Blocked Drain Responsibility Explained

Our homes are connected to systems of drains and sewers, which function to carry away wastewater. If these pipes become blocked, we need to take steps to fix the issue and prevent ongoing problems. On encountering a blockage, what do you need to do and who is responsible for blocked drains? 

Drains on your property 

Drains within the boundary of your property are considered private drains. If a drain on your property becomes blocked, then it’s your responsibility to unblock it. You can attempt to unblock the drain yourself, or you can call a professional drainage company to do this for you. Taking out insurance is also an option to pay for fixing a private drain. 

Lateral drains and sewers  

Lateral drains are located outside your property, generally underneath the road or pavement. Lateral drains are the pipes which function to carry wastewater away from your home and into a sewer. These are connected to your private drains, yet they are not considered your responsibility. Lateral drains are publicly owned. 

 Sewers function to collect the waste and water from the drains of several different properties. Most sewers are publicly owned; however, there are still some privately owned sewers. If you have a private sewer, you could be liable to fix it, and you will need to contact your local sewerage company to find out. 

When a drain or sewer is outside the boundaries of your property, it is the responsibility of the water company to fix the problem, at no cost to you. If you believe that a blockage has occurred in a lateral drain or sewer, you should call your water company. 

Shared drains

 If you have a drain that is shared with a neighbour, your local water company will be responsible for this drain. You will only be accountable for a private drain on your property that is not shared. For those who live in a block of flats, it is the management company who are liable for any repairs within the property boundary. The water company are again responsible for fixing the lateral drains that service the flats. 

Tenant or Landlord

Generally speaking, if you rent your property, then the landlord will be responsible for all of the maintenance and repairs, including the drains. Minor blockages in sinks or toilets can usually be fixed by the tenants themselves. With the use of plungers or drain cleaners, it should be straightforward to deal with these small incidents of blockage. 

Maintaining your drain

You must adequately maintain any drains that you own; blockages, cracks, or misconnected pipes can damage your drain and the surrounding areas of your home. Dirty water can end up in our rivers if any pipes are incorrectly attached or faulty. The environmental health department can instruct you to carry out maintenance on private drains should they see a problem, but you should try to keep on top of these issues yourself. 

When you are maintaining a private drain, you should look out for signs of minor issues. It’s preferable to spot any problems early before they get worse. You may notice, for instance, deterioration such as leaks, cracks, or eroding pipes. If you have a blockage, you may notice foul smells or that wastewater drains away slowly. 

Private sewers

 If your sewer is private and you own the property, then it is your responsibility to repair any blockages and to make the associated payments. If the private sewer is serving several properties, then all owners will be obligated to pay for the repairs. If you are unsure whether your sewer is public or private, you can check with your local sewerage company to get this information. 

Connect to a public sewer

According to the Water Industry Act 1991, the owner of a private sewer is entitled to have their sewer or drains connected to a public sewer. The owner or occupier of a premises in general, can also apply to connect to a public sewer. If you wish to apply, you can do this via an application form with your local water supplier. Here is the application form for the supplier Thames Water. 

Requesting a company to adopt your sewer

In 2010, the government stated that the majority of private sewers and lateral drains would soon have full ownership by sewerage companies. According to Thames Water, up to 10 million homeowners were previously responsible for private sewers, yet many did not realise this until there was an issue which they had to fix. As a repercussion of this, many private sewers were left in bad condition. These reasons informed the decision to transfer the ownership of private sewers; from individuals to sewerage companies. 

Any lateral drains or private sewers that were connected to a public sewer before 1st July 2011, were transferred in ownership on 1st October 2011. If you still own a lateral drain or sewer, that remained unaffected by this legislation, you can request that your local sewerage company adopt it from you. 

Off-mains drainage

When your property is in a rural location, you will likely have off- mains drainage. This type of drainage is a self-contained system connected to your property, or perhaps shared with your neighbours. There are three types of off-mains drainage; one is a cesspit, which is a holding tank that must be emptied approximately every eight weeks. Another is a septic tank; solid waste is kept in a tank and the liquid waste goes to a drainage field. Thirdly, sewage treatment plans involve compressed air that’s blown into a tank to break down waste. If you have a problem with any of these drainage systems you are responsible for the payments and repairs. 

Further information on blocked drain responsibility 

For further information on water and drainage services, you can look to Ofwat’s website. Ofwat is a water services regulation authority, responsible for the sewerage industry and the water sector. You can also take a look at the Water Industry Act if you would like to read more about water legislation, including the provision of sewerage services. 

The Real Consequences of a Drain Blockage for Homeowners

If the term “drain blockage” doesn’t give you pause when it comes to a problem in your home – well, you could have an actual problem on your hands!

Drain blockages for homeowners are things that shouldn’t be taken lightly. When a drain blockage is ignored, it could lead to several negative (and potentially dangerous) consequences. Not only will ignoring the blockage lead to bigger problems for your home, but it will also end up costing more to get things back to normal. 

Still not convinced?

Let’s take a look at some of the potential consequences of a drain blockage, why it’s important to pay attention, and what you can do if you know your drain is blocked. 

What Are the Signs of a Drain Blockage?

Before we get into those consequences, it’s important to know if you have a potential drain blockage in your main sewer line. Thankfully, there are a few key signs you can look for, including: 

  • Problems with the plumbing in your home (frequent clogs)
  • Slow draining in your sinks and tub
  • Gurgling sounds from the interior drains and toilet
  • Toilet clogs
  • Overflow in the sewer cleanout (home exterior)

If you notice even one of these signs, it could be a sign of a blocked drain, and it should be looked into right away. A drain blockage is nothing to ignore for any length of time, as it will only continue to get worse unless the blockage is cleared. 

Knowing the signs is only half the battle when it comes to the urgency of repair. Knowing the potential consequences can move you to get the problem fixed faster, too. So, what are they?

Unpleasant Odors

One of the first things you’re likely to notice when you have a drain blockage is an unpleasant smell. This should come as no surprise since most drain blockages are caused by waste accumulating in the pipes. 

A blockage also causes water to get “stuck” in the pipes, and that water can become stagnant. That also contributes to the foul smell and may end up impacting your entire home. 

The unpleasant smells will continue to get worse since clogs will cause your pipes to dry out. The smell will not be “soaked up” by the pipes, which can cause it to become worse and spread faster throughout your homes. It can become so bad that it might even cause you to develop a headache or become nauseous. 

Health Risks

Speaking of unpleasant physical ailments, a little nausea isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when it comes to a drain blockage. When water and waste aren’t moving through the pipes, it gives bacteria a chance to form. 

When that bacteria filters into the air in your home, it can lead to adverse health problems. When the water and waste from the pipes actually flow back into the drains and comes up in the sinks, you’re at an even greater risk of bacterial exposure

This bacteria can cause everything from viruses and diseases to skin irritation and respiratory issues. They can be especially harmful to anyone in your household who already struggles with things like asthma or allergies. 

Clogged drains are simply unhygienic, and you never know what the bacteria lingering on that waste can do. 

Insects, Pests, and Mold

Have you ever seen a stagnant pond somewhere? Chances are, you also saw a variety of different critters surrounding it. Stagnant water and waste is an ideal environment for some critters you don’t want in your home, including mosquitos, gnats, and other insects. 

Additionally, another “intruder” that can occur from a drain blockage is mould. Mould growth on your pipes or in the drain itself can be harmful to your health and cause a variety of different conditions. You don’t want unwanted guests of any kind due to a drain blockage, whether it’s an animal or a plant!

Water Contamination

Every household deserves clean, fresh drinking water. Unfortunately, letting a blocked drain in London go for too long can contaminate your water supply. If a pipe becomes block due to waste, water won’t be able to flow freely through it. As a result, it will flow backwards.

That water then becomes “dirty” and can be contaminated with harmful bacteria and viruses. That’s the water your family drinks, bathes with, brushes their teeth with, etc. Every time it touches your skin or you ingest it, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk. If your drinking water starts to look cloudy or has a bad smell to it, it’s important to stop drinking it immediately!

Thankfully, there are plenty of other signs you’re likely to notice before the water gets to this point. But, it just goes to show you the importance of taking care of a drain blockage quickly. 

Damage to Your Home

Finally, a drain blockage can cause structural damage to your home if it goes on for too long. When stagnant water starts to flow back into the drains, the moisture can cause problems with the foundation of your house, causing it to essentially “rot” away. Water causes everything to weaken, and could potentially cause parts of the house to cave in. 

If the blocked drain becomes a major problem, it could even cause flooding within your home, leading to water damage that needs to get cleaned up by a professional. Of course, if the structure of your home starts to weaken or collapse, you’re going to face major repairs (and costs), too. 

As you can see, there are too many consequences of a drain blockage to ignore. If you’ve noticed any of the signs of a blocked drain in your London home, don’t wait to contact Quick Clear Drainage. As skilled drain engineers, we can take care of your blockage quickly, safely, and effectively, so you can feel comfortable in your own home without having to worry about the potential dangers that could impact the integrity of your house or the health of your family.

Prevention Intervention: 16 Items You Should Never Put Down Your Drains

Sometimes it happens because of our busy lifestyles, while some others entirely by mistake, but we have all, at least once, put something down the drain. And, invariably, we have regretted that action immediately! Blocked drains can cost us a hundred or thousands of pounds, or even cause great damage to drains and pipes. 

And, of course, it is important to remember that most of what goes down your drain will end up in landfills – so, it is likely to come back to you in a way or another, in your drinking water or in your food. Being more careful about what goes in your drains is a great way to prevent drain blockages and clogged drains while limiting your environmental footprint! Start with the 16 items below. 

FOG – Fats, Oils and Cooking Grease

If you have ever tried to clean greasy surfaces, clothes, or even your hands, you will know how challenging that can be. Well, it can be as challenging when the grease is in the drains rather than on your hands! One of the greatest dangers of pouring FOG down the drain is that these materials might be liquid when they are hot, but they solidify when they cool down. This will cause them to block the drain. Instead, you should allow any grease and fat from meats and other ingredients to solidify in the cooking pan. Then, pour the solid grease in a jar and throw this in a bin. 

Diapers

Diapers are created similarly to sanitary napkins, but they are even more absorbent and expandable. As they increase in size, they can clog drains, especially when travelling through U-lines. 

When deciding how to dispose of them, it is crucial to analyse the label. This might be labelled as flushable while also being “not septic safe”. In this case, you should find alternative ways to dispose of them. 

Bones and Pits

Bones and pits can clog your drains, and you should avoid putting them down the drain. If you use your kitchen sink to process some cooking ingredients, make sure that you are using a net or filter to prevent them from sliding down the drain. 

Egg Shells

Eggshells are not as hard as bones and pits, but they can be just as damaging. Indeed, when they enter the drains, they create granulated wastage inside the drains, which can block them over time. Alongside eggshells, you should be careful of potato peels and other types of food waste. 

Tampons and Sanitary Napkins

Tampons and sanitary napkins represent one of the most common causes of blocked drains in London. This is because of the intrinsic nature of these products. Sanitary pads and tampons are designed to absorb moisture and expand as they do so. 

So, when throwing these items down the drains, they will expand, causing blockages. And unlike paper, they don’t dissolve in water! Because of their plastic content, they can also create a substantial environmental impact. 

Coffee Grounds or Beans

These are a common cause of blocked drain because we don’t always realise how much of them enter the drains. Coffee after coffee, some of the moist ground beans are flushed down the drain. This can happen when you rinse the machine with tap water or when emptying the filters in the sink. This material can enter the drains and start accumulating, which will cause blockages in the long term.     

Chemicals Such as Fertilizer, Insecticides and Pesticides

Chemicals such as fertiliser and pesticides should never be flushed down the drain. If you are using these chemicals, you should also pay attention to the label and the disposal instructions. Of course, they can cause blockages, but they can cause even greater damage when they end up in landfill, compromising ecosystems and wildlife.

Condoms

Any condom or latex items will cause blockages in the pipes because they are not compostable, and they can create tangles with other items in the drains. When they end up in landfills, they can create significant damage to wildlife as many animals mistake them for food. 

Wipes

Wipes and cleaning wipes should not end up in the toilet or in the drains – even if they are labelled as “flushable”! Because of their plastic component, they are not degradable and can create severe blocks in the drain. 

Flammable or Explosive Materials (Including Liquids!)

While this should be obvious, it is crucial never to throw explosive or flammable materials down the drain. When doing so, you can create a major safety hazard as they might ignite at some point while in the pipes. Additionally, make sure no paint is thrown in the toilet, as this can harden and dry and cause blockages.

Quick Clear Drainage

Prevention is always the best strategy when it comes to blockages. However, it may not solve your problem right now! If you have a blocked drain in London contact Quick Clear Drainage.

SOLVED: Does My Home Insurance Cover Drainage Issues?

Are you dealing with drainage issues at home? This article will help you understand the types of drainage issues that you might need to handle and whether making an insurance claim could be an option for you. 

Drains are a key element of your property. However, you likely won’t think too much about them until you notice an issue. The reason for this is simple. Your drains are hidden deep underground and completely out of sight. The first sign that there’s an issue could be a smell coming from your drains or evidence that your drains aren’t draining water at all. If you’re unlucky, it might be both. 

Thousands of people deal with drainage issues on their property every year. It’s a particularly common occurrence later on in the year when there is heavier rainfall. When they notice an expensive issue with their drains many people contact their home insurance company. But does your cover provide the solution to drainage issues you need? 

Common Drainage Issues 

Before we explore whether your home insurance is going to be the answer, let’s look at some of the most common drainage issues for homeowners in the UK. 

One of the most typical issues with drains is a blockage in the drain. This can start slowly and it could be years before the problem becomes noticeable. Alternatively, you might find that the problem develops suddenly. It largely depends on the cause of the blockage and whereabouts in the drain it is. This is also going to impact how easy it is to resolve. While there are DIY solutions to unblock drains, it’s often better to call in the pros. 

Or, you could be dealing with a crack or fracture in your drains. These can typically be found near the joints in the pipes but they may also be further down the pipework. This can cause wastewater to leak into the surrounding areas and this, in turn, weakens the ground structure. 

Alternatively, it’s possible that there are roots from trees and plants impacting your drains. Roots can bury deep into the ground and will eventually cause issues with the pipework. Roots dig deep to search for oxygen, water and nutrients which are all contained inside drain pipes. When roots go through the pipes, they often leave holes within the pipework. Smells and wastewater leak out which is the last thing that you want. 

You might even find that there is a collapsed or broken part of the drain. This is a serious issue as it will ultimately mean that wastewater isn’t leaving the property the way it should. Instead, it will start to flow out around the surrounding areas. This could even lead to a sinkhole developing which will weaken the entire structure of the property while also attracting pests to the home. 

It’s also possible that you have to deal with displaced or open joints around the property too. This can be caused by the ground becoming unstable due to increased levels of traffic. When there are gaps like this, you might find that wastewater again leaks around to surrounding areas. This is another problem that can lead to structural damage to your property. 

Is It Possible To Claim For Drainage Issues?

It’s clear that issues with your drains can cause some massive problems for you as a homeowner. Some of the issues that we’re talking about here are going to be expensive to fix and difficult to correct in a short period. As such, it makes sense that you would contact your home insurance company, but will problems like the ones above be covered

The answer largely depends on a few key factors including your insurance company and your specific policy. 

Typically, you’ll find that most building insurance policies will cover accidental damage to your drains. The question then becomes, what constitutes ‘accidental damage.’ Language like this is often intentionally unclear and it can mean that insurance companies can refuse to payout based on a technicality. That’s why it’s best to explore examples. 

For instance, you might find that your drainage pipes have corroded due to old age. This is seen as a natural level of deterioration. As such, it’s unlikely that you are going to get a payout here under the ‘accidental damage’ umbrella. 

On the other hand, if there has been an intrusion into your pipes from tree roots, it’s likely that you will be provided with a payout. This should fall under accidental damage. 

It’s also possible that you can claim for damage to your drains completely but you’ll need to take out an extra level of coverage to do this. This is why you need to make sure that you do read your insurance policy carefully. If in doubt, you should always contact your provider and ask them about this possibility before you notice there’s an issue. 

Which Pipes Will Be Covered?

It’s also important to be aware of where your responsibilities begin and end here. As a homeowner, you’ll be responsible for all drains that exist on your property boundary. So, if there is an issue with a drain on your property and it’s causing an issue for a neighbour, you’ll be responsible for fixing it. 

For this reason, if a collapse or any damage occurs due to misuse or neglect, it won’t be covered through your insurance company. Instead, you’ll need to pay for the repairs yourself. Be aware that in some cases, you will need to take out coverage for specific drains that are on your property. 

This is why it’s crucial to keep your drains well maintained and avoid any damage that wouldn’t be considered accidental. Cleaning your drains regularly and inspecting them on an annual basis is the best way to do this and keep your drains in the best possible condition. 

Quick Clear Drainage

We hope this helps you understand whether your home insurance will cover drainage issues on your property. If you have already noticed a blocked drain at your London property, our expert team at Quick Clear Drainage can help. We’ll fix the issue and ensure that there is no further damage to your drains. Get in touch now and a friendly member of our team will be happy to assist you. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Drains

A lot of people don’t really have any clue how often their drains should be cleaned, and this can lead to a host of problems later on. It’s also true that most people don’t even think about their home’s drains or what they require until something goes wrong with them, and that’s not ideal either.

It means that problems are allowed to arise and that proper action is only taken when the drains are already blocked or experiencing other issues. Ideally, you should take action before that happens in order to ensure your drains don’t get blocked and those other problems don’t materialise. A big part of that is making sure they’re cleaned regularly and correctly.

You can find out more about how and when to do that below, so keep reading to find out more.

How Often Should I Clean My Drains?

The more you clean out your drains, the better they’ll perform and the less likely you’ll be to experience problems with them going forward. It really is as simple as that. With that in mind, the very best way to care for them is to clean them properly once a week. Of course, that’s not going to be possible for everyone, especially those with busy schedules, and that’s alright too.

If you don’t have the time to clean out your drains on a weekly basis, doing it once a month is fine too. As long as you make sure you get them cleaned out on a regular basis and don’t leave it too long between clean-outs. Everyone has different schedules and different amounts of free time available to them, so not everyone can dedicate the same amount of time to these things.

If you’re really short on time, you could always hire a professional company to clear out the drains for you. That’s one of the services we offer, meaning we can take care of this task for you on a regular basis if you can’t or don’t want to do it yourself. This makes life a little easier for you.

If You Notice Problems

There’s always a chance that a problem might occur, even if you’re sticking to a regular cleaning schedule. And when that happens, it’s important to know what to do. If you notice any bad smells or any other signs that you’re concerned about, it’s a good idea to seek immediate help from a professional. If the problem is relatively straightforward, the drain can be unblocked and cleaned to fix the issue.

In some circumstances, the problem may be deeper and simply cleaning out the drain might not be enough. When that happens, further exploratory work has to be carried out to get to the bottom of the issue and find out what’s going on with it. Again, this is something that can only be carried out by people with professional experience because it’s a difficult task to get right.

A plumber will be able to find out what’s going on and, most importantly, ensure the problem doesn’t simply return again in the near future. There’s always a risk of something like that happening, and it’s certainly the last thing you need. So if you notice a problem and you’re not sure what to do about it, trust the professionals to get it right.

Avoiding Blocked Drains

The best way to deal with a blocked drain is, of course, to avoid it happening in the first place. There are things that can be done to make blockages less likely. The first step is one we’ve already talked about. You simply need to make sure that you clean out the drains regularly to get rid of any problems that might be present. That way, they won’t have the chance to develop into something more troublesome.

There are devices you can use to place over your drains to prevent blockages occurring as well. These are known as drain traps or catches. These can stop debris and other things from entering the drain. Anything that’s too big to be going down the drain will be blocked, and fluids will be allowed through as they should. You can then manually remove anything that’s blocked by the train trap.

Another thing you can do is avoid putting anything down the drain that simply shouldn’t be there. Kitchen oils and things like that should never be put down the drain, for example. These simply lead to blockages, so cutting out those kinds of actions will help to make blocked drains less likely.

The Most Common Reasons for Blocked Drains

There are lots of different reasons why drains get blocked, and understanding these reasons is a good idea if you’re going to prevent this problem going forward. As mentioned above, one of the most common reasons for drain blockages is an excess amount of grease and fat entering the drains, and this can be avoided by properly and safely disposing of these things in other ways.

Any kind of foreign object that enters the drain and has the chance to cause a blockage is likely to lead to problems. The drain traps we discussed above can help to prevent these kinds of problems arising. Sometimes, it’s as simple as leaves and small tree branches causing blockages in the drains around your home. Steps should be taken to minimise this risk.

Toiletries and things we tend to use in the bathroom can also have a significant impact on drains. Baby wipes and things of that nature are terrible for drainage systems and can very quickly lead to blockages, and that’s why they should always be put in the bin instead. Even hairs that go down the drain can cause problems.

If you want more help with your drains, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Quick Clear Drainage. We can help to make sure that your drainage problems are dealt with professionally and efficiently. You can trust our team to get the job done properly.

The Long Term Effects Of A Blocked Drain On Your Property

When we think of maintaining our homes, we probably think about keeping our roof intact, ensuring that the window fascias remain sound and checking our brickwork for pointing issues. We are less likely to keep an eye on our drainage systems. 

London weather can be unpredictable at the best of times, and often when it rains… it absolutely pours. Wet weather means that more drains can become blocked. While a drain blockage may seem like a minor annoyance, the long term effects can prove costly, and damage the integrity of your home.

Leaks

Your pipes need to remain crack-free. However, torrential rain, flooding and temperature differentials can cause high pressure to build-up and a drain blockage can be the result. Leaving this blockage to fester can make your pipework crack resulting in a leak to form within the home. It can be tricky to spot where the leak is coming from, meaning that mould and damp can develop on the walls of your living spaces. 

Damp can be a much more costly problem to fix than a blocked drain. You may need to repoint some of your brickwork, replaster, replace joists and insert a damp course. This is labour intensive and takes time resulting in your home feeling like a building site for a few weeks. By ensuring that you call a drainage engineer the moment your sense a problem in your pipes, you can save yourself money and stop your home from becoming too effected by the drain blockage.

If you live in a period property, your pipework will naturally be older, making them more susceptible to damage because of a blocked drain. Call a local London based engineer as soon as you think a drain blockage is developing to prevent your more vulnerable older pad from sustaining damage. An expert will carry out a full assessment of your drains before carrying out any necessary repairs.

Waste Resurgence

There’s nothing worse than noticing a foul odour within your home but being unable to find out where it is coming from. The number one cause of sewerage-like smells in your home is waste resurgence. This means that the waste that should be removed from your humble abode is becoming trapped within your pipework. A blocked drain will result in this waste not just blocking up but actually returning to your home. If you think about the worst blocked toilet that you’ve ever seen and consider that this could be in your own home, you will want to get a survey of your drains done immediately.

With a blocked drain in London, you need an expert that is reliable with a quick response time. If you have a drain blockage, drainage specialists will utilise CCTV technology to place a camera into your pipework and guide it along your drainage system to carry out a full survey and spot the points where blockages are present. They can also be utilised in a preventative sense to replace any pipe joints or segments that are vulnerable to blockages.

Structural Damage

Ignore a blocked drain at your peril because the chances of structural damage increase the longer you leave vulnerable pipework without a full survey being carried out. Leaks can cause damp, which not only causes fungal spores to permeate into your home, but they can also result in joist and brickwork damage. 

Joists and timbers within the structure of your home can become rotten, weaken and can cause subsidence to develop. This can have a massive detrimental impact on the saleability of your pad. While it may seem a little melodramatic, a blocked drain could result in your home becoming unmortgageable. To ensure that you don’t fall into a blocked drain trap, it pays to get your drains and pipes cleaned on an annual basis. When searching for an expert, go for a drainage firm in London that provides exceptional customer service, reliability and experience. 

How Will An Expert Unblock A Drain?

  • Drain rodding: Rodding a drain is a basic treatment that is cheap and effective if blockages are relatively new and there is little compacted material to remove. Steel rods are pushed through the pipework to remove a drain blockage and restore normal waste management.
  • Drain Jetting: For more compacted blockages, an expert will use a hose to fire a jet of powerful water to clear the blockage. This is more costly than rodding, but can cut the repair time of your pipes.
  • Tanker Jetting: If there is a lot of debris that has caused the pipework to fur up and solidify, a tanker jetting service is needed. Larger drains that are vulnerable to blockages will need more water firing down them at high pressure (up to fifty gallons a minute) to help pipes unblock effectively.
  • Electro-Mechanical Cleaning: If water is not a feasible option when trying to unblock your drain, an electro-mechanical cleaning option may be considered. Steel cables with large blades attached are forced down your pipes with the aim of cutting away the debris that is causing the blockage. This is an effective option when the debris is compacted or hard, or when there isn’t a mains water supply to power a jetting method.

Blocked Drain Prevention

To ensure that you keep your pipework in excellent condition, it pays to have an annual checkup of your drains in London. This is especially important for those properties that are older or haven’t been inhabited for a little while. You have a service for your boiler each year, so why not do the same with your drains? 

The main culprits for drain blockages are hair and excess tissue buildup. Tree roots can also break through pipework and invade your drainage spaces causing a blockage. While it can be difficult to mitigate the risk of a drain blockage, you can take care of your pipework by getting a team of experts in to assess and survey your drains to keep them in tip-top condition.

At Quick Clear Drainage, our professional engineers are on hand 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week. Call us or message us today for free advice!

The Real Consequences Of A Blocked Drain For Businesses In London

Blocked drains pose a huge threat to London businesses. Not only in a practical manner, but in terms of maintaining a reputable business that will bring in customers. Let’s take a moment to run through the basics of drain blockages and look at how Preventative Drain Maintenance can help!

The Consequences of Blocked Drains

Many businesses make the mistake of leaving blocked drains unattended. Sure, they can prove an inconvenience, but as long as the water eventually (albeit slowly) drains away, there’s no problem, right? Well, wrong. Left untreated, blocked drains can worsen. This is rarely an issue that will resolve itself, so the blockage will simply become worse and worse until water doesn’t drain through at all. This results in a whole host of hazards, which will take a moment to look at now.

Poor Drainage

Of course, and perhaps most obviously, the main consequence of a blocked drain is poor flow through your drainage systems. Whatever is clogging your drains will prevent water from passing through. Rather than passing through quickly, you may find water takes a while to go down and, in more serious cases, can even back up the pipes, coming back out of the plug hole and bubbling. This isn’t going to be good for your business, no matter what kind of business it is. It’s a more immediate and business halting threat if you run a restaurant, cafe, or other business that uses a lot of water and requires regular drainage. But it’s also going to be problematic for businesses that have offices where employees need to flush the toilet and wash their hands.

Dirty Water

Health and safety needs to be top of your list of priorities when it comes to running any business. This means providing a hygienic environment for your staff to work in, as well as a hygienic environment for your customers to spend time in. A blocked drain creates a breeding ground for bacteria to fester and build up. This is because food, waste and other sources of energy for bacteria tend to either create clogs or build up behind them. This can result in a build-up of filthy water making its way back up your pipes.

Bad Odours

With dirty water, there tends to come bad odours. This can either be the result of filthy water building up and acting as a vessel for bad smell. Think how a stagnant lake will often begin to smell. It’s a similar premise. Bad smells can also be the result of your pipes drying up and there being a lack of moving moisture to keep bad odours moving along their way. A secondary school in Henley-On-Thames, unfortunately, found out first-hand just how disruptive the stench from blocked drains can be on day to day operations.

Leaks

If you leave a clog for a while, don’t be all too surprised if you find that you begin to experience leaks. When the water clogs your pipes, it needs to go somewhere. Sure, sometimes it will back up. But sometimes, if your pipes aren’t the strongest, it will begin to damage your pipes and may even cause them to crack, creating an area where the water can be diverted – probably into an area you don’t want consistent dripping water.

What This Could Mean for Your Business

Now, all of these potential consequences are undesirable. But what can they mean for your business in particular? Some business owners assume that if a clog and issues associated with it are confined to a space away from the customers’ eyes, there won’t be all too many repercussions. But this simply isn’t true.

Firstly, the clog can cause your staff to struggle to do their jobs correctly. Say you run a restaurant. If your back of house staff are unable to wash and rinse plates, glasses, cutlery, or other essentials as they are waiting for dirty water to drain away, they’re generally left with two choices. To wash the dishes in dirty water which poses a serious risk to your customers and could result in your establishment being closed down, or to wait and not have plates ready for dishes going out. This means slow service, which is deemed bad service.

The smells that are associated with blocked drains also tend to be difficult to contain to the spaces they’re immediately in. Smells spread and, unsurprisingly, your customers don’t want to be exposed to sewage smells while they’re eating or drinking.

All in all, it means lost customers and bad reputation. This will be a disaster for your business and could either see your doors shut or you have to put in a lot of work to build back your customer base.

What Causes Blocked Drains?

A drain blockage can be caused by all sorts of things. The main culprits tend to depend on the location of the drain. If you have a blocked drain outside of your premises, chances are it’s been blocked by fallen leaves or other debris pushed in by strong winds. If you’ve got a blocked drain in a kitchen area, chances are food remnants, oil, grease or other things washed from plates have caused the drain blockage. If you have a blocked drain in a bathroom, someone may have flushed something they shouldn’t have down the toilet. Perhaps sanitary products, nappies, makeup wipes, or something else. To identify what’s causing the blockage, you may need to undertake a CCTV drain survey or call in a professional to check things out.

Resolving and Preventing Blocked Drains

So, how can you go about ensuring your drains don’t become blocked? Well, first it’s important to tackle the initial problem. Call out professionals who will be able to remove your blockage or clog and ensure water can run freely through your drain system once more. Most people will try to use store-bought drain unblockers to clear drains at first, but chances are, the issue will require a bit more work to be dealt with properly. Once your blockage is resolved, you will need to work hand in hand with a company that provides Preventative Drain Maintenance. This will see professionals regularly check your drains and put measures in place to prevent them from becoming clogged or blocked in the first place!

As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure – and this definitely goes for drainage systems within your business. Hopefully, the above information will help to keep your drains clog-free and your business thriving!

If you have an emergency issue, or you would like to speak to an engineer about our business maintenance packages. Call Quick Clear Drainage, London’s blocked drain specialists on 0203 633 3897

Case Study: How We Helped A Busy London Restaurant Stop Reoccuring Blockages

Upper Street in Islington, North London is well known for the hustle & bustle of high street shops, bars, restaurants, and theatres. As well as carrying the A1, connecting London to the north of England. The road stretches for one mile between Highbury Corner and the junction with Liverpool Road at its southern end. Upper Street is also famous for the Granita Restaurant which is said to be the location in which Tony Blair and Gordon Brown made their deal on the future leadership of the Labor party.

Quick Clear Drainage received a call from a busy restaurant on Upper Street regarding lots of reoccurring drainage issues on their business premises. Including blocked drains. London restaurants often suffer from this in particular, as it can really have a negative effect on trading – so we were happy to help, and quick to respond!

How Quick Clear Drainage Responded

On our visit to the restaurant, we cleared the blockage which was the immediate issue so that the restaurant could get back to doing what it does best.

After clearing a blocked drain in London, we make it our priority to ensure that we have completed the job in hand to an excellent standard and that we can prevent any blockages in the future by inspecting the drain lines with our CCTV Drain Survey equipment.

What Happened Next?!

During our CCTV Inspection downstream of the drain line, we discovered that there was a buried manhole in the kitchen… Now, this might not always flag as an issue at first glance, but the restaurant had mentioned they were experiencing reoccurring blockages within their drains.

Our drainage engineers decided that the best course of action was to map the entire drain system using our drain tracing equipment, and dug down to expose the buried manhole.

We then carried out drain cleaning on the section and fed CCTV Drain Cameras downstream into the newly exposed drain line from the manhole. Following our camera inspection, we discovered a buried interceptor trap in the basement.

What Is An Interceptor Trap?

Interceptor traps were first introduced to properties in and around London in Victorian times. Drain interceptor traps were originally installed to stop the smells from sewers venting into properties. The design of the trap effectively prevented rodents and foul smells leaving the sewers and accessing properties. But they can often cause lots of drainage problems.

They are primarily made from vitreous clay, which means they suffer from root ingress and can be fractured with movement or settlement. A build-up of debris, grease, and fat within the trap itself will then cause severe blockages.

So, What Did Quick Clear Drainage Do?!

Our drainage engineer dug down the buried interceptor trap to expose it. He then proceeded to give this a full hydro scrub and clean. Once the trap was absolutely spick and spam, the drain lines were all inspected again using our CCTV Drain Camera equipment to ensure it was back to full bore and the drains were free-flowing.

To summarise, Quick Clear Drainage:

  1. Found and cleared the initial blockage in the restaurant’s drains.
  2. We then inspected the system to ensure peace of mind and traced the system using drain tracing equipment.
  3. We discovered a buried inspector trap which may have contributed to reoccurring blockages & foul smells.
  4. We cleared and fully cleaned the interceptor trap.

Our drainage engineer left details of the works carried out with the customer, and the restaurant went back to doing what they best without the disruption of drain blockages.

A successful visit, and a happy customer! All in a day’s work!

If you have a blocked drain, or any other drainage issue and would like some free advice, or you’d like to book in a visit from one of our engineers – call us on 0203 633 3897, or send us a message.

How Do You Know When Your Drains Are Blocked?!

Believe us, we’re the first to understand just how stressful drainage issues can be on your household or business. There’s no disruption and inconvenience quite like it once you’ve realised you have a blocked drain in London or any other area of the UK. So, what’s the solution? preventative measures and early detection. The sooner you detect a blockage issue, the less damage it is likely to cause to your day to day life.

Here’s 4 simple signs to look out for, when assessing whether your drains are clogged:

Unpleasant Smells

One of the most obvious, and unpleasant signs of a blockage in your drains is a foul smelling odour. One of the most common causes of drain blockages is food debris. This debris begins to slowly decompose, which, in turn, begins to produce a very bad smell! You may notice this more when your tap turns on, or you might catch the scent of sewage around your house or drain cover.

Water Draining Slowly

Again, a clear sign of drainage issues and blockages is water draining slower than usual in your toilet, sink, shower or bath. As well as a blocked drain, in some cases, water draining slowly can also be a sign of a  a collapsed pipe. Blockages are one thing, in the case of a collapsed pipe, you will need drain repairs done by a professional drainage company.

Blocked Drain Water Running Slowly London

Gurgling Sounds Coming From Drains

Any noises which sound different to normal, especially gurgling noises originating from drains, plug holes, toilet flushes and pipes are easy red flags to watch out for. When you run water, a gurgling sound is an indication that there is trapped air which is escaping. It’s common for dirt and grease to build up in your drains. This buildup can cause the water to drain slowly and as a result, the air bubbles can not go through the pipes and instead, travel through the nearest vent. That’s why you hear a gurgling noise. 

Raised Water Levels

If you’re in a situation where you notice a rise in the water level of your toilet when flushed, it’s a clear sign that you have a blocked toilet. For any temporary or partial waste blockages, it may be easy to unblock with a plunger. However, for longer-lasting issues or where the water is at the point of overflowing – It’s time to call an emergency toilet unblocking service.

What To Do About Your Blocked Drains?!

Prevention is the ultimate solution for looking after your drains. Ensuring that you’re not flushing items which can cause blockages, pouring fatty oils and large amounts of food debris down the sink and so on.

However, if you have noticed any of the above signs – it is best to call a professional drainage contractor, as soon as possible. For rapid response, efficient results, and to prevent the risk of any further costly damage to your property, give Quick Clear Drainage London a call.

Quick Clear Drainage provides drain unblock services in London, and the surrounding areas.

A Brief History of London’s Drain Systems

London’s drainage system as we see it today is incredibly different from what it once was. A key part of the water infrastructure that serves the vast majority of Greater London and is operated by Thames Water, the sewage system was once the cause of disease and destruction as human waste was unloaded directly into the river.

Before it was redesigned by respected architect Joseph Balzagette, in the early 19th Century it resulted in 1000s of people across the capital contracting diseases such as cholera as the River Thames acted as an open sewer. An event also known as the Great Stink, the hot weather exacerbated the smell of human waste throughout the city, making it an unbearable place to live – no matter what class you were of.

The contamination of the water alongside proposals made in the early 1700s were some of the reasons as to why the need for it to be redesigned became so prevalent. It was, however, delayed until the influential Metropolitan Board of Works was created in 1856 due to the costs associated with the construction. The costs and proposals to modernise the drainage system, weren’t, however, agreed by parliament until after the horrific Great Stink of 1858.

As gravity resulted in the sewage flowing towards the east, located such as Deptford, Abbey Mills and Chelsea required an additional installation. Pumping stations were created to help provide sufficient flow and to raise water levels.

The Impact of Joseph Bazalgette

As mentioned above, Joseph Bazalegette was an architect who helped to redesign the London drainage system. But he was also the chief engineer in the Metropolitan Board of Works in the mid to late 19th Century and had an incredibly significant impact on the design and effect of the drainage system. Directly improving its appearance, as well as resulting in an improvement in the health of London’s residents, his actions are an important part of London’s history.

Joseph Bazalgette was elected as chief engineer, supervising public works in an extraordinary way across the city. By 1866, London’s drainage system was transformed to include a series of connected sewer networks which was devised by Bazalgette himself. Diverting the water from the underground rivers and sewers to low-level sewers built behind the embankments, before the waste ended up in the Thames Estuary, it was an incredible and drastic change that was much overdue.

In 1870, the Victoria and Albert Embankments were opened. These were designed to replace the Thames shore which was once only tidal mud with the reclaimed and supportive ground. Protecting the low-level sewers, underground railway and service subway, it was a welcome addition that kickstarted an array of other embankments being built – such as the Chelsea Embankment which was completed four years later.

London’s Drain System Today

We no longer have to worry as much about drainage as we once did. The chance of an event such as the Great Stink is, most likely, a thing of the past which won’t happen again. Throughout the 20th Century, major improvements to the drainage system continued to occur which in turn reduced the pollution that began to occur in the North Sea and the Thames Estuary.

Proposals for projects such as the Thames Tideway Scheme is underway to increase the capacity of London’s sewage system. As the population grows, as does the need for improvements to the structure. And this development is just one of the steps needed to keep up with the demand for an efficient and fully-functional sewerage system in the capital.

Now something that we take for granted, it is fascinating to discover the history of the drainage system and how it has transformed over the years thanks to innovative minds such as Joseph Bazalgette.

Blocked Drains London 

Even though blocked drains might not seem as big of a worry in the present day, it is something that still occurs. At Quick Clear Drainage we work on fixing any blocked drain issues that occur throughout the city. Experts in drainage London, we have years of experience with London drains and understand the need to effectively fix the issue as quickly as possible.

As soon as you notice a drainage issue, whether it is within your business or home, get in contact with us and we will be on hand to help. If you have a blocked toilet or sink, we are your first port of call every time. Using our expertise and state-of-the-art technology, we offer a high-quality service that’s affordable and efficient. A trusted company that puts our customers first, we have an array of glowing reviews on Google.

Want to find out more about the drainage services we offer? Give us a call today on 0203 633 3897 or by email on info@quickcleardrainage.co.uk.

Photo by Frank Albrecht on Unsplash.