Six urinals on a wall in a bathroom.

We tackle one of the most common problems in the commercial wash space, the blocked urinal…

Managing and maintaining commercial washrooms can be a tall order when faced with concealed pipework and hard to reach areas. One of the most common problems that can derail the smooth operation of your site though, is the blocked urinal. But before we can address the issue, we need to look at the most likely culprits that have led to a clogged urinal.

What causes a clogged urinal?

There are a few main offenders when it comes to blocked urinals. Chewing gum is an obvious one as everywhere from busy motorway service stations to airports and leisure centers suffer from this problem – eventual buildup can cause a sticky blockage. Similarly, urinal blocks used to make the toilet smell fresh, can eventually slip through the urinal waste, and build up in the pipes. Finally, and this is perhaps the most common cause of urinal blockage, uric acid crystals. This is a build-up that comes from human urine and when not flushed thoroughly can leave crystal residue much like limescale.

How to unclog the urinal

When a urinal is blocked, the first port of call is to check the trap. This means unscrewing the U-bend, or J-bend or vertical trap. This may reveal a blockage or build-up that can easily be removed, or alternatively, it might give you access to see further down the pipe to assess any build-up. Once the trap is clear you can then take appropriate measures to remove the blockage within the waste pipe. Many cleaning firms can treat aggressive uric acid and limescale build-up with chemicals to break them down. Alternatively, they can also be removed manually by rodding or high-pressure hose. However, in some cases the build-up can be so significant that the easiest and best way to address the problem is to replace the waste pipework. This can be done without a full urinal installation, or as part of a refreshment program.

The importance of maintenance

When it comes to urinal blockages, often we do not know the extent of the problem before it’s too late. Making sure the waste pipework is flushed through sufficiently and often is key to limiting pipe build-up. Sensor flush kits, which control the flushing of urinals through an infra-red sensor have a purge function. This means the urinal will be flushed with fresh water at 12 or 24 hour intervals regardless of whether they have been used or not. The water purge dilutes any recent uric acid and maintains a moist surface for wastewater to move across. This is particularly important for times when the toilet is little or unused such as school holidays.

If you have further questions about unclogging commercial urinals, or would like to explore upgrade options in the washroom, please get in touch with one of the team today on 01202 650900.