How can a drain become blocked?
There are various ways that debris can accidentally get into your drains which over time can cause
them to become blocked – some of the most common drain blockages are:
- Hair – invest in a drain guard to catch hair before it gets down the drain and to clear these
out regularly, regular maintenance and removing manually with gloved hands will help
reduce the chances of being blocked.
- Soap / washing powders – Many people don’t realise soap is actually made from grease or
fat. This means that the soap can combine with water within the drain to form a hard
residue, better known as soap scum, that can stain bath fittings and clog pipes.
- Dirt – Excessive amounts of dirt on clothes can cause blockages so it is a good idea to wash
clothes outside to get rid of the dirt.
- Food – Another common cause is food going down the drain when eating – food waste
shouldn’t ever go down the drain and you should be particularly careful of grease or oil as
these can solidify the same way soap does.
- Small Objects – There are plenty of small objects which can accidentally go down the drain
but ideally only water, toilet paper and human waste should go down your drains as any
small objects could potentially become lodged and block the pipe.
- Toilet Paper – Sometimes flushing too much toilet paper can cause it to build up in the
drain, clog up and stop toilets from flushing. However, if water can still run through your
toilet when you flush it then you can simply use a plunger to shift the paper. However, if the
toilet just fills up without draining then you will need a professional drain removal service.
Other objects which can block drains include:
- Sanitary towels
- Wet Wipes /nappies
- Cotton buds
- Paper towels
- Liquid cooking fats and oils when cool if poured down when hot they will congeal and
- Children’s toys and / or small objects
- Ground Coffee and tea leaves more now as coffee machines and specialist teas are more
Widely / commonly used
What problems are caused by a blocked drain if left unattended?
Blocked drains can cause many serious issues in a property if left unchecked including:
Blocked drains can cause damp as the water flowing down the drain may actually flow out into the
ground around the drainpipe itself. The result of this water spilling out is wide reaching with issues
including penetrating damp & wet rot potentially being caused. If the pipe has collapsed underneath
your home you can usually spot signs of damp on the walls and the floor.
Subsidence, structural damage cracks
Subsidence is when the ground sinks around a drain pipe over time as water has been leaking from
the pipe and into the ground for a long period of time. This can eventually cause the ground to sink
near the property. Another sign could also be a particularly lush, green patch of grass as this could
mean sewage may have also leaked and acted like a fertiliser.
Furthermore, where the damaged pipe lies underneath the building’s structural points then there is
also the possibility for cracks in the building to appear, especially in floors and walls. Though this
tends to only happen if a drain has been left in disrepair for a long time but this damage can
potentially be very expensive.
A blocked or slow running drain can cause:
- Raw sewage spilling over
- If you come into contact, it may cause skin irritation.
- Smells inside and outside the property.
- Wet rot or damp on the walls or floors and cause damage to furnishings.
- If pipework is damaged this can cause Subsidence and structural issues causing cracks in walls and floors if left for prolonged time may be costly to repair.
- If pipework is leaking external the ground may wash away around pipes and could cause ground / slabs drives to drop.
- If the pipework is blocked this can be usually identified by slow draining water, toilet water level line being higher than normal, or even a gurgling sound.
If you need to find the exact cause of your blocked drain – then a CCTV drain survey could help diagnose issues with the drain in a cost effective manner. Alternatively, if you have a blocked drain you would like one of our drainage specialists to check out, then simply contact us or call 0121 663 6683 24/7 to arrange one of our team to come and have a look.