How to Unblock a Drain Pipe Outside

Unblocking clogged drains can be daunting. Blocked drain pipes create backlogs of waste which often lead to unpleasant smells. More often than not, you will experience blockages in the narrow piping system of your homes such as the sink, shower, bathtub, or toilets.

Besides, waste can also build up in your outside drains to cause clogging. Although clogging of your outside drains can seem like a dreadful scenario, it isn’t. Outside drain pipes are often connected to your home plumbing system. So once there are blocked, you will feel the results in the rest of your home.

For instance, you will have a spillover of sewer waste into your yard, which is not a good thing. Equally, your kitchen, bathroom, laundry sink, toilet, and other internal drains will be affected.

Fortunately, you can take steps to unblock the external drain and get your plumbing system back in excellent working condition. So, if you are looking at how to unblock a drain pipe outside, we are here to explain. Read on to find out!

What Causes Blockage of Outside Drain?

Outdoor drains are not immune to clogging. Mud, dirt, leaves, and heavy rainstorms can prove too much for your outside drains to handle thus blocking.

Also, the blockage can emanate from an obstruction in the sink caused by grease, oil, waste food, toilet paper, or any item that can become stuck. Over time, your drain lines may become so jammed that they will disrupt normal water flow in your drains.

Tree roots can also be the biggest perpetrator. Plants and their roots thrive in wet and moist places. Even if there is the smallest split or crack in your outside drain, roots will find their way into the drain and grow bigger inside to cause blockages. Moreover, once tree roots anchor themselves in your drains, they will grow big and weaken or crush your external drain pipes.

How to Unblock a Drain Pipe Outside: DIY Fix

In this section, we look at various steps you can take to unblock your blocked drain, as long as it is a minor issuer and the drain is not a shared one. However, if you are in doubts about the whole unblocking process, call in a professional plumber who will come with the right tools for the job. So, do not attempt anything if you are unsure.

Preparation: Things You Need

  • Protective clothing
  • Rubber gloves
  • Face mask
  • Goggles
  • Drain rod – a bigger version of a plumber’s auger
  • Screwdriver or rope – for lifting the drain cover
  • Pressure hose – for cleaning the drain afterward
  • Bucket /bin bags

Steps to Unclog your Outdoor Drain

Step 1: Assess the Blockage Problem

Access your outside drainage by opening the drain covers or by whatever means you can. Opening the drain covers may require the use of a screwdriver, although this is not common. Once you have opened your drain, inspect the issues. For instances:

  • Is the blockage near the surface or is it deeply located?
  • Does it look like a simple job, or appear to be a tough job?

After you have assessed the blockage and you think you can manage to unblock it yourself, move to the next step. However, if the problem appears to be way more challenging than you expected, I recommend you stop handling it yourself and step six.

Step 2: Get Appropriate Tools for the Job

Unblocking a drain requires a few tools. However, the most critical tool for the job is the drain rod. A drainage rod is long, thin, flexible, and made with steel joints. This too will enable you to push through the drain blockages in your drain and reach deep into the external systems. Besides, it is cheap and easily available in any local hardware store, therefore, don’t try to unblock your outdoor drain without it.

You will also want to put on some protective clothing. As we mentioned above, wear your waterproof long-sleeve gloves, mask to protect your mouth, and goggles for protecting your eyes. Protective gear is crucial since the splatter from your drain can contain nasty sewage bacteria, which may harm you if you come into contact with it. It may possibly cause infection or illness.

Equally, get your bucket and hose ready, possibly a garden hose if you can acquire one.

Step 3: Remove any Blockages You Can Reach

Stretch your arm into the drain and take out some of the clogging material that you can reach. Besides, you will have a better chance of shifting the materials blocking your drain and making it easier for you to use the drain rod for simple debris removal.

Without a doubt, it sounds like a horrible job, because it is. However, it is worth the trouble. So, grab your bucket, place it by the drain and dig it in. carry out every piece of blockage material you can. The more materials your remove, the easier it will be in your next step.

Step 4: Clear the Clog

Using the drainage rod, try to flush out the clogging material. Ideally, the drain rod insert should slide through the sludge, so might be required to apply some bit of pressure. Move the rod up and down and sideways to break the blockage as much as possible.

This might take some time if the buildup is large and stubborn, so keep on plunging until you feel easy it is easy to mode the drainage rod. Eventually, it will start to drain and dissipate.

When using the drainage rod, always twist it clockwise. If you twist it anti-clockwise, you may find a tough blockage that may result in unscrewing the joints of your drain rods.

Step 5: Clean Up the Extra Debris

Once you are done with removing the bid clogs and water is flowing through the drain again, it is best now to spend time ensuring that the other debris doesn’t accumulate to create a blockage again. So, using your pressure hose, clear away any remaining debris that has built up around the drain.

With the high-pressure water, you will dislodge the remaining elements of the clog that you loosened with your drainage rod. The cleaner you get your outdoor drain, the longer it will be until you need to clean it again.

Step 6: How to Unclog a Blocked Outside Drain the Won’t Clear? Call in Professional Plumbers

Outside drainage problems tend to be more complicated than the usual sink blockage. Although some can be handled through DIY techniques, these techniques are not always effective.

So, if you have tried to unblock your outside drain with no success, I recommend that you stop and call a drainage expert to unblock drains. Otherwise, you may end up damaging your drain if you apply extreme techniques and make the blockage even worse.

How to Prevent a Future Outdoor Drain Blockage

Now that your outdoor drain has been unblocked, there is a need to take steps to prevent future blockages to your drain. Here are a few tips:

Do not allow grease to find its way into the sink. Alternatively, pop it in some kitchen towel and place it in the kitchen bin. Do the same for food, soap scum, hair, and other common debris causing clogging in outside drains.

Cover the opening of your outside drain with a drain gate or screen. That way, you reduce blockage problems with grease, soap scum, and waste food.

Clean your inside and outside drains regularly and rinse them with water and (or) bleach if need be. Running hot water through your sinks after use as well as keeping your plastic bag bin close for discarding any waste food can help reduce clogging of your drains.

If your children want to help with washing up, an adult should accompany them so that they don’t drop waste food or grease into the drain.


Q: Who is responsible for drains on your property?

A: All inside drains on your property and those immediately outside such as kitchen drains are your responsibility as a homeowner. However, if it is an outdoor shared drain, you can find out from your local water/sewerage company whose responsibility they are.

Q: Who is responsible for blocked road drains?

A: Blocked road drains outside your homes are the responsibility of your local authority or your local water/sewerage company. Your responsibility for drains only extends to the boundary of your driveway or garden.

Q: How much will it cost to unblock an outdoor drain?

A: The cost of unblocking your outside drain will vary depending on the type of blockage, the deep it is located in your drain, and the method or equipment required to unblock it. Ideally, you can unblock the drains by yourself by following the steps above. However, professional drain cleaning costs will range between $150 and $800.


How to unblock a drain pipe outside? We have simplified it for you! All these steps and tips are aimed at ensuring your outdoor drain is clean, fresh, and dirt-free. Keep in mind that if the blockage gets out of hand and your drain is completely blocked, act fast.

Letting the drain blocked stay will only worsen by continuing to build up. So, if you can’t unblock your blocked external drains by yourself, call professional plumbers. They will fix the blockage efficiently and leave you concerned with the simple tasks around your home.

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