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

Unblock Your Kitchen Sink Quickly

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 Blockages

unblock remove and dissolve hair from your drains

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.

External drains

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.

The last blog post focused on what to do when you suspect there may be an issue with the drainage. There may or may not be telltale signs that the system is being blocked up, but we will go through a few of the ones you might be able to spot.

Although many flooding situations strike unannounced, a property owner might find that the toilet water level is not as it should be. If it seems much lower than normal, it is recommended you get a second opinion from the drainage specialists. Or maybe your sink is not draining like it usually does; this is another hint that all is not quite right.

By calling out a drainage contractor, you will hopefully be able to have the situation addressed before it gets much worse, like the flooding problems described in the previous article.

Such scenarios involving wastewater flooding can be avoided if the blockage is removed in time. You can certainly rely on the drain engineers to tackle the problem effectively.

Not only do they have all the equipment and know-how required to solve the blockage issue, but they can really help you out with a cost effective solution too.

In these tough economic times it is quite common for householders to leave seemingly small maintenance problems alone until it is imperative that they get sorted. While this is understandable from a money point of view, when it comes to drainage it could end up in an expensive mess.

This warning should certainly be heeded as most people do not really feel they need to understand about or tend to the drainage pipes servicing their properties until it is too late.

While most drain pipes seem to take care of themselves, if clogging has been allowed to build up over time, it will eventually get to a point when it becomes more noticeable that a blockage is forming.

Sometimes, however, there is no warning at all and so homeowners are left with an unhygienic situation. Sewage can not only affect the home itself but also the garden too. The backflow of wastewater can cause untold damage to a home and so it is always advisable to heed any signs.

Alternatively, you could ensure total peace of mind and have a drainage contractor perform regular drainage maintenance on the system. In the next article we will think about some common signs that your drains need checking out.

It is true that many people never really think about their drains until something happens to their property. Should such an unfortunate incident occur you will realise just how serious a problem it can be.

If there is a blocked drain this can end up causing health and environmental issues. So, once the wastewater makes its way back to the surface, you will have to call a drainage contractor in to deal with the situation.

This is because these engineers will be able to come round to your home and inspect the drains for themselves. They can repair any damage to the drains and look at rectifying the situation so it is not allowed to happen again in the near future.

CCTV surveys are one method the professionals often use as this helps them to get a better picture of what is going on within the drainage system. The survey can locate the cause of the blockage and work to remove it.

When a drain does get blocked like this it can sometimes prove costly, especially if flooding has occurred within your home. So, it is always advised to have drainage maintenance carried out on a more regular basis as a precautionary measure.

When you need to find a drainage contractor in an emergency situation, it is not always easy to locate one unless you have used one before. For commercial and industrial businesses in major cities within the UK, you may have to do some research to source a specialist that can assist you.

Depending on the nature of the problem, be it a blockage which is causing flooding or repair work to the drains servicing your premises, you will have to track down a drainage maintenance company with the resources to carry out the job.

By going to a dedicated drain specialist you can be sure that they will do all they can to fix the drains so that your business can continue as usual, with the minimum amount of disruption.

As drainage problems are a common occurrence in big cities, due to the fact that the drains are often working at capacity and may be in need of upgrade work, it is advisable to consider a contract with the specialist.

They can then be called upon at any time of the day or night and can ensure your drains are flowing as they should. And with regular drainage maintenance, you can avoid these emergency situations happening again in the future.

The difference between sewers, drains and lateral drains is not something you usually come across at school, so you can quite easily be forgiven for not knowing which name refers to what.

When it comes to your property and its connecting drainage system, it is worth finding out what these terms actually mean and how they relate to you. Otherwise you may get them confused and speak about one when you really mean another.

Many people did not realise, but the ownership of drains and the responsibility for looking after certain types changed towards the end of last year and so it is important to understand how this applies to you and your home.

The following are explanations for some of the most common types:

  • The drain – this is a waste pipe serving just the one residence
  • Lateral drains – these relate to the drainage pipes sitting just outside of the boundary of your property
  • The sewer – finally, these are wastewater pipes serving a number of properties. With these systems, they can be privately as well as publicly owned.

To clarify, the homeowner is responsible for all private drains which are within the boundary of the property. So, if you ever have any issue with your drains, be sure to speak to the specialists.

For commercial enterprises located in major cities and surrounding areas, drainage maintenance can often be an issue. This due to the fact that the sewer system has usually been in place for many years and as time has worn on, the drains can be damaged from blockages and general wear.

If the drains servicing your premises become blocked or are in need of repair work ,rather than having to keep calling out a drainage contractor every once in a while for something quite substantial, why not make use of an annual contract instead?

By tackling any problems before they are allowed to escalate, you can ensure that the drains around your building are constantly flowing and working as they should. You wouldn’t want anything to disrupt the work that you do and so a commercial contract with the drain specialists can really work out better in the long term.

This gives you peace of mind that sanitation in your commercial establishment will not become an issue and your facilities can continue to be used as they are at present, without any disruptions.

When you agree to this contract, you can expect a drain inspection to be carried out on a regular basis, with the pipework checked to see that everything is in full working order. They are also available at any time of the day or night for any type of drain emergency.

When it comes to repairing drainage pipes, root intrusion is one of the most common issues drainage engineers have to face. This is because these roots can bore their way into the system by pushing through minute fissures and cracks in the surface of the pipes.

One in there, they can soon multiply once they enter the drains as water is so readily available. At its worst, the problem with root intrusion can prevent water from flowing through the drain completely.

drainage contractor will make use of the latest technology to take on these types of blockages to avoid the need for drain excavation. The roots can be removed from the drainage pipes using a method known in the industry as trenchless technology.

This work is undertaken by inserting a spinning root cutter into the drain pipes with the equipment able to cut the roots back all the way to the inside lining of the pipe. Once this has been achieved, to prevent the problem returning, a liner is then set inside the drainage system to form a barrier which roots cannot penetrate.

In larger cities, root intrusion is a growing issue, especially when improvements haven’t been made for some time on an aging drain system. The drainage maintenance experts are then required to tackle these troublesome roots.

Drainage engineers up and down the country are constantly having to tackle the problems that fat can cause when it blocks our sewerage systems.

A recent trial in York has seen fat-busting bacteria being put to good use by eating up the fact beneath this historic city. So far the signs seem to show it has been a success. Extreme methods like this are becoming more commonplace as drainage experts look to find new ways to remove fat from building up in the drains.

However, this issue wouldn’t be half as big as it is today if people didn’t contribute to the problem by pouring liquid fat down their sinks on a regular basis.

When homeowners do this, drain blockages can occur in the sewers in the road adjacent to their properties.
This is due to the fact fat can accumulate and as soon as it cools down, it becomes attached to the pipe wall and the wastewater flow is unable to loosen it. Over time, other debris is added to it and this just increases the chances of blockages happening here.

Fat traps are now available for homeowners to use and collect the fat they use during cooking. This way, once it has cooled and solidified, it can then be safely disposed of in the general waste.

Instead of waiting for a problem to occur with the drainage system servicing your premises, it is always better to keep it well maintained. It makes sense from a business perspective as emergency plumbing can often prove more expensive than deciding on planned maintenance.

By agreeing for a reputable drainage contractor to come round to your offices or place of business to carry out routine maintenance you can avoid many of the issues which can result from drain negligence.

With an annual contract, you can benefit from a call-out service which will look after everything to do with drainage for your company to ensure that nothing gets in the way of what you do.

Whether your business is in the hospitality industry and has to deal with food waste on a regular basis or a company located within a large office building, even though the issues may be different, you still need to be aware of drain maintenance.

Having peace of mind is important and when you can rely on the drainage experts to come to your aid and keep the system flowing at all times, this is certainly an assurance worth investing in.