most cases, homeowners and occupiers are responsible for their drains right up to the property boundary. Drains and sewers outside of the property boundary are the responsibility of the local authority or waste and sewerage companies, so you should contact your local water company if you have drain problems outside your property.
    What is the difference between drains and sewers?
    A drain is a single pipe which transports sewerage from your property, the sewer is the pipe that takes sewage and wastewater from a number of drains.
    How do I know if my drains are blocked?
    If your drain is blocked the first signs are usually your wastewater will stop draining away quickly when you flush the toilet or empty the sink or bath. Other signs could be bad smells or the gullies outside overflowing. If none of your neighbours are having the same problems then it is likely that it is your drain that is blocked rather than the main sewer.
    What shall I do if my drains are blocked?
    Responsibility for the clearance of blockages in private drains usually lies with the property owner. If you are the property owner you should first check to see if you are covered by your house insurance. If you cannot clear the blockage by yourself, you need to contact a specialist drainage company or local plumber to clear the drain blockage and carry out any repairs if necessary.

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