How To Spot A Drain Blockage

When we turn on the tap, do we know where our water goes? Every time we use the toilet, go for a shower or wash up after dinner, do we understand what happens to the wastewater? It’s understandable that we forget or don’t think about it at all – once the water is gone, it’s gone. Right?

No – it needs to travel through the pipework and into the local sewage system. As we regularly undertake drain unblocking in Reading here at Drain Gain, we cannot stress enough the importance of people thinking about the items that may be disposed of down our drains – purposefully or by accident. Non-naturally perishing items will build up inside the pipework and cause a blockage that will see water unable to travel to its destination. Where is the wastewater supposed to go then? It isn’t too difficult to imagine…


Drain Unblocking in Reading

Having been carrying out drain unblocking in Reading and throughout the South East for many years now, we have gained a unique insight into the plumbing issues that affect everyday life. Read on to learn more about the causes of a blocked drain.


What Causes Drain Blockages?

Blocked drains are all too common in the home – with regular care and attention they can be treated before any major issues do occur. Some of the main causes of blocked drains include:


  • Grease and fat being disposed of down the kitchen sink is perhaps the most common cause of a blockage, as these substances stick inside the water pipes and eventually build up over time to clog-up the drains, leading to wastewater not being able to be disposed of. Being amongst the most-common, it’s also one of the easiest to prevent. When you’re disposing of grease or fat from a cooking instrument, use a container (such as an old coffee jar) and pour the substance into it. The liquid will solidify and when that occurs, you can choose to reuse it again (great to save money on cooking fats!) or find out information from your local council on how you should dispose of it (as many have different criteria in regards to its disposal).


  • Toiletry items, other than specific toilet paper, should NEVER be flushed down the pan to dispose of it. Toilet paper is specifically made from a thin, easy-breakable material so it can travel through the waste pipes and eventually disparate – even kitchen towels shouldn’t be flushed down a toilet. Blocked toilets are all-too common as people make the mistake of flushing items such as nappies, baby wipes and sanitary towels down the toilet. Being thick and not made from the same materials as toilet paper, they will simply stick to the pipes or inside a drain, causing a blockage. These items should be disposed of by wrapping the used materials in a sanitary bag and placed in the general waste bin.


  • On a similar bathroom theme, Hair is another common cause of drain blockages – although hairs may seem soft and delicate, they can easily tangle together inside of a water pipe and prevent most (and eventually, all) water not being able to pass through the pipe. There are a number of products that can filter out hairs from going down the sink, bathtub and shower – but always make sure to check for hairs in or around the plughole on a regular basis.


  • Foreign objects can be defined as anything non liquid-based that find themselves in the sink or drain. Items such as bits of soap and food can build up over time and cause a blockage, so always pay close attention to what you put in the sink. Ensure that all food is thrown away before the plates are placed in the sink. Always check close to a drain on a constant basis for any signs of a foreign object – discarded bits of soap (and hair) can be washed down the drain as soon as you turn the shower on, for example.


  • It isn’t just indoor drains that need to be checked on a regular basis, of course, but the drains outside are easily susceptible to leaves, trees and even litter blowing inside them and causing blockages and an overflow of wastewater. Always check your outside drains for any signs of blockages and be sure to stay atop of your garden maintenance to prevent leaves, trees and litter from infiltrating your drains. You could also place a drain filter over older, larger types of drains that will let water flow into it but nothing else.


What Happens If Blockages Aren’t Treated?

If water cannot flow through your drainage system, it will simply overflow causing damage to your property, including electrical damage (especially water that regurgitates back from the pipes and into a washing machine).

A blocked drain can be detected by any, or a combination of, the following signs:


  • Sight – The most obvious sign of a blockage, is of course, when the water either goes down the plughole slowly or not at all, regurgitating itself. Look for signs of water coming back through all appliances that use water – including your washing machine.


  • Sounds – Any unusual sounds that emanate from water-draining appliances may be a sign of a poor-functioning drain. The classic identifier is a toilet that makes a ‘gurgling sound’ when flushed.


  • Smell – Often dismissed because of their role in getting rid of wastewater, a foul-smelling drain is probably a sign that there’s a blockage somewhere in the drainage system. Aside from being unpleasant (with the smell likely to go back into the property if not treated) the added menace provided by a blocked drain, is that the wastewater could regurgitate, flowing back from whence it came, affecting the property and the land surrounding it.


Even with great care and attention, malfunctioning drains do occur. So if any of these issues transpire, you should get in touch with a waste management professional right away to treat the problem before it escalates.


Drain Clearance In Reading, Berkshire and Throughout The South East

If you would like more information on our drain unblocking in Reading service, or for any further information on drain clearance in general, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today. Give us a call on 01491 598400