Ask the Drain Doctor

If you have a question about plumbing, drainage, franchise management or related issues please post it in the comments section on this page and we will answer your query as soon as possible.

Look forward to hearing from you.

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11 responses to “Ask the Drain Doctor

  1. stephanie smye

    My ground floor shower is draining slowly and the toilet doesn’t flush quickly. When I open the outside drain cover, it is full of dirty water. What do I do??

    • Stephanie, it sounds like there is a blockage in your drain in the section of pipe that is running away from the bathroom and it needs professionally clearing. Give your local Drain Doctor a call on 0800 70 71 72. They will come out and survey the blockage and clear it for you. They will also check the drain with CCTV camera equipment to ensure that there is no underlying damage to the pipe work which might explain the problem. Tree roots and attached grease deposits are common causes of domestic drain blockages, which can be fixed by professionals without the need for digging up.

      There is no call out charge and you will get a no obligation quote before they start work. All the work is fully guaranteed.

      I hope his answers your question Stephanie.

  2. Hannah

    When my heating is on, only the lower part of my radiators seem to heat up. The tops are always cool. Why is this? How can I get the entire radiator warm?

    • If your radiators are not working properly you will not get the best out of your central heating, waste energy and your boiler will have to work much harder to heat the rooms in your house, leading to bigger heating bills and increased carbon emissions.

      If the lower half of a radiator is hot but the top is cool it usually means that air is trapped in the unit. Use a radiator-bleeding key to open the air vent at one end of, or on the back of the top of the radiator. Make sure you have a piece of rag and a bowl ready to collect the water once it starts to flow. Do not open the vent completely – one turn is usually enough to let the air escape. You should hear it hissing out of the vent. Close the vent once water starts to appear. Take care, because the water can be very hot. It is safer to turn the heating off while you complete this job.

      If you find that radiators need bleeding on a regular basis you probably have a leak in the heating system somewhere in the house. This can cause corrosion and there may be a problem that needs expert guidance. Call Drain Doctor who will send out a qualified technician to help.
      If the airlocks are more serious it could be due to lack of water in the system, leaks or a design defect somewhere in the pipe work. There could also be a problem with the flow regulator on the central heating pump. It’s advisable to get a technician to look at this for you.

  3. Marvellous Marvin

    Dear Dr Doctor

    What’s the best method to use to unblock a partially blocked plughole… the one in my shower is backing up and needs a bit of work on it!

    Thanks,

    Marv

    • Some shower plug hole fittings have a removable rose with a little mesh basket inside. This can be easily pulled out and cleaned. Dispose of the contents -usually hair – into a landfill waste bin and then clean the rose and basket under a running tap. Re-seat the basket, refit the rose and run the shower. If it continues to block, or if the shower fitting is not dismantleable, then the problem is more serious and the professionals should be called in.

      Hope this helps Marv.

  4. Louise

    We have just moved into a house where the toilet has a macerator. In the last few days it has started making a different, angry noise when we flush the toilet, which is sometimes slow to empty. I called a plumber who said the macerator probably has a blocked but that he doesn’t fix them and doesn’t know anyone who does. The problem is it’s all boxed in and so we can’t easily get to it. I don’t even know what make it is as it was here when we moved in.

    I also have no instructions as to how to look after it. Someone said I shouldn’t put bleach down the toilet if it has a macerator. Is that true? If so, are there other chemicals I should avoid?

    • If the macerator is making a mechanical grinding noise of any sort then something is amiss inside its internal workings. Failures inside macerators can be electrical and/or mechanical and there are few (if any) user-serviceable parts inside. Due to the nature of the likely breakdown adding bleach or any other proprietary cleaning agent to the system won’t work. The unit should be turned off at the mains and the not used until it has been looked at by a professional.

      Homes with macerating toilets should always have another ‘normal’ gravity installed toilet somewhere else in the building, so the home owner should not be without their sewage services for the time being.

  5. Paul

    Thanks for your contact. Before I can agree to any article I will need to know a bit more about your proposal and your connection with Eco Water.

  6. Delirium Tremens

    Over the last few weeks a small puddle has begun to appear at the bottom of my driveway. I suspect there must be a leak in the mains supply pipe, is this the resonsibility of the water company or do I have to get it fixed?

    • It depends on whether the leak is inside or outside the boundary of your property. As of 1 October 2011 the ten water and sewerage companies in England and Wales automatically became responsible for privately owned sewers and lateral drains located outside property owners’ boundaries. These pipes were previously the responsibility of the owners of the properties they are connected to.

      However, it’s important to remember that you still retain the ownership and therefore the responsibility of the drains serving your property that are located within their boundary. If this is the case you would be responsible for repairs.

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