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Blocked drains if left, can lead to serious consequences such as flooding and subsequent damages. There is also the issue of understanding who is responsible for what drain and whether the issue is with your house or a communal fault.


First things first, to try and avoid these issues in the first place, check your drains and sewage pipes within and outside of your property so that you know the difference, where they are located and where your responsibilities begin or end. This is particularly important if you live in an apartment complex, always check your lease to understand your liability for waste pipes.


What is a drain?

“A drain is a pipe that drains water and waste from a building and other buildings which belong with it”


If there is a problem with the drains on your property, you or your landlord (if living in rented accommodation) are responsible for any drainage issues. These could be external or internal issues and the relevant checks would need to be made. If an issue is spotted by your local council, they can also enforce these works.


What is a sewer?

“A sewer is an underground conduit for carrying off drainage water and waste matter”


If there is a problem with the sewer because it collects water and waste from a number of properties it is most likely publicly owned and maintained by a water company. However, they may require access to private gardens etc to access these. Contact the water company if you think the problem is from the sewer.


How to unblock a drain

  1. If you see water levels rising, try to locate the source of the problem. Indoor drains are most commonly blocked by food waste, hygiene waste and hair. With outdoor drains, the blockage will most likely be leaves or build-up of dirt.
  2. Make sure you have the correct tools, a sink-plunger could work for indoor drains and you may need more complex equipment such as rods for external drains. Also, make sure you are wearing protective clothing and that you have eye and mouth shields.
  3. If an external issue, remove the drain cover, (they usually have a handle), lift these carefully. If there is no handle you may need further tools or assistance to open this.
  4. Be prepared for what you see! Drains are often unpleasant at the best of times… Inspect inside the drain, if it is full of water, the blockage is likely to be below the chamber. If the drain is dry, the blockage is likely to be above.
  5. Assemble the drain rods (ensure connection are secure) and put the plunger end on the affected pipe, plunge back and forth, twisting clockwise only (as to not disconnect the rod pieces).
  6. Keep doing this until it drains or it starts to flow to another pipe.
  7. Be sure to rinse the pipes through, try running clean water through the system from the taps inside to check the blockage has gone. You will need to run the water for at least a few minutes.


If this doesn’t work or you do not feel confident to carry out these measures then you will need to call a professional. If these steps do not fix the issue the problem may be more serious, perhaps a broken pipe under the house, act quickly to avoid potential damages such as issues to the foundations of your home.


Clockwork are experts in drainage and blockage issues, contact us to book a visit.

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