Drainage issues can cause disruption throughout any property.
It can be difficult to figure out what the problem might be – or if there is a problem in the first place. But ignoring the signs of a blocked or damaged drain can end up being very costly to fix. Not just financially, but also in the time taken to fix the problem.
One of the more obvious signs that you might have a drainage problem is if your toilet, sink, bath or shower start draining slower than normal. This is usually a sign of a blockage somewhere in the system. If just one of your household drains is draining slowly, the problem might work itself out. However, if all of them are backed up, it is likely to be a problem with the sewer drain.
The easiest way to detect a toilet blockage is if, when flushed, your toilet water level rises higher than normal. If the blockage is caused by a partial waste blockage, using a plunger will probably remove it. However, if water rises to the point of overflowing, there could be a more serious issue within your drains.
Probably the least pleasant sign of a drainage problem is the terrible odours that can occur. Blocked drains tend to emit foul and unpleasant odours. Drains can become blocked due to food debris stuck in the pipes. As the food slowly decomposes it creates a noticeably bad smell, which appears worse if the tap has been turned on. You might catch the smell of sewage inside the house itself or outside around the drain cover.
Blockages can often be resolved by high pressure jetting of the external pipework, but a collapsed or damaged pipe will require more extensive excavation work to affect a repair. Having a CCTV drain survey carried out by a professional drainage company will highlight any blockages or damaged pipework.
Cracked or collapsed drains can often be a major cause of damp within a property. With a damaged drain, the flow of water will be heavily disrupted. This can lead to water flowing into the ground surrounding the drainpipe itself. Damaged drains can lead to issues such as penetrating damp and wet rot. If the pipe has collapsed underneath your home, you might be able to spot signs of damp on the walls or floor. Generally, the result of a leak will be localised to one area of a wall.
One of the more obvious visual signs of a collapsed drain pipe is subsidence. A collapsed drain can cause the ground around it to subside or sink over time. Subsidence is caused by water leaking from the pipe and into the ground and soil. This type of problem suggests the pipe has been damaged for quite some time. This can eventually lead to a visible slump or indentation in the ground. An extra green and lush patch of grass may also be a warning, as the leaked sewage can act as a fertiliser.
In cases where the damaged pipe lies beneath a building’s structural points, it’s possible for cracks to appear in the building itself, especially across the floors or in the walls. This is only likely to happen if a collapsed drain has not been dealt with for a substantial spell, and it may be expensive to deal with. Make sure that you have properly looked into the problem instead of simply choosing to repair the cracks themselves. If the underlying problem with the drains is not tackled, the cracks will reappear over time.
As part of the maintenance of your home it is important to ensure that your drains and sewers are properly cleaned and that issues are dealt with swiftly. Care should be taken, not to allow grease, fat or hair from entering the pipework, as this will solidify overtime and cause narrowing of the pipework, which if left will eventually block or damage the drainage system.
Having a Specific Defects Survey will highlight any issues and provide advice on how to rectify the problems.