Blocked drains and sewers can be an expensive nightmare. Often the problem is relatively simple to fix, but in the worst case scenario where the toilet is completely backed up and nothing flows down the kitchen sink plughole, you may have no choice but to call in a contractor with trench shoring equipment to find out what’s going on underground.
Detecting drainage problems early on will save you a lot of money. Fortunately, detecting problems early means they can be fixed for less. Here are the main signs to look out for, along with a few tips on how to fix them.
Broken and Blocked Gutters
Gutters provide an essential service when it rains. They direct water away from the roof and channel it into a downpipe. Clean, well-designed gutters do a good job, but leaves, moss, weeds and stones all cause blockages. If a gutter is blocked, water will gush down the side of the house when it rains and you may end up with a damp problem. The best way to check the state of the gutters is to make a visual check and visit the property when it rains.
Blocked Downpipes and Drains
Blocked downpipes stop water draining away, so it builds up in the gutter and gushes down the side of the house. This will cause all the aforementioned problems. A broken downpipe will cause a lot of water to be dumped around the base of the house, which could lead to waterlogged soil. If the problem isn’t fixed, it could eventually affect the house’s foundations.
Blocked drains lead to a water build up at ground level. Again, this will cause damp in external walls and potentially issues with the property’s foundations, both of which are expensive to fix in the long-term.
Check the toilet to see how well it flushes. If there are no issues with the internal drainage system, the toilet should flush first time and clear everything in the bowl. If anything is left, or the water rises quite high before draining away, there is a blockage somewhere in the system. This could either be in the ‘U’ bend, or further along the soil pipe.
Nasty smells, poor drainage and strange gurgling sounds when water washes down the plughole are signs of a blockage somewhere along the system. In bathrooms, this is usually caused by poorly designed pipework, but it can also be a build-up of hair and soap debris.
Either way, it is a good idea to ask a plumber to take a look, just in case there are tree roots growing into the outside drainage system.
When viewing properties, it is sensible to be extremely thorough. Look out for signs that there may be an issue with drainage inside and outside the property, and if you do see anything suspicious, ask an expert to take a look. That way you can avoid any expensive repair bills when you move in.