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How to rod a drain

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If you are unfortunate enough to find you have a blocked drain, read our simple guide to locating the blockage and clearing the obstruction to allow your drains to work effectively once more.

How will I know if my drains are blocked?

Wonkee Donkee Blocked Manhole will require rodding using drain rods You will know if your drain is blocked because waste water will not drain, toilet water will not flush away and drain manhole covers may start to overflow – or you may be able to smell the problem!

Locating the blockage

Wonkee Donkee Removing Manhole Cover prior to rodding the drain

Step 1 – Lift manhole cover

First, lift the drain or manhole cover nearest to your house, using either a manhole key, or an appropriate lifting tool.  Shop for manhole keys

Wonkee Donkee Empty Drain Chamber indicating the blockage is further up the pipe

Step 2 – Check chamber is empty

If the chamber is empty, the blockage is somewhere further back towards the soil pipe at the house.

Wonkee Donkee Blocked Drain Chamber indicating the drain back to the house is blocked

Step 3 – Locate blockage

If there is water in the manhole chamber, the blockage is either located further down the pipe towards the mains sewer or in the inspection chamber itself.

Clearing the blockage

Wonkee Donkee Plunger Attached to Rods ready to remove blockage from the drain

Step 1 – Connect rods together

Connect the first two drain rods together, and screw the plunger tool onto the end of the rods.

Wonkee Donkee advises using a spanner to tighten the joint to prevent it from coming apart.

Wonkee Donkee Rod inside Drain being used to remove a blockage

Step 2 – Insert plunger

Insert the plunger into the blocked pipe from the empty chamber.

Keep adding drain rods as you go until you feel the blockage, turning the rods in a clockwise direction.

Wonkee Donkee Always remember to turn the rods clockwise when rodding a drain Remember, if your rods have universal joints, you must only turn the rods in a clockwise direction to avoid unscrewing the rods.
Wonkee Donkee Double Worm Screw often used when removing blockages from a drain

Step 3 – Push and pull rods

Push and pull until you feel the blockage start to give way. If it won’t, then remove the rods and try a double worm screw tool instead of the plunger, repeating the process.

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Wonkee Donkee Manhole Lid Fitted after the drain has had the blockage removed

Step 4 – Replace manhole

Once you are sure you have cleared the blockage, don’t forget to fit the manhole lid back in place.

 Wonkee Donkee on greasing

Interceptor chambers

Wonkee Donkee Interceptor Trap requires a different approach when rodding drains In older properties, you may have what is called an interceptor chamber, and clearing one of these is a little more tricky. They are usually housed in rectangular manholes with brick sides.

Interceptor chambers are generally the last chamber before the drain meets the main sewer. The lower pipe is essentially a U-bend, which, like that in a toilet, remains filled with water to stop smells coming back up from the sewer. The higher pipe usually has a lid on and is only used to empty the manhole if the U-bend is blocked.

Wonkee Donkee Interceptor Trap Parts of a drain which should be periodically rodded Using the drain rods, find the cover on the higher pipe (it sometimes has a chain on it), then pull the lid from the pipe. You will see all the waste drain from the manhole.

Once it is clear, you should unblock the bottom drain with the u-bend using the drain rods, then replace the cover of the top part of the interceptor drain.

Wonkee Donkee Manhole Lid Fitted after a drain has been rodded to remove any blockages Once you are sure you have cleared the blockage, don’t forget to fit the manhole lid back in place.

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