We typically encounter more and more drain emergencies when it starts getting colder.
Fats, oils, and the effects of the elements start causing havoc. It's this period when blockages or new cracks in your tenants' drains are most common and you'll often need to call in someone to restore service. The period after Christmas is especially bad because overflowing bins and intermittent refuse collections can lead renters to seek "alternative" methods of waste disposal.
Thankfully most of these issues can be prevented by taking proper care of what you put into your drains. We've produced a free guide to print out for your tenants to educated and inform.
Download our free poster guide for your tenants!
It explains how to prevent common drainage issues. Click here to download this helpful advice! (PDF)
Some Bonus Prevention Tips
Drains are designed to carry water from your plug hole to the sewers. Under normal conditions they can handle the normal bits and pieces that get flushed away when you have a wash, do the dishes or have a bath or shower. That means a few hairs, some soap, food fragments and general dirt and silt. Toilets have their own design that works pretty well under normal conditions. Other types of blockage can be attributed to a single event or rapidly escalating chain of events that develop because of bad drainage practice.
Blockages From Fats and Oils
One of the chief causes of blockages in the kitchen drainage system is the fats, oils and greases that we put down the sink. The worst culprits are hot oils, because as soon as they hit the cold water in the U-bend they’ll turn solid, a problem that’s compounded by the fact that it floats. It’s not impossible for the fat from a particularly oily or buttery meal to cause a blockage.
Small amounts of grease will flush away with the water, but habitually pouring oils down the drain could cause a problem. Scrape as much of your cooking and tableware waste into the bin or food waste caddy, and use plenty of detergent to break the fats down.
Solution: Ask your tenants to scrape as much of their cooking and tableware waste into the bin or food waste caddy, and use plenty of detergent to break the fats down.
» Read our guide to unblocking kitchen sinks.
Hair is another problem for drains. It has a natural tendency to knot and twist, which can cause blockages to build up quickly. If your tenants encounter this issue frequently, it might be impolite to ask them to give their hair a brush or comb before showering or bathing, just to minimise the potential for blockage!
Solution: You can get little cages or nets to put over the drain that catch a fair amount of hair. Your tenants will need to remember to clean them out after every bath or shower. We'd recommend installing similar strainers in your kitchens too.
» Read our guide to dealing with hair blockages.
The drains outside the home carry surface water from your pathways and run-off water from the roof gutters as well as grey water from baths, showers, washing machines, sinks and dishwashers. Typically, these will have a grid on the top to stop leaves and litter from entering the drain, but these can corrode or get knocked off, so make sure they’re intact and in place, especially when autumn is on its way.
Solution: For areas with a particular leaf problem, you might want to invest in a plastic leaf guard. It fits over the drain grid and is an extra line of defence. All DIY stores sell them.
Soil can be a problem in these outdoor run-offs. It doesn’t dissolve and can cause a build-up that can lead to a blockage. Take care when working on your borders, and try not to leave too much soil on the pathway – it’ll get washed into the drain next time it rains.