As the recent hot and humid weather is followed by heavy thundery downpours sweeping across the UK, the sweet perfume from gardens in bloom may be replaced by a nasty niff and uncharacteristic flooding may occur. These are sure signs it is time to check your drains.
The warm wet weather that followed the recent heat wave may be good for the garden. Below ground, though, the roots that support the new growth can play havoc with drains and sewers, penetrating pipes and causing blockages. And it’s set to continue for a little while yet.
As a householder, if the blockage is within the boundary of your property, you are responsible for clearing it. If it is beneath the street outside, it is probably the responsibility of the water company.
Locating the blockage can itself be difficult though. The best and most certain way is to put a CCTV camera into the drainage system to see what is actually down there – and where it is. A reputable drain clearance company will give you a detailed report.
There are a number of drain clearing products sold in supermarkets and DIY stores. Some will clear the initial problem – but few will stop it coming back.
Rather than using a chemical-based product, take a tip from the professionals and consider using biology to shift the blockage. The UK’s largest emergency plumbing and drain clearance business Drain Doctor Plumbing, for example, uses an enzyme cleaner which digests organic wastes in drains, breaking down fat and grease build ups which lead to odours and blockages. The company recommends using the product on a regular basis to keep drains free-flowing and clean-smelling.
Robin Banks of Drain Doctor says: “Using enzymes rather than chemicals is much better for the environment – and, in the long run, much more effective at keeping drains clear.”
Even enzymes, though, won’t get rid of roots which can grow across pipes and then catch debris coming down the drain until it builds up to create a really effective blockage. If that happens you will need a specialist with the right equipment to remove the roots and repair the drain.
Prevention is, of course, better than cure and Drain Doctor has a number of tips to avoid summer drainage and plumbing problems.
- Install a strainer in plug holes to catch hair and other objects that could block drains.
- Don’t pour fat and grease from cooking down the drain – allow it to cool and put it in the bin.
- Don’t dispose of old oil, paint or other substances down the drain.
- Have an established plumber inspect drains for leaks, damage and corrosion and get problems sorted out while they are small, rather than waiting for a disaster! By using a CCTV camera in the pipes, plumbers can inspect and pinpoint exactly where drains are cracked, damaged or penetrated by roots. Ask the plumber to give a diagnosis of the work needed and provide a written estimate up front. The ones who don’t probably have something to hide such as VAT costs or other ‘extras’.
If you do have a drainage problem and simple DIY techniques don’t solve it, call in the professionals – but make sure they are professionals. Drainage is becoming increasingly technical and you should always seek a qualified drainage technician such as Drain Doctor Plumbing. Call them 24 hours a day on 0800 3357 999.