Tag Archives: remove blockage

Summer is here – and with it comes smelly drains!

Drain Doctor recommends enzyme cleaners.

It’s summer at last – a few days of sunshine is forecast. And not before time!

However, hot weather can be a mixed blessing. After weeks in which drains have been overflowing, summer temperatures can bring some unpleasant problems – and smells.

For a start, the warm weather is great for bringing on summer plants (and summer weeds!) but, below ground, the roots that support the new growth can play havoc with drains and sewers, penetrating pipes and causing blockages.

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 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.

Less serious blockages – in U-bends beneath sinks and baths, for example – require less serious treatment and you can often deal with these yourself.

There are a number of drain clearing products sold in supermarkets and DIY stores. Most 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. At Drain Doctor Plumbing we use an enzyme cleaner which digests organic wastes in drains, breaking down fat and grease build ups which lead to odours and blockages. We recommend using the product on a regular basis to keep drains free-flowing and clean-smelling.

Using enzymes rather than chemicals is much better for the environment – and, in the long run, much more effective at keeping drains clear.

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 misaligned. 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.

 

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Drain Doctor’s advice for DIY plumbers in tough times

Large image of household plungers: on the left...

Large image of household plungers: on the left, a toilet plunger, on the right, a sink plunger. Deutsch: Handbetriebene Saugglocken der Sanitärtechnik (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During these tough economic times it is tempting to try to do basic DIY jobs ourselves. This includes simple plumbing and drain clearance jobs. But beware, there are pitfalls to catch out the unwary DIY plumber.

Most minor blockages can be diagnosed and dealt with easily, as long as the person doing the unblocking pays close attention to a few basics.

Don’t take the plunge

When faced with a blocked sink or toilet the first thing that most of us reach for is the plunger. This simple device removes blockages by producing an airtight seal and creating suction to remove debris.

Interestingly enough, however, many plumbers don’t count plungers as part of their tool kits, and for good reason. Not only do they create a dangerous mess by splashing toilet water around, they can also push the obstruction farther into the pipe. Augers work much better.

Take care with chemicals

Commercially available chemicals are easy to use and very effective at removing blockages but they can be extremely dangerous to health and to the environment. They should be handled with care while wearing gloves and protective eyewear in case of splashing.

Keep an eye on slow drains

There are other Eco-friendly liquids marketed for unblocking drains, including Drain Doctor’s own micro biological MS enzyme cleaner. They contain natural enzymes or microorganisms that can deal with organic obstructions in the pipe. They are intended for use on drains that begin to develop issues and are more of a preventative measure. Boiled water with sea salt can also be an effective pipe flush if done periodically, helping to avoid future messy cleanups caused by full-blown blockages.

If you are in any doubt about how to tackle a particular job then call the professionals. Drain Doctor is available around the clock 365 days of the year on 0800 3357 999.

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Happy New Year – unless your toilet blocks!

Drain Doctor franchisees across the country have been busy over Christmas and the days since, sorting out emergency plumbing problems for households and businesses.  Blocked drains, blocked loos, leaking pipes – it is all in a day’s work for Drain Doctor, even over the festive holiday.

Don’t forget that Drain Doctor will also be working on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day offering the same high standard of service at the same competitive prices as it does all through the rest of the year. There are no call-out charges and no ‘overtime rates’ for working on bank holidays.

So, all of us at Drain Doctor hope you have a great New Year celebration. If a plumbing disaster does strike, though, give us a call on 0800 3357 999.

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Get the FOG out of our drains

According to Anglian Water around 10 per cent of its sewer network is clogged with waste fats oils and grease (FOG) at any one time. Clearing blockages in sewers and drains across the UK costs over £15 million a year.   Reducing these costs helps keep bills low for householders.

A new report has found that there are approximately 200,000 blockages throughout the UK every year, of which up to 75 per cent are caused by fats oils and grease. The production of oils and fats for cooking has trebled since the 1960s. Hundreds of thousands of litres of FOG are used every week and much of it ends up in the sewer instead of being disposed of correctly or collected and recycled in free, regulated and regular schemes.

The findings were revealed at a conference organised by Cranfield University and sponsored byAnglian Water to educate wastewater, catering, public health and environmental professionals on the effective management and removal of FOGs  in drainage systems.

Steve Kaye, Manager of Innovations, Anglian Water, said: “FOG should be considered a valuable resource. If it can be prevented from entering sewers, it can be used to make biofuel or digested to generate electricity.”

At Drain Doctor we have always advised householders and businesses not to throw oils and cooking fats down the sink or drain. Collect it in a container and dispose of it carefully. You could also install a a grease trap and a strainer in plug holes to catch hair and other objects that could block drains.

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Where does the water go?

Trust Drain Doctor to solve any plumbing problems.

We looked, in a recent post on this blog, about how the water gets into your home. Continuing our occasional series on your water and plumbing systems, it is time to take a look at how water (and the things you add to it) leave your home.

Depending on the age of your home waste water is probably carried away from your house using one of two systems:

a) A soil-and-vent pipe and waste pipe combination that carries waste from the upstairs lavatories and from sinks, baths and showers separately.

b) A single stack pipe drainage system.  Waste from all the sinks and lavatories is carried underground by a single soil and vent pipe. 

Whatever the system, all the sinks and lavatories in the house have traps which hold enough water to prevent gases escaping back into the house to cause nasty smells.  Traps in sinks also provide a means of access to clear blockages in the waste system.

Below ground, the household waste pipes are channelled through inspection chambers near the house to form the main drain, which then runs into the water company’s sewer.

As a householder, you are generally responsible for all the drains and waste pipes on your property. In later posts we will look at things you can do to prevent problems.

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Being kind to your bum can block your drains

Using wet wipes can lead to blocked drains.

Impregnated toilet papers, ‘wet wipes’ and similar innovations are leading to increasing numbers of blocked drains.  At Drain Doctor we are receiving an increasing number of calls from householders who may have happy bottoms but are unable to flush their toilets. 

The problem is particularly significant in towns and cities with large areas of Victorian housing served by Victorian drains and sewers.  These new papers and wipes are not broken down by the flushing action in the same way as conventional toilet papers – they do not shear as easily. They therefore remain as whole sheets which can cause blockages if the flush does not clear them out of the drain and into the sewer. 

There is a particular problem in older houses because the Victorians over-engineered everything. They put in 6 inch diameter drains where 4 inch diameter would have been quite large enough. This was OK when used with Victorian toilets because they were over-engineered as well – they released huge quantities of water when they were flushed.

Modern cisterns use much less water. This is not usually a problem because it is still enough to shear normal toilet paper and flush all the detritus through to the sewer. With some of these new wipes and papers, though, material is left in the pipes and gradually builds up to create a blockage.

I guess it is good for our business because we are getting an increasing number of calls but it would save householders money and inconvenience if they gave more thought to what they are flushing down the toilet.

Robin Banks, operations manager.

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