Preventing Blocked Drains

The main culprit for blocked drains and a couple of solutions if you are experiencing a blockage

Wet wipes are the main cause of blocked drains at home. In the London area alone there are roughly 3,500 blocked toilets every month because of wet wipes being flushed down the toilet.

Although it seems unhygienic to put used wet wipes in your bin, flushing them down the toilet can bring significant trouble.

People in England spend around £12 million annually on clearing drains in the London area alone, which shows you quite how common this problem is. The problem occurs more frequently in urban areas and is commonly tackled by the homeowners or tenants of a property without much luck.

The material that wet wipes are made of means that they do not break up in water easily like toilet paper does.  They catch on anything they move past and eventually build up in the drainage system, not making it to the sewers where they are pushed along and disposed of.

Blocked Toilet

Methods of clearing drains

If you are experiencing a blocked drain you may smell the blockage before any other symptom occurs. You can start by pouring bleach into the toilet and flushing. If you have no luck after attempting this a few times and have not been putting insoluble items down the toilet, then it could be a sign of the drain having naturally built up deposits further down its shaft. These types of blockages can be cleared with drain jetting.

Drain jetting is the main method used to clear drains in the UK and is highly effective at clearing build-ups in the pipe. A high-pressure jet of water is forced up the length of the pipe and removes anything which may be making the pipe’s interior smaller (and harder for the water and waste to pass through).

Another method for clearing drains is manual rodding, which if executed poorly by an amateur can have bad consequences. The process of manual rodding works on the premise that a rod is inserted into the length of the drainage piping and twisted until loosening the blockage. The problem of causing more severe issues with the piping is usually due to overly-vigorous use of the tool. This leads to the pipe being damaged and potentially could lead to a ruptured pipe and a serious expense, compared to the initial cost of hiring a drainage professional to clear the blockage.

It is unlikely you can avoid a blocked drain for your entire lifetime, however you can prevent them happening frequently by being careful what you (or your children) put down the toilet. Avoid putting wet wipes, sanitary towels, cotton wool buds and any large objects down the toilet. You should also avoid putting large amounts of toilet roll into the toilet as this can also lead to a blockage.  Amateur drain clearance can be extremely dangerous, as damaging pipes can lead to leaks, damp and structural damage. Avoid having to call in professional drain clearance services by being careful what goes down the toilet.

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