How to Unblock Pipes
All baths, basins and sinks should have a grid over the waste outlet to stop solids which could block the trap or waste pipe below. But small solids- for example tea leaves, hairs and vegetable scrapings- can pass the grid and trap and block the sink.
If possible, do not empty tea leaves into the sink. Always run hot water after pouring hot fat down the sink, to ensure that the fat cannot solidify in the bend of the trap. Never put disposable nappies down a lavatory pan.
Although soluble, they can cause blockages. Clean out the trap under a sink regularly by running washing soda and very hot water down it.
These blockages are perhaps the most frequent and difficult problems that face a householder.
In many areas it is against the regulations to interfere with the plumbing. Before attempting any such work, call the local health or building authority for advice.
When a serious blockage occurs (such as a blocked toilet or an overflow in the kitchen) call a plumber and tell him it is an emergency.
Blockages are mostly caused by allowing insoluble or unsuitable materials to be washed down the drain (e.g., plastic, wire, string, cloth, thick grease, kitchen refuse).
Outdoor drains and sewers are subject to blockage by tree roots which can penetrate hair-line cracks. This is a job for a licensed drainer. If a drain shows signs of running. away more slowly than usual, take steps to clear it immediately, before the blockage becomes complete.
While major plumbing jobs contravene regulations, there is much that can be done to remove minor or incipient blockages. Hot water with plenty of washing soda is useful to break a build-up of congealed grease. It will probably be necessary to siphon out the cold water with a plastic tube to allow the hot water and soda to get at the seat of the trouble. In addition, the judicious use of a plunger and a flexible spring curtain wire will often dislodge some kitchen sink blockages. It may be necessary to have the U-shaped trap below the sink undone. Any blockage below this point is a plumber's job. He has special tools to deal with it. Do not attempt any job that contravenes health or building regulations.
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