How to Tell if an Outside Drain is Blocked

A blocked outside drain can cause serious problems if not addressed promptly.

Slow drainage, water pooling, or unpleasant odours are common signs that your drain might be blocked.

Bits of food and organic matter can get stuck in the pipes, leading to a bad smell as they start to decompose.

When water takes longer to drain away from your garden or driveway, it often indicates a blockage.

Tree roots or debris could be obstructing the flow within the pipes.

Regular maintenance can help prevent blockages, but deeper issues might need professional help.

In some cases, frequent blockages despite regular cleaning might suggest more severe problems like tree root intrusion or broken pipes.

Consulting a professional like us who can use CCTV surveys to diagnose the issue may be necessary.

It’s crucial to act quickly to minimise damage and avoid costly repairs.

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    Identifying Blockage Signs

    Recognising the signs of a blocked outside drain can save you from extensive damage and costly repairs.

    Pay close attention to the noises, drainage speed, smells, and any visible overflow.

    Unusual Noises

    When your drain is blocked, you might hear gurgling or bubbling sounds from your pipes.

    These noises occur as water struggles to pass through the obstruction, creating air pockets.

    Turn on your tap or flush the toilet to check for these sounds.

    Sometimes, the noises are more noticeable when water is draining slowly, providing a clear indication of a blockage.

    Slow Drainage

    If water takes longer to drain from your sink, bath, or patio, it’s often a sign of a block in the outside drain.

    Monitor how quickly water disappears after use or following heavy rain.

    Slow drainage might begin gradually, so it’s important to be observant and act promptly.

    Even minor slowdowns can indicate a developing problem.

    Bad Odours

    A foul smell can be one of the most obvious signs of a blocked drain.

    Rotten food, grease, and other organic matter stuck in the pipes will decompose, emitting unpleasant odours.

    These smells often become stronger when you run water, as this disturbs the trapped waste.

    Investigate any unusual smells coming from your drains to confirm a blockage.

    Visible Overflow

    Overflowing water around your drain is a clear visual cue of a blockage.

    Look for water pooling around the drain cover or flooding in areas connected to your outside drainage system.

    This visible sign usually means the blockage is severe and requires immediate attention to prevent further issues.

    Check after heavy rains for any overflow to stay ahead of potential damage.

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    Assessing the Drain Condition

    Understanding the condition of your outside drain can help you determine if there’s a blockage. Two primary methods can assist in this: conducting a visual inspection and checking nearby drains.

    Conducting a Visual Inspection

    Begin by removing the drain cover. Use a torch to look inside the drain.

    Check for any debris, leaves, or other visible obstructions.

    If you see anything blocking the drain, use gloves to carefully remove it.

    If the drain is still blocked, consider using a plunger.

    Place the plunger over the drain and create a tight seal. Push and pull the plunger vigorously to try and move the blockage.

    In some cases, you might need hot water and baking soda.

    Pour boiling water into the drain, followed by a cup of bicarbonate of soda. This may help to clear minor blockages.

    Checking Nearby Drains

    Look at other drains around your home. When one drain is blocked, others might be affected.

    Notice if water is backing up in multiple locations during or after rain.

    If you see water pooling around other drain openings, it can be a sign of a larger issue in the system.

    Check for signs of water not draining away properly.

    Monitoring nearby drains can give you a better understanding of the overall condition.

    If multiple drains are blocked, it’s often a sign of a deeper problem needing professional attention.

    Regular checks on these nearby drains can prevent severe blockages.

    Common Causes of Blockages

    Blocked outside drains can be a major nuisance. Understanding the common causes can help you prevent and address these issues promptly.

    Tree Roots Intrusion

    Tree roots can cause serious damage to your drain pipes. As trees grow, their roots naturally seek out water sources and can infiltrate pipes through small cracks.

    Once inside, the roots expand and can completely block the pipe.

    Signs of root intrusion:

    • Slow drainage
    • Unpleasant odours
    • Visible roots near the drain

    If you suspect root intrusion, consulting a professional may be necessary for a thorough inspection and solution.

    Fat and Grease Build-Up

    Fat, oil, and grease are major culprits in blockage issues. These substances can accumulate in your drains, especially after cooking.

    When they cool, they solidify and stick to the pipes.

    Prevention tips:

    • Avoid pouring grease down the drain
    • Use a grease trap
    • Regularly flush drains with hot water

    Fat and grease build-up can lead to stubborn blockages that may require professional cleaning.

    Foreign Objects

    Foreign objects can easily cause blockages if not disposed of correctly.

    Common items include wet wipes, sanitary products, and small toys, which can get caught in the pipe and cause serious clogs.

    Key objects to avoid:

    • Wet wipes
    • Nappies
    • Sanitary products

    Make sure to dispose of these items in the bin and not down the drain to prevent clogs.

    Structural Damage

    Older pipes are more prone to structural issues such as cracks or collapses.

    Heavy soil, pressure from above, or natural wear and tear can lead to pipe damage, causing blockages and leaks.

    Indicators of structural damage:

    • Water pooling in the yard
    • Sudden drop in water pressure
    • Frequent blockages

    Addressing structural damage usually requires professional intervention to repair or replace the affected pipes.

    Preventative Measures

    By taking some simple steps, you can keep your outside drains clear and avoid the headache of blockages.

    Regular Cleaning

    Keeping your outside drains clean is essential.

    Start by checking and cleaning them once a month.

    Remove any debris like leaves, twigs, or dirt from the drain opening.

    Pour boiling water down the drain to dissolve any grease build-up.

    Boiling water is effective for removing soap scum and grease.

    You can also use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to break down any minor blockages before they become problematic.

    Regular maintenance ensures that small issues are handled promptly.

    Proper Waste Disposal

    Dispose of waste properly to prevent clogs.

    Avoid pouring grease, fat, or oil down the drain, as these substances can solidify and cause blockages.

    Instead, collect and throw away grease in a container. Be mindful of what gets washed down the drain.

    Solid waste like food scraps should go in the bin, not the drain.

    Using a strainer in your kitchen sink to catch food particles can also help reduce the risk of clogging your outdoor drains.

    Installing Guards and Filters

    Install guards or filters over your drain covers. These devices catch debris such as leaves and rubbish before they can enter the drain system.

    Guards and filters are especially useful during autumn when leaves are more likely to accumulate.

    You can purchase these guards from a hardware store and easily install them yourself.

    Regularly check and empty the guards to keep them effective. Implementing these measures is an excellent way to prevent larger problems down the road.

    Professional Intervention

    If basic fixes do not resolve your blocked drain issue, it may be time to call a professional.

    Knowing when to reach out for expert help and what services to expect can save you time and prevent further damage.

    When to Call in Jonny’s Drains

    You’ll want to contact Jonny’s Drains if you notice persistent issues despite your best efforts.

    Signs include recurring blockages, foul odours, or if water is backing up into your home.

    Another reason to call is when DIY methods, like using boiling water or a plunger, fail.

    Professionals have specialised equipment that can handle tougher blockages you’re unlikely to deal with on your own.

    Additionally, if you spot any cracks or unusual water accumulation near your drain, these are red flags signalling that intervention is needed.

    Timely professional help can prevent more severe problems and costly repairs down the line.

    What to Expect from a Drainage Expert

    A drainage expert will first assess the situation to identify the blockage’s cause and location. They use high-tech tools like CCTV cameras to get a clear view inside the drains. This allows for pinpointing the exact problem area.

    Once identified, they employ tools such as high-pressure jetting to clear the blockage effectively.

    In more severe cases, they might recommend a drain relining service, which involves reinforcing the inside of your existing drain pipe. This method is less invasive than full pipe replacement.

    After the job is done, experts generally offer advice on maintaining your drains to avoid future blockages.

    Request A Call Back Today

    Let us call you when it's convenient for you. Request a callback and we will contact you as soon as possible to see what we can do for you.

    Need a drain unblocking? No problem!

    Many of my customers in Westerham, Kent report of blocked drains, be it toilet and sink blockages, blocked waste pipes or manholes. If you discover a blockage, don’t delay. I offer a 24 hour, 7 days a week service and can often unblock your drain within an hour. So if you have emergency drainage issues, contact Jonnys Drains straight away on 01959 928 853.

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