Home Tips with RACV’s Handy Andy: How to unblock a drain

Living Well | RACV | Posted on 28 July 2020

Learn how to do simple home maintenance jobs with RACV's Handy Andy.

This week, RACV’s Handy Andy demonstrates how to easily unblock a drain with a handheld plunger.

This video series offers tips, tricks and helpful guidance on how to address common issues around your home. Check out the latest episode and let Andy show you how to fix blocked drains.

Lesson six: How to unblock a drain with a handheld plunger

This week RACV’s Handy Andy demonstrates how to easily unblock a drain with a handheld plunger.

 Required tools: 

  • Plunger
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses


  1. Put on your safety gear and ensure the water in the sink is not hot.
  2. Release any air trapped inside the plunger by pushing down slowly on the plunger for air bubbles to escape. As you release the downward force on the plunger it will draw water back up inside itself and you are ready to plunge.
  3. If other fixtures are connected to the same drain, have someone else hold a plug over any other opening.
  4. Apply pressure and plunge in five-second bursts, checking in between to see if you’ve been successful.

Need help fixing things around the house? From simple home maintenance tasks to kitchen makeovers and major renovations, RACV Home Trades and Services can help you find the right tradie for the job. Or, if you're in a jam and need an urgent callout, RACV Emergency Home Assist has you covered.

Lesson five: How to hang curtains

This week RACV's Handy Andy takes you through how to hang curtains so you can keep out the winter chill.

 Required tools: 

  • Curtains
  • Curtain rail
  • Drill – be sure to check your power tools to ensure they are safe to operate
  • Tape measure 
  • Screwdriver
  • Marker pen
  • Safety gloves and glasses – plus, additional personal protective equipment if required
  • Ladder – never stand on the top rung of a ladder and always ensure it is securely placed on an even surface


  1. Mark where your brackets are going.
  2. Drill two holes, very carefully, where those two marks are.
  3. Put the bracket over the top and, using the screws provided, use a screwdriver to screw them in. Being such narrow timber, you don't want to risk over-driving it with the drill and splitting the timber.
  4. Once both screws are in, tighten them up so there is no give in the bracket.
  5. Repeat on the other side.
  6. Thread curtains onto the rod and lift the rail to hang in place. 

Lesson four: How to check for ceiling leaks

This week RACV's Handy Andy takes you through what to do if you find a ceiling leak, and how to narrow down the cause so that you can find the right tradie to stem the flow.

 Required tools: 

  • Grey lead pencil
  • Ladder 


  1. Look for any slight stains or discolouration on your ceiling / walls. 
  2. Using the grey lead pencil, draw a fine line around the outside of the stain. Tip: If using a ladder, always ensure it is securely placed on an even surface before climbing and never stand on the top rung.
  3. Keep an eye on the stain to see if it grows.
  4. If it does grow, what might have caused it. Did you use the shower, turn on the heater, or was there a storm? 
  5. Once you've narrowed down the cause of the leak, call the appropriate tradie to check it out.

Lesson three: How to seal door gaps

Getting ready for winter? This week RACV's Handy Andy will show you how to seal your doors for winter to block out the cold.

 Required tools: 

  • Special door seal – includes rubber strip and double-sided tape
  • Marker
  • Rag
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Safety glasses
  • Safety gloves
  • Hacksaw – optional, depending on how big your door is


  1. Purchase special door seal from local hardware store
  2. Mark the end of the door on door seal
  3. Referring to marking, use hacksaw to cut door seal
  4. Spray rubbing oil on rag and wipe area where door seal will be placed
  5. Place marks on door where door seal will sit
  6. Carefully peel away the back of your door seal
  7. Place on door

Lesson two: How to unblock downpipes

Home Tips with RACV’s Handy Andy continues, this time with Andy guiding you through how to unblock downpipes and prevent water overflow from your gutters.

 Required tools: 

  • Sturdy ladder
  • Bucket – for any leaves and debris
  • Safety gloves
  • Hose


  1. Locate downpipe
  2. Position ladder on solid ground
  3. Look for and clean any debris along the gutter and at the top of the downpipe
  4. Place the hose into the downpipe – take the end off the hose first
  5. Wash away any remaining debris

Lesson one: How to adjust uneven door hinges

We kicked off our home maintenance how-to series with one of the easiest and most common home maintenance tasks: how to adjust uneven door hinges. 

Required tools: 

  • Screwdriver – flathead or a Phillips head depending on the screws used
  • Pair of scissors
  • Thin, strong, compressed cardboard (eg coaster)
  • Safety gloves


  1. Loosen middle hinge screws
  2. Remove bottom hinge screws
  3. Place cardboard behind the hinge to prop it out as required
  4. Replace screws in the bottom hinge again
  5. Tighten middle hinge screws back

Get virtual advice 

Planning some home maintenance or renovation jobs? RACV Home Trades and Services is there to help. From carpentry and electrical to plumbing and locksmiths, RACV Home Trades and Services can help you find the right tradie for the job. Or, if you have a small job you might be able to tackle yourself with a little expert guidance, RACV Virtual Tradie can provide advice over the phone or by video call.

Home emergencies can happen to anyone. Keep calm with RACV Emergency Home Assist