Plumbing novices: Unblock a U-bend

Plumbing novices: Unblock a U-bend

Let’s picture the scene: you fill the sink, wash your dishes and pull the plug expecting the usual to happen. But this time it doesn’t. The water refuses to drain away and you are left with a rapidly cooling dirty sink full of water and the dreaded feeling that expensive plumbing bills are just a matter of time.

It might be tempting to deal with the issue by purchasing as many bottles of sink unblocker that you can carry and pouring the whole lot down the offending sink. But this is often a folly when it comes to plumbing as sink unblockers are very caustic, not good the environment and can actually damage your plumbing system.

What is a u-bend?

Blockages usually occur in the u-bend part of the pipework under the sink. The u-bend is designed to always have water inside it to work as a block for smells that come from the rest of the waste system. But it is also a great place for buildup of debris. You will have u-bends wherever you have waste water including your kitchen, bathroom and toilet waste systems.

How to unblock the u-bend

So the only option left is to do it yourself and you really can. Our step by step guide will make sure you complete this easy job without expense and further damage.

  1. The first step is to attempt to unblock the sink with a plunger. This might be enough and you can put your tools away. If not…
  2. Identify the u-bend under the sink. It is obviously u-shaped and has a set of threads at each end.
  3. Place a bucket under the u-bend and unscrew the first thread and wiggle it free.
  4. Undo the second thread and let any water within fall into the bucket.
  5. Check the inside of the U-bend for any blockages and clear them with a piece of flexible wire. You can also clean it with a bottle brush to get it really clean.
  6. You should check the threads of the pipe to ensure it is still good and add some waterproof tape to the thread to ensure a good fit as you screw it back into pace.
  7. Do not over-tighten as the pipe could crack.
  8. Run the water and make sure it now runs free.

This easy job is ideal for a starter project for DIYers and will save you at least £80 in call-out fees for your plumber. Sounds like the perfect combination to us.