Foul smells from plug holes, gurgling sinks, overflowing toilets and leaks around the home all indicate that you may need to clear blocked drains, or even better, prevent them from getting blocked in the first place.
The worse that a blocked drain gets, the more expensive it becomes to clear, because you may have to resort to calling out the professionals instead of taking care of it yourself.
Here CashLady looks at how to clear blocked drains both inside and outside of the home and what to avoid putting down sinks and to keep them blockage free.
Blocked drains and sewers
Blocked drains don’t just cause problems around your home, they can also potentially block drains and sewers in your local community, leading to disruption.
A warning has recently been issued to residents across south Essex over blocked drains caused by baby wipes and other unsuitable items, which costs Anglian Water £15million a year to clear.
Who is responsible for clearing your blocked drains?
Citizens Advice advise that most sewers and lateral drains connected to the public network are now mainly maintained by local water companies, such as Anglican Water or Scottish Water.
If you have any problems with your sewer or lateral drain (section of pipe that carries wastewater away from your property and is located outside your property boundary) for example if it’s blocked, then you should first contact your local water company.
You are responsible for blockages that occur on drains within your property boundary.
What not to flush down the toilet or put down your drains
Carefully monitoring what goes down your sinks and toilets will help avoid blocked trains on your property and in the wider sewer and drainage system.
Prevent food debris from going down drains by scraping your plates thoroughly and use
the correct soaps and detergents to break down the grease and oil used in cooking.
Never pour grease directly down the drain instead pour it into a container, wait for it to cool and then throw it in the bin.
If you must pour it into the drain, always follow with a blast of cold water as this solidifies the grease and stops it from clinging to pipes.
Hair grips accidentally falling down the drain quickly attracts collect other debris such as hair and can cause a blockage.
Nappies, tampons, face wipes, and cotton wool should be placed in the bin and not flushed down toilets where they may get jammed in narrow pipes and cause an overflow of water.
Too much toilet paper is also a major factor in drains becoming blocked so ask all of the family to use only what they need.
Try to keep up with your outdoor maintenance and keep the drains in your garden free from leaves plus any other waste that could be washed into the drain and cause an obstruction.
How to clear blocked drains
Doing it yourself
If you suspect a drain inside your house such as your sink, basin or bath is blocked, then you could begin by cleaning the drain and removing any obvious blockages.
An easy and inexpensive way to try and clear the drain is using a chemical or gas sink unblocker, which can be purchased from a DIY store or large supermarket and poured down the drain and allowed to work its magic.
If your sink or toilet is fully blocked, then you could try filling it with water slightly and using a plunger.
You may need to remove the waste trap if the above methods don’t work – have a look online for DIY videos if you’re not sure what to do.
Rodding the drains
If the blockage appears to be underground and cleaning has failed, then the drain will need clearing outside using a rod.
Calling out plumbers to rod the drains can be expensive and, so you may want to do it yourself so long as you have the right tools.
- Protective glasses and some overalls
- Pair of long rubber gloves
- A hosepipe
- A drain rod
- Strong garden spade or screwdriver
If you don’t want to rod the drains yourself or suspect that the job is too complex, then you will need to call in plumbers or drain experts, who may use CCTV to help locate the blockage.
Covering the costs to clear blocked drains
If you urgently need to get a blocked drain cleared but don’t have the tools or know-how to do it yourself, then you will need to call in a professional.
With costs varying depending on location and size of the job, you should get a couple of quotes before agreeing to any work.
You should also check whether your home insurance will cover the costs of getting your drains unblocked.
If you are worried about how you will cover the costs then consider a short-term loan, which following approval, provides the funds that you need fast, allowing you to repay the money on your next payday or over a schedule that suits your needs.