Blocked drains are a common and annoying problem that we have all experience at some point. In our experience, there are 6 major issues that cause blocked drains for home drains but also the public sewers (which then need to be fixed and paid for out of your water bills)
- Grease and Fat
Blocked drains as a result of grease and fat are a massive problem in the UK, it does not just affect the drains on your property, but public drains too.
Research suggests that around 75% of drain blockages in Britain and it is estimated that £15 million is spent in Britain every year clearing blockages in public sewers caused by cooking fat. This is a cost paid for via customers’ water bills.
In April 2015, a ‘fatberg’ weighing more than 10 tonnes and measuring 40 metres in length was removed from a sewer in London. The mass of fat was so enormous it actually broke the sewer pipe and cost the water company in question an estimated £400,000 to remove the blockage and repair the sewer.
These issues also apply to your home drains, and if you cook with a lot of oil or fatty foods, a blocked drain can occur extremely quickly. Once fat starts to accumulate it will act as glue for other particles such as hair and toiletries to stick to.
You can minimise the risk by waiting for any fatty liquid to set and then dispose of it in the normal waste.
Some people are more prone to shedding than others, but blockages caused by the hair will affect us all. It primarily affects the bathroom room area. Most modern baths come with a plug that has a trap inside it, if you have one of these you will soon find out how quickly hair accumulates, it is not uncommon for people to have to clear the plug on a daily basis or after each shower.
Gentlemen should also be careful when they shave, if you shave daily it may not be a huge problem, but your stubble will still attach to other blockages such as fat and longer hair. If you are a bit more casual about your shaving routine, you should use some clippers and catch the hair in a plastic bag first.
- Foreign objects
Pretty much anything other than water that goes down the drain can cause a blockage. It may not occur immediately, but things will accumulate over time.
Soaps, nappies, hairpins and sanitary items can create serious blocked drainage problems, so it is essential to pay close attention to what is put down your toilet.
We are sure you have seen public toilet signs stating to only flush toilet paper. There is a good reason for this; many items are just not designed to flush. This, in particular, includes wet wipes which have grown in popularity over recent years. You can buy special flushable wet wipes so if you like to use them we would suggest you buy these.
Nappies are another item that is very bad for drains, they are literally designed to absorb water, so when you flush them, they will expand and quickly block your drain.
Blockages caused by leaves are normally very easy to spot, your drain outside will overflow leaving a large pool of water. Assuming you drain is covered this is normally quite an easy fix, and you just need to dig out all the leaves. You can buy covers to prevent the leaves covering the drain, and these work well if fitted tightly, but leaves have a clever way of sneaking through gaps, and if there is some wiggle room you will often find the drain will still get blocked.
- Root Ingress
Root ingress can be quite a serious issue and is sometimes hard to avoid. If you have trees in your garden the roots will seek out any source of water it can find. I there is a crack in the pipe or a joint not perfectly sealed, the roots will creep into the pipe, breaking it further and blocking it. Eventually, you will need to have the roots cut out of the drain and repairs to the drain. In some cases, this can be done with minimal disruption by using the pipe doctor system which allows to carry out waterproof pipe repair without digging up your garden.