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blocked drain london

Avoiding a Blocked Drain

Our Drainage Tips & Advice

This page may help you with your drainage problems. We have tried to provide constructive advice about the most common problems we encounter and to answer the most commonly asked questions. Simply click the tab for more information. You will also find a 'Quick Tips' section towards the bottom of this page.

A blocked drain is always an inconvenience and an expense nobody wishes to incur. It's something as property owners or tenants we could all do without. A drain blockage in most cases will cause unpleasant odours, possible flooding and in some cases health hazards and result in unforeseen costs. There is also a likelihood you will have to arrange a day off work to deal with the situation, especially if it's an emergency. Yet approximately 60% of the drains unblocked by our engineers could certainly be avoided and are usually blocked due to foreign objects, mis-use or lack of maintenance.

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Kitchen sinks often get blocked with food debris andgrease, while a bathroom sink can get blocked with hair and soap scum - we have even removed a toothbrush from one London sink! Try a branded sink/drain cleaner or bleach, but try to avoid using caustic soda (be careful it burns skin). If competent remove the u-bend to clear debris. If the blockage is beyond the external pipework, then call a professional who will use electro-mechanical tools to clear the blockage.

Prevention is better than cure so please do not poor fat down the sink and use a filter to catch food debris. Clean the sink regularly to remove soap scum and hair.

A blocked toilet is a very common drainage problem, usually the result of a foreign object, for example a childrens toy, nappie, or toilet bowl freshener clip becoming lodged in the back of the toilet trap. First, check that the external drain is not the cause of the blocked or slow draining toilet. Try a branded cleaner, though these seldom work if it is a major blockage. Do not push the toilet brush too far into the toilet in case ths becomes a blockage in its own right. Sometimes a bucket of water thrown into the toilet will create a force big enough to dislodge small objects. If that fails a profssional will be needed to dislodge and retrieve the offending item ensuring that it is not just dislodged and remains within the drainage system to cause a problem further downstream.

In past times a blocked urinal was usually due to discarded cigarette butts but these days it is usually the result of uratic salt within uric acid which causes calcium build up to restrict the diameter of the urinal bowl trap and small bore waste pipes. If chemical cleaners fail call a professional who should remove the urinal trap to ensure it is clear and then use electro mechanical techniques to cut away the solidified calcium build up from within the waste pipe.

Never pour cooking oil or fat down the sink. Try to keep your pipework maintained. Use good cleaning producs in sinks, toilets and drains regularly to keep them clean of debris and build-up of food, soap, hair and grease. Pour fat into a bowl and place in the refidgerator - when if solidifies discard in a refuge bin - never just poor it down the sink, even if you have used detergent - this just breaks fat into smaller molecules, which can coagulate and even reform in the pipes.
Whilst many wet wipe products say they are 'flushable' you should always try to dispose of them in a waste bin rather than flush them. These wipes do not always dissolve quickly, so can snag of sharp edges and other debris in the pipework. Other objects them snag on them, or build up behind them and before you know it there is a blockage.
Never flush nappies down the toilet - they easily cause a blockage and can lead to expensive damage to pipework and properties. We know of one case were the nappy lodged in the waste pipe and the pressure that built up behind it caused a burst in the pipe, resulting in the flooding of the flat below with effluent. This caused thousands of pounds worth of damage, inconvenience (as the occupants had to be housed during repair), a Public Health risk and an expensive clean-up operation.
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If you have waste water clearly overspilling outside your property, then you know you have blocked underground drains. You can also identify a blocked underground drain  with slow draining toilets, gurgling sinks and of course the unpleasant odours. In Central London where there are many aged properties collapsed drains can also cause blockages in the underground sewers. You will need professional help to fix this, so use a registered company.

They say that in London and other large cities you are never more than 6 feet away from a rat! This refers to the fact that rodents can use sewers to nest, breed and move around. Rodents can sometimes use pipes and sewers to access residential and commercial properties and their gardens, but thankfully this is not that common. These creatures do cause expensive damage to pipes and sewers, cause Public Health risks and damage to properties. You do need a professional to remove this problem.

A blocked stack pipe can be cleared using high pressure water jetting from a manhole chamber branch that allows us to jet through the underground section of drain and around the rest bend up into the stack pipe. Alternatively we can use electro mechanical equipment to unblock a stack pipe via an access point if available both methods of stack pipe clearing are effective in removing even the most stubborn of blockages. Flushed nappies are a common cause.

A blockage in a washing machine drain is normally due to the solidifying of detergent within the discharging waste pipe at the point of a trap, or possibly a 90 degree bend. When you get a blockage here commercially available cleaners  rarely solve the problem. Removing the solidified detergent is a simple process using an electro mechanical cutting head which will break up the build up and completely remove from the clogged up waste pipe.

Standing in slow draining water whilst having a shower is not great and there is only so many times we can plunge it away with your foot. It's usually hair build up, but no matter what's causing your shower drain slowly, if commercial products have failed we can clear it for you and by fully removing the blockage from the shower trap or shower waste pipe. 

Blocked gullies are a common cause of flooding whether that be an external gully that the kitchen sink discharges into, or that serves a rain water stack pipe. Waste from either of these two types of gully can build up within the underground trap or drain that discharges to a manhole chamber or blind connection. When attending to a blocked gully we will ensure the trap is clear and flush through the discharge drain with high pressure jets to strip away any attached or settled deposits.

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Quick Tips

Here are a few tips that may help you keep your drains free flowing

1) Do not flush away any disposable items that are insoluble - for example some types of wet wipes, nappies and sanitary items.

2) Keep toiletries, air fresheners and children's toys away from where they could fall in to the toilet pan.

3) Regularly remove hairs etc from your bathroom sink, shower or bath plug holes and periodically empty the traps if accessible.

4) Do not dispose of cooking oils or food waste in the kitchen sink and periodically empty the trap.

5) Regularly remove leaves, debris and rubbish from the external gullies, drain grids and guttering.

6) Do not wash excess paint or concrete into external gullies or drains.

7) Lift the external inspection chambers periodically to check that the drains are free flowing and that there is no lime scale or fat and grease build up evident.

If you follow these simple procedures it will help reduce the likelihood of a blocked drain.

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