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Fixing a Clogged Manhole

By 8 January 2020Winnipeg plumbers

Here’s the situation: You’re doing dishes and you notice the water is draining from your sink pretty slowly. You try to unclog the drain, but you notice there’s no blockage. You go to the washroom and when you flush the toilet, you know it’s definitely flushing slowly. Same slowness with the bathroom sink drain. You realize that you probably have a problem with a central feature of your plumbing system. You head to your yard, lift the manhole cover and notice that it’s completely blocked. What do you do?


The first thing you should know is what not to do. You should not go into the manhole. That should be obvious with all of the waste blocking the area, but if for some reason it isn’t – going down into those things can be very dangerous, even if you’re wearing protective gear. Another quick note: this guide isn’t for manholes that you think might be clogged on the streets of Winnipeg. The city’s manholes look like this; don’t touch those! 


You’ll need supplies. Start by getting protective clothing – that includes gloves, goggles, and outerwear that’s as close to a hazmat suit as you can get. You’ll also need a hose or pressure washer. Finally, the most important piece of the puzzle is a tool called a drain rod. Drain rods are strong, flexible metal rods that get attached to heads that you can move down the manhole in order to find the blockage. You have to rotate the rods clockwise to move them forward. You can stack rods to increase the length of the tool. Keep rotating and adding rods until you find the blockage. 


Once you find the blockage, it’s all about moving the rods around until it becomes unclogged. You’ll be able to tell because you’ll feel the change and liquid will start to flow again. When everything’s unblocked, remove the rods by pulling them towards you while rotating them clockwise. Here’s where the hose or pressure washer comes in handy – you’ll want to wash all of the sludge off the rods so they can continue to connect to each other should you need to use them again.


Now that everything is clear, check your fixtures again to make sure they’re flowing properly. Another thing you might consider: why did the clog occur in the first place? Perhaps it was roots that grew into your system or maybe there’s an additional problem with your drainage system. You may want to call a plumber to investigate.

When your drains are still slow or you can’t find the blockage, give us a call. We offer industrial plumbing in Winnipeg and drain cleaning services so we’ll be able to find the problem and clear it out, no matter what’s clogging your drains.

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