Home Improvement

Why is Your Outside Drain Blocked And How to Fix it

One of the most unpleasant situations for a homeowner is to find out that they have a blocked drain. A blocked drain stunts the normal function of every house produces a nasty smell and very often the process of unclogging it involves getting your hands dirty.

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You might be careful about blocking your bathroom or kitchen drain, however, your outside drain can get clogged as well. But, fret not! The Fantastic Services team is here to save the day! In this article, we are going to tell you exactly why your outside drain got blocked and how to fix the issue.  

This article is for all of you who:

  • Have a blocked outside drain;
  • Want to fix it themselves;
  • Are looking for prevention tips.

Why is my outside drain blocked?

The more you leave a blocked drain unattended, the more possible it becomes to back up wastewater or move the blockage further into the drain pipe and cause a whole slew of other problems. Act before this happens. Here are a few reasons why your outside drain gets blocked:

Outside drain blocked with mud

The most common reason for a blocked outside drain is when soil, leaves, branches, moss and other outdoor debris get in it. With time, they accumulate and rainwater turns them into mud. Give it enough time and before you know it, there will be a blockage. The good news is, mud is one of the easy blockages. You can even clear it up manually.

Outside drain blocked with silt

Silt is a mineral sediment that is possible to block the drain when given enough time. Pipes will inevitably accumulate scale over time, usually from mineral deposits like silt, calcium and magnesium. When it mixes with outdoor debris and reacts with the changing temperature outside, you have yourself a clog.

Outside drain blocked with toilet paper

Yes, it is possible for toilet paper to be the reason for a blocked drain outside. Though experience has proven that it’s not just toilet paper that causes these types of clogs. It can also include wet wipes (despite saying “flushable” on the package), grease and oil and other foreign objects. A clog from the kitchen and bathroom can get dislocated and have an effect on the outside drain.

Other reasons for a blocked outside drain can be an ice blockage after a heavy snowstorm, or a sudden drop of temperatures. Even tree roots are able to distort underground piping and block the drain.

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How to clear a blocked drain outside

So how do you get rid of this dirty, smelly problem that’s making your day miserable? Well, it’s not going to be a pleasant task, so prepare yourself.

  • Gather your tools. You’ll need rubber gloves and a plastic bag since you’ll have to empty the drain manually. You will also need drain rods, bleach, a garden hose and if all else fails, a commercial drain unblocker.
  • Remove the drain cover. Depending on the type of your drain cover, you might need a screwdriver, or a rope to pick it up. But you’ll have to remove it, so you can take a look at what’s happening inside.
  • Manually empty the drain. If the drain chamber is filled with water, then the blockage should be somewhere after the chamber. If it’s empty, however, the blockage should be before it. To get to the blockage, you’ll have to manually empty the wastewater. If instead of water, you have mud, gather it in the plastic bag. And of course, have your rubber gloves on.
  • Use the drain rods. Plunge the rods into the drain chamber and keep going until you feel the blockage. Rotate the rods slowly in a clockwise direction and push forward. Never rotate in the other way around, as this could unscrew the drain’s plunger attachment. Continue until you feel you’ve dislodged the blockage.
  • Clean up the drain. Once you’ve unblocked the drain, pour some bleach in it (or a commercial drain unblocker) and use a garden hose to wash away any other dirt and debris.

How to prevent a future clogging

Prevention is the best medicine, and this is especially true for your drains. To prevent clogging in your outside drain, you should:

  • Clean around it on a daily basis. This goes especially for the fall season when leaves, shrubs and tree branches scatter all over the ground.
  • Change the cover to a finer grate. This way outdoor debris will have a harder time getting into the drain. Just make sure it’s not too fine, so it doesn’t restrict the flow of water.
  • Investigate your tree roots yearly. For this, you’ll need a drain camera and a cleaning machine. Tree roots blocking the drains is rare but possible.
  • Keep your house drains clean. Do not flush wet wipes, leftover food or any other foreign object in the toilet or kitchen sink. It can cause an awful overflow in your outside drain.

Is your outside drain blocked? Why not hire a professional to fix it?

So, why is your outside drain blocked? Did you find the reason? Did you manage to unclog it? If all of this didn’t work in your situation, or if you just prefer not to get your hands dirty, you can always give a call to a professional.

The Fantastic Services team employs reliable plumbers that will aid you in your piping troubles, so you can focus on important things and pleasant tasks! Upon request, you can ask for maintenance tips that will extend the longevity of your plumbing and make sure you don’t repeat the unpleasant situation ever again.

Visit the main website for price rates for our professional plumbers!


  • The outside drain most often gets blocked by outdoor debris, usually around the fall season;
  • To clear a blocked outside drain, you’ll have to empty it manually and then use drain rods to dislodge the blockage;
  • Preventing the accumulation of debris around the outside drain is the best way to avoid future blockage.


Do you have a blocked drain outside the house? Have you tried to unclog it yourself? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!

Image source: John Borda/shutterstock.com

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