Category Archives: Homeowner

Quick Fixes for Blocked Drains in London

For homeowners in London blocked drains can be a real nuisance, and really expensive to boot. To help you avoid the hair and money loss that usually comes with blocked drains in London we’ve put together a small checklist of things you can do yourself when you think you’ve got a problem at home.

1) Identify the problem that’s going on within your drains. Specifically, find the parts you feel which aren’t working like they should. Common problems include: slow sink or tub drains; water backing up inside the bath tub, shower, or sink; wet areas in walls or along floors in rooms adjacent to drain pipes; wet areas within the lawn near drain piping and unusual gurgling or bubbling sounds when water is draining. Basically just keep your eyes and ears open for any of these tell tale signs.

2) You’ll then need to work out the extent of your “slow drain” problem. If it’s isolated to just one sink or other fixture, it is probably localised to the individual pipe that connects that fixture to the main. Put simply, if it’s just the kitchen sink that drains slowly, then the issue is with the sink trap or drain line that connects to the larger pipes and which also carries water from sinks, the toilet and the bathtub.

flowingdrain

3) Here’s the tricky part, you must then figure out of the path the waste water’s taking to reach the main drainpipe. Quite often individual drain pipes are routed though the wall cavity, where they connect to other pipes, which in turn go underneath the floor and exit the home at either the septic system or sanitary sewer. Sometimes at this stage you’ll need to call for professional help as getting inside your drainage system to have a look is quite a complicated process. But, if you can find where the problem is, go to step 4!

4) Flush the malfunctioning drain with very hot water. For your bathroom or kitchen sink, you should carry this out by stopping the drain and filling the sink with warm water from the faucet. Unstop the plug and the water will drain into the material that is clogging the pipes, and if the material is a residue of grease or similar waste, the warm water may dissolve it enough to flush an adequate amount out of the pipes to restore your flow. Note that, for more serious blockages, this may actually make the problem worse, so make sure you call the pros!

We can’t stress enough that that this is only a temporary fix at best and, for more serious blocked drain problems or for longer-lasting solutions you are always best off contacting a professional who will be able to properly inspect your drainage system, tell you exactly what’s wrong with it and then direct you on how to fix and futureproof it.

Total Drainage are proud to be able to supply a range of domestic drainage services available that include drain cleaning and repairs.

Do you have blocked drains?

Please get in touch either via the Contact Us section on our website or call us on  020 3556 4453 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

Spring & Summer Gully Clearance

You’ve probably noticed by now that winter has well and truly gone. As we pass into Spring the days start to get longer and as the weather warms it usually rains. If you’ve ever had to get a train in the spring months you’ll probably understand how something minor like fallen excess rainfall can cause major problems.

While cancelling trains because of leaves or water on the track is frankly ridiculous, having drains and gullies flood because they’re clogged with leaves, mud and runoff litter isn’t.

A gully consists of a concrete pot that’s sunk into anywhere that surface water collects (roads, gardens and and is covered with a visible iron grate. Water collects in the pot and is then channelled to sewer networks via a network of pipes.

If you’re a property owner it’s important to know here just exactly what constitutes your responsibility and what doesn’t. There have been recent changes in legislation that affect ownership and responsibility for underground drainage systems (which we cover in more depth here).

Chances are that your local authority will take care of any blocked drains and gullies on public property when (and hopefully before) they happen but, if you’re connected to, or own, a private pumping station you could be liable for repairs. It’s also possible that, if you have a garden, there is a gully there too.

Gullies in private roads, parking areas and gardens are the sole responsibility of house or property owners. One approach to consider is tackling the problem before it becomes an issue. Spring and summer are the perfect times to schedule in a service cleanse that’ll save you money and give you peace of mind that your surface drainage systems are safe for the coming year.

It’s not just during colder months however, as during very dry periods gullies can dry out and cause smells to leak back out.

The networks of pipes connected to gullies are complex and require experience and expertise to clean properly without damaging them. If you are responsible for a private drainage system you shouldn’t attempt to clear them yourself. Cleaning should only be handled by a professional drainage company correctly equipped to handle gully clearance.

Need some help?

At Total Drainage we are equipped to handle both pre-planned gully maintenance and reactive emergency gully clearances so please get in touch either via the Contact Us section on our website or call us on  020 3556 4453 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

Grease Traps: Do you need one?

Domestic

Put in very simple terms a grease trap is a drainage system that separates fats and grease from the main drainage system. If you’re a homeowner and a cook you’ll probably already know that as fat, oil and grease from cooking cools, it hardens and congeals. It doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to see how this could cause blocked drains, which would stop water and other waste draining away.

The usual suggestion here, and this is something that adverts love to tell you, is to use something like bleach or detergents for drain unblocking to cleanse the pipes. Like most quick fixes, this is only temporary and, in most cases, will only cause the blockage to move further down into your drainage system where it will accumulate and cause another, bigger blockage.

This is where grease traps come in. They’re relatively unknown to London’s domestic market but are something that’s becoming increasingly popular with commercial customers (see below). They work by trapping grease and fats on the surface while allowing water to drain from the system, meaning that you’ll never have to get the plunger out again. They also deal with the collected grease by using a variety of bacteria (don’t worry, they’re good bacteria!) to eat away at the grease and convert it into mainly water and some carbon dioxide. If you have a large, hungry household in London and are worried about the level of grease in your pipes then a grease trap may be for you. In most cases the single cost will offset the stress and cost of having to get your pipes cleansed time and time again.

 

Commercial

There is virtually no kind of working kitchen, in any environment, that would not benefit from having a grease trap installed. In most commercial kitchens, and especially in London, water discharges from a 50mm waste pipe system into a 110mm pipe and a grease trap is usually fitted either at the source, in the washing-up area, before entering the main sewer line. Either that or it’s fitted underground before the sewer line connects with effluent waste flowing from the toilets.

As mentioned above, but on a more industrial scale, the purpose of a grease trap is to separate and trap oil and grease, together with any foreign articles such as cloths, cutlery, etc before they enter the sewage system, in order to prevent blocked drains. For a commercial property in London blocked drains can be really serious, as they can contravene health and safety legislation, which can be fatal for culinary businesses. Even if yours isn’t, a blocked drain can still seriously affect employee health, can attract vermin and, if left unchecked, can also cause structural issues.

In this day and age most commercial kitchens have a grease trap already fitted but if yours doesn’t, you should really consider getting one installed today.

 

Do you have blocked drains?

The message here is always check, if you have blocked drains in London then you need to find the root of the problem and tackle it using professional help before it grows beyond your control. Please get in touch either via the Contact Us section on our website or call us on  020 3556 4453 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!