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Unblocking a Down Pipe Australian Method

Enquiries for gutter cleaning on the Foreverclean website are usually triggered by large rain events across Australia. Usually the customer is in a panic to get it done before the next stage of the storm hits. I thought it would be a great help to give some advice on our homepage to assist desperate customers who need to get a down pipe unblocked as soon as possible and as cheap as possible. Please be aware that working from a roof or on a ladder is extremely dangerous, never follow the instructions below without having someone to help or at least watch out for you. Never carry heavy materials up a ladder and be aware of the surface where your ladder is set up. Is it flat? Is it slippery? Do I have to set up the ladder on the grass or is there a better place to set the ladder up. Take it easy and slowly and you will increase your chances of *not* falling from the roof or ladder. You will need a garden hose, a ladder high enough to reach the top of the down pipe, a pair of gloves and a wire coat hanger(only if you have one, the down pipe can be unblocked without it , but it can aid in breaking up the material stuck in the down pipe). Setting up the ladder, find the safest place to set up your ladder. If you ladder is an extension ladder, use a ladder strap, octopus strap or some rope to tie the ladder around the down pipe (at the top end of the ladder) to help aid against the ladder rocking left or right whilst you ascend later on. Next you need to prepare the hose for the flush. Remove any spray or sprinkler attachments from the end that you will be putting down the upper mouth of the down pipe. Next remove any connecter on the hose on the end going down the down pipe so that you just have a "naked" hose. Climb up the ladder with the naked end of the hose and your coat hanger to the entry point to the down pipe. You need to firstly try and get as much debris out of the entry point to the down pipe as you can safely. Sometimes this is difficult because you can't get your hand underneath the tile or it's near a corner. If that is the case then use the coat hanger to push the debris through the first bend in the down pipe. If you do not have a coat hanger you can actually use the naked hose to push the debris through the first bend. After trying multiple angle you will see that the hose and coat hanger can mould itself to get around that first bend in the down pipe. If you are working from a ladder and are close enough to the down pipe to give it a generous few punches with your hand, then hit the down pipe a few times on the *under side* of the first bend. This will help to move the loosened debris to the next bend and will make it easier to wash down when you switch on the hose. Obviously don't hit it so hard test the down pipe becomes disconnected or damaged in any way. Spend a good five minutes loosening the debris with either the naked hose or the coat hanger and keep encouraging it along to the next bend in the down pipe by hitting the under side of the pipe itself. After 5 minutes of this, ask your companion to switch on the hose and wash the debris out of the down pipe. If the water starts to overflow from the top of the down pipe, then you have been unsuccessful in removing the blockage. In this case switch off the water and repeat the process of trying to loosen the debris stuck in the bend until you hear it either "Wooosh" down with the water or you hear the debris falling down the pipe. If the entire down pipe fills up with water and it is not hollow at the base of the pipe, then unfortunately you have a blockage in the pipe leading to the storm water. This could be because of a random tree root or some other blockage and you would unfortunately need to call a plumber to rectify this blockage.

Alternative Down Pipe Clearing Method Without Using Running Water

It is possible to unblock a down pipe without using a hose with running water, in this paragraph I will teach you this alternative method incase you don't have a hose length long enough to reach you downpipe.
Equipment required:
A hose not connected to the tap with all connectors and accessories removed from it, ie: a naked hose.
BBQ Thongs with a (closed position) width not exceeding half the size of your down pipe entry point.
Wire Coat Hanger.
1.25l or above bottle filled with water.
Again, please ensure your work area is safe from all hazards and keep in mind that working from a ladder or on a roof is dangerous. Now climb up your ladder to the affected down pipe top entry point with all your required tools in a bucket. Firstly use your bbq thongs to pick out as much debris from the top of the downpipe as you can. Sometimes this can be difficult if the roof is blocking your access. If your access is blocked by the roof, you can persist with this method, but it is recommended to use the previous running tap water method for quicker results. If your access is blocked by a tile roof, see if you can push the tile back or remove the roof tile that is blocking your access to the top of the pipe. Once you have removed as much debris from the entry to the downpipe using your bbq thongs, you now must try to loosen the debris stuck in the next bend. Too loosten the debris stuck in the bend of the down pipe, use your wire coat hanger to penetrate through the blockage and jingle it around in a circular motion to disrupt the debris as best you can. If you are working from a ladder you can also bang the downpipe with the lower part of your palm relatively hard with the aim of trying to encourage the loosened debris to move further down the first bend. Listen closely for the sound of debris falling down the down pipe. Once you have spent about 1 minute loosening up the debris in the first bend of the down pipe, thread the naked hose through the bend as best you can by changing angles to encourage the hose to navigate through the bend. Again listen for the sound of falling debris, this is a good sound! After spending about a minute threading the hose through the downpipe bend and bring it back up again and repeating, pour your bottle of water into the downpipe and listen if the water is flushing the debris through the system. If the water is coming back up to the top of the downpipe or draining very slowly through, repeat the whole process again from start to finish until you hear the debris rushing down the downipe.

How to Unblock Very Stubborn Blockages in a Down Pipe Australian Method

So you have tried both of my down pipe unblocking methods and it's just not working. Not to worry I do have some more tricks up my sleeve that can help you get rid of your blockage in the down pipe. Unfortunately this will require you to have a bit of basic equipment, so please gather the following and let's get started:
Metal Snips.
Drill with bit (bit that can make a nice wide hole to help with your first cut into the down pipe).
A piece of Metal to replace the square of metal you are about to cut out.( * Not compulsory * )
Naked hose.
Coat Hanger.
Be willing to cut a hole in your down pipe!
With these basic tools you can make a pretty neat cut in the downpipe in the area where your blockage is originating from. Obviously if you possess better tools for a square cut into the downpipe feels free to use those tools. Firstly you need to determine where your blockage is orginiating from. This is usually best determined by running water into the down pipe from the top until it starts to overflow. Switch off the water once it starts to overflow from the top of the down pipe. Now tap opn the down pipe and listen closes to determine whether the sound is a hollow sound or a blocked sound. Your blockage will originate from the area where hollow sound meets blocked sound. Now drill holes into the downpipe to assist in making a horizontal cut into the downpipe, it is adived to make these first holes just below the area where the blockage exists. If you make the hole anywhere above the blockage (which sometimes is the only option) be prepared for water to come squirting out at you! After you have drilled about 4 - 6 holes along a straight horizontal line across your downpipe, use your metal snips to cut a neat horizontal cut across the downpipe. Now drill vertical holes to make your verticle cuts , etc etc. Your hole should be big enough to allow you to pull out any debris from the down pipe using the tools you have. The optimum size for the hole would be one wide enough to fit three to four fingers inside to dig rubbish out. Now that you have cut your hole, use your equipment to disrupt the blockage and use your hand to pull out the debris piece by piece. Now that you have cleared your blockage, you can screw or rivet a new piece of metal over the hole you cut in the down pipe. If you do not have a piece of metal to put over your hole, you could silicone the cut piece back onto the area (not recommended :) ). If you hole can be exposed to leaf litter or other debris it is advised to cover it up.

Blockages in your Storm Water Drain

If your down pipe is blocked and when it is full of water it does not sound hollow right at the base of the down pipe, then unfortunately you have a blockage in your storm water drain. This you should call a professional to clear out as it could be a complicated problem to rectify. Storm water drains are most commonly blocked by tree roots, do you know how far gum tree roots extend? The tree roots occupy 4 -7 times the surface area of the crown of the tree, so it's highly likely that they are going to distrub the storm water system. Usually problematic storm water drains are the older ones that are made of clay or similar type of material. They are very easily broken and once that happens then the tree root system will penetrate the stormwater. Please not that this would potentially be quite an expensive fix.
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How to Protect your Down Pipe from Blocking in Australia
The best way to protect your down pipe from blocking is to install a Gutter Guard. The Gutter Guard will prevent leaves and debris getting into your gutters and therefore will ensure your downpipes are kept unblocked. Gutter Guard is not cheap, so if you are on a tight budget there are some cheap alternatives that can cause problems if your gutters are poorly maintained.
How to Unblock a Downpipe Without Expensive Tools
Enquiries for gutter cleaning on the Foreverclean website are usually triggered by large rain events across Australia. Usually the customer is in a panic to get it done before the next stage of the storm hits. I thought it would be a great help to give some advice on our homepage to assist desperate customers who need to get a down pipe unblocked as soon as possible and as cheap as possible. Please be aware that working from a roof or on a ladder is extremely dangerous, never follow the instructions below without having someone to help or at least watch out for you. Never carry heavy materials up a ladder and be aware of the surface where your ladder is set up. Is it flat? Is it slippery? Do I have to set up the ladder on the grass or is there a better place to set the ladder up. Take it easy and slowly and you will increase your chances of *not* falling from the roof or ladder. You will need a garden hose, a ladder high enough to reach the top of the down pipe, a pair of gloves and a wire coat hanger(only if you have one, the down pipe can be unblocked without it , but it can aid in breaking up the material stuck in the down pipe). Setting up the ladder, find the safest place to set up your ladder. If you ladder is an extension ladder, use a ladder strap, octopus strap or some rope to tie the ladder around the down pipe (at the top end of the ladder) to help aid against the ladder rocking left or right whilst you ascend later on. Next you need to prepare the hose for the flush. Remove any spray or sprinkler attachments from the end that you will be putting down the upper mouth of the down pipe. Next remove any connecter on the hose on the end going down the down pipe so that you just have a "naked" hose. Climb up the ladder with the naked end of the hose and your coat hanger to the entry point to the down pipe. You need to firstly try and get as much debris out of the entry point to the down pipe as you can safely. Sometimes this is difficult because you can't get your hand underneath the tile or it's near a corner. If that is the case then use the coat hanger to push the debris through the first bend in the down pipe. If you do not have a coat hanger you can actually use the naked hose to push the debris through the first bend. After trying multiple angle you will see that the hose and coat hanger can mould itself to get around that first bend in the down pipe. If you are working from a ladder and are close enough to the down pipe to give it a generous few punches with your hand, then hit the down pipe a few times on the *under side* of the first bend. This will help to move the loosened debris to the next bend and will make it easier to wash down when you switch on the hose. Obviously don't hit it so hard test the down pipe becomes disconnected or damaged in any way. Spend a good five minutes loosening the debris with either the naked hose or the coat hanger and keep encouraging it along to the next bend in the down pipe by hitting the under side of the pipe itself. After 5 minutes of this, ask your companion to switch on the hose and wash the debris out of the down pipe. If the water starts to overflow from the top of the down pipe, then you have been unsuccessful in removing the blockage. In this case switch off the water and repeat the process of trying to loosen the debris stuck in the bend until you hear it either "Wooosh" down with the water or you hear the debris falling down the pipe. If the entire down pipe fills up with water and it is not hollow at the base of the pipe, then unfortunately you have a blockage in the pipe leading to the storm water. This could be because of a random tree root or some other blockage and you would unfortunately need to call a plumber to rectify this blockage.
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