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How to tell if your drainage gullies are blocked (and how to clear them)

Think your drainage gullies might be blocked? Here’s how to tell and what you can do to fix it.

Drainage gullies are a vital part of your home’s drainage system.

They’re designed to divert rainwater and grey waste (the water that comes from your kitchen, utility room, and bathroom) away from your property, which helps to avoid flooding and any subsequent damage to your home.

So, as you can probably imagine, when they’re blocked, they can be a bit of a nightmare.

But how can you tell if your drainage gullies are blocked, and how can you clear the blockage?

Our experts here at Total Pipeline Systems share some of their top tips in this article.

So, how can I tell if my gully traps are blocked?

Two of the biggest red flags that there’s a blockage somewhere in your drainage gully pipes are slow-draining water from your sinks, baths, and toilets, or overflowing water.

Blockages occur more easily than you might think, and most times, they’re caused by leaves and other debris that have fallen into the trap.

However, they can also happen as a result of pouring things down your sink that you shouldn’t (like oils and fats), and flushing un-flushable items down your toilet (sanitary products, baby wipes, etc.).

How do I clear blockages?

If you suspect you’ve got a clogged drainage gully on your hands, the good news is that it's easy enough to clear up yourself.

You’ll need a few things before you get started:

  • Protective goggles/glasses and rubber gloves
  • A drain rod
  • A garden brush
  • A flat-head screwdriver
  • A trowel
  • A hosepipe
  • A bucket
  • Hot water access

Once you’ve gathered the above supplies, you’re good to get started, and you can follow these steps:

  1. Locate your gully and remove the cover

After you’ve popped your protective goggles and rubber gloves on, you can begin by locating your drainage gully.

Drainage gullies are usually covered with a plastic or metal grate – AKA, a gully trap. You can pinpoint your drain gully by keeping an eye out for this.

Once you’ve found your drainage gully, try to clear as much of the debris from the trap, either with your hands or your garden brush.

  1. Check inside the gully and remove any visible blockages

Once you’ve cleared all the debris from the surface of your gully traps, you can focus on the inside of your drainage gully.

Carefully prise the gully trap open with a screwdriver (or simply use the handle, if your gully trap has one) and take a look inside.

Use your trowel (or your gloved hands) to scoop up any visible blockages and dump them in your bucket.

This is often enough to get the gully up and running again, so try out your kitchen taps to check. If the water drains smoothly, you can say goodbye to your goggles and rubber gloves. If not, you’ll need to follow the additional steps below.

  1. Use your drain rod to feel for deeper blockages

A single drain rod will be able to detect blockages that are about a metre deep. If you can’t feel any signs of a blockage but are still having problems, you may need to attach a few rods until you can reach it.

Once you find the blockage, poke at it carefully with your drain rod to break it up into smaller, more manageable pieces that can be flushed down the drain with ease.

  1. Rinse the gully with your hose

Once you’re confident that the blockage has been broken up, rinse water from your hosepipe down your gullies to flush the debris away.

  1. Pour hot water down the gully

This will help to dislodge and dissolve any grease or fat that may have built up inside your gully, and you can even add a touch of bleach or washing-up liquid for optimal results.

  1. Test and reseal

Leave your taps running for a couple of minutes and monitor your gully to make sure that it’s draining properly. Once you’re satisfied, put the cover back in place and make sure it’s secure.

Need more expert advice?

There’s no denying how much of a pain blocked drainage gullies can be.

If you’ve followed the above steps and are still having problems, our experts at Total Pipes are here and more than happy to help.

Give us a call today on 01254 382 000 or email us at and we’ll be in touch with more information shortly!