What to do if Your Outside Drain is Blocked

How to Manage a Blocked Outside Drain

A blocked external drain isn’t just a messy inconvenience; it can lead to bigger plumbing problems and potential property damage. If you notice any of these telltale signs, it’s time to take action:

  • Slow Draining – Water pools around the drain, sinks and showers take longer to empty.
  • Unpleasant Odours – Nasty smells near drains or even indoors.
  • Gurgling Sounds – You may hear odd noises coming from your pipework.
  • Overflowing Gutters – Water backs up when it should be flowing away.

Wondering what to do if your outside drain is blocked? Here’s where Drainflow, your trusted drain clearance specialists in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and North London, comes to the rescue with our helpful guide. There are a few things you can try to clear the blockage yourself.


Different Types of Outside Drain Blockages

Figuring out where the blockage originates – inside your home or a shared drain – is crucial. A quick chat with your neighbours can be helpful. If they’re also experiencing slow drainage, it might be a larger issue. Otherwise, let’s look at some common types of blockages you could be facing:

  • Blocked External Drain. This is often caused by a build-up of leaves, dirt, and other debris from around your property. Occasionally, items flushed down indoor drains (like coffee grounds or sanitary products) can contribute to the problem.
  • Blocked Outside Kitchen Drain. Unlike the main sewer line, the responsibility for clearing this blockage lies with you, the homeowner.
  • Smelly Drains Outside. That unpleasant smell is a sure sign something’s wrong. Investigate to discover what’s clogging your drains.
  • Outside Drain Overflowing. An overflowing drain is an unmistakable symptom of a blockage.

DIY Drain Unblocking Techniques: Your Guide

If you suspect a minor blockage in a drain that’s solely on your property, you can attempt some DIY solutions before calling in the experts. Always prioritise safety; if you have any doubts, call a trusted plumber or drainage professional like Drainflow for swift and effective drain clearance.

What You’ll Need:

  • Rubber gloves (heavy-duty ones are best).
  • Protective clothing and eyewear.
  • Drain rods.
  • Bucket or bin bags.
  • Face mask.
  • Tools or sturdy rope to lift the drain cover.
  • Garden hose (for flushing the drain afterwards).

Steps to Unblock Your Outside Drain

  1. Remove the Drain Cover. Use a screwdriver or suitable tools, taking care not to drop the heavy cover into the drain. If it’s particularly stubborn, use the rope to provide better leverage.
  2. Locate and Clear the Blockage. Put those gloves and face mask on! Remove as much of the blockage by hand as possible, disposing of debris responsibly in your bucket or bags.
  3. Utilize Your Drain Rods. Insert the rod and twist clockwise, applying firm pressure to break up the blockage. Persist until you sense the obstruction giving way.
  4. Flush the Drain. Once the blockage is cleared, use your garden hose to thoroughly flush the drain, removing any remaining debris.

Important Notes:

If standing water is present, remove as much as possible before clearing the blockage. A garden hose will still be effective with some water in the drain. If drainpipes are blocked, try simple methods first – boiling water, followed by a baking soda and vinegar solution. Leave to work for several hours before flushing.

When to Call Drainflow

If DIY methods fail, the blockage seems deep, or you face any of these scenarios, it’s time for professional help:

When to Call Drainflow

Drainflow’s skilled technicians have the tools and expertise to diagnose and fix even the most stubborn drain blockages, leaving you with peace of mind and a free-flowing drainage system.

Drainflow will normally use two approaches when an outside drain is blocked:

CCTV Drain Survey

A CCTV drain survey is a comprehensive assessment of your drainage system. A specialised camera is inserted into your drains, providing a real-time video feed that allows professionals to pinpoint any issues like cracks, blockages, or structural damage. This detailed inspection ensures accurate diagnosis and targeted solutions for any drainage problems.

Drain Jetting

Drain jetting is a powerful and eco-friendly method for clearing stubborn drain blockages. High-pressure water jets are directed into the pipes, effectively dislodging debris, grease, tree roots, and other obstructions. This restores optimal flow in your drainage system and helps prevent future blockages.

Preventing Future Drain Disasters: A Proactive Approach

Taking a few simple preventative measures can save you tons of hassle and potential expenses associated with blocked external drains. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

Understanding the Culprits

  • Nature’s Debris – Leaves, branches, soil, moss, and other wind-blown materials are frequent offenders.
  • Everyday Waste – Litter and other items carelessly discarded outdoors can easily find their way into your drains.
  • Indoor Habits – Even what you put down your kitchen sink or bathroom drains can contribute to outdoor blockages. Avoid pouring fats, oils, or coffee grounds down the drain, and never flush wet wipes, sanitary products, or excessive hair.

Proactive Solutions

  • Drain Covers. Simple mesh covers prevent larger debris from entering your drains.
  • Careful Disposal. Properly dispose of fats, oils, and other problematic substances.
  • Regular Cleaning. Periodically clear leaves and garden debris from around drain openings. A quick rinse with a garden hose can also work wonders.

Drainflow – Your Partner in Prevention

While these tips can make a big difference, sometimes a professional assessment is the best prevention. Drainflow can inspect your external drains, identify potential problem areas, and recommend tailored solutions to keep your drainage system flowing smoothly.


The Bottom Line: Your Drains, Your Peace of Mind

Dealing with a blocked outside drain can be a frustrating experience, but a combination of simple DIY techniques and preventative measures can go a long way. If the problem persists, or you’d simply prefer to leave it to the experts, that’s where Drainflow comes in. Our experienced team has the know-how and advanced equipment to tackle any drain blockage quickly and effectively.


Don’t let clogged drains disrupt your life! Whether you choose to apply some elbow grease yourself or call on Drainflow’s drain clearance specialists in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and North London, we’re here to help you regain free-flowing drains and worry-free plumbing.