Signs of a blocked or damaged drain

26 Feb. 18

6 Signs Your Drains are Blocked or Damaged

Drainage issues can cause a lot of disruption throughout any property.

It can be tough 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 for too long can end up being very costly to fix. Not just financially, but in the time it’ll take to fix the problems.

At Drain 247, we’ve highlighted some key things to look out for if you think you might have a problem with your drainage. Keep an eye, an ear and nose out for these symptoms. If you do experience any, don’t hesitate to take action.

Water draining slowly

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. But it can also be caused by a collapsed pipe. Blockages can often be resolved with drain jetting. But a collapsed pipe will need to be repaired to fully counter your drainage problem. In this case you’ll need to have a CCTV drain survey carried out by a professional drainage company.

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. If there is a blockage in the lines, it will hold the waste water within the pipework. This will then fill up the manhole with old and new garbage that comes in from the lines running into it. In some extreme cases, the sewer overflows and waste water floods onto the surface. With it comes unpleasant smells and all types of harmful germs, as well as damage to the property.

Smell coming from the 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.

If you can still notice the smell after the pipe has been cleaned then this might be a sign that there is a damaged or collapsed pipe somewhere in the system. A CCTV drain survey will be able to identify the affected area quickly so work can be carried out to fix the problem.

Raised water level in toilet

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 much more serious issue within your drains. A toilet auger may work in this case, but the best thing to do is to call in the experts. They will be able to identify and resolve the issue quickly and efficiently.

If you have issues with rising water levels in the toilet you should also keep an ear out for…

Drains making gurgling sounds

If your pipes and fixtures sound different to normal, it could be an indication of a blockage. Gurgling noises from drains, plug holes, toilet flushes and pipes are early warning signs. The gurgling sound indicates that there is trapped air in the drain that is escaping when you run water.

Often, the combination of dirt and grease can build up in the drains and the plumbing. This buildup can cause the water to drain slowly. As a result, the air bubbles can not go through the pipes and get expelled at the nearest vent. This is why you can hear a gurgling noise. In a clean and clear drain, water and air bubbles can easily flow together down a drain, with the air and water getting expelled in their appropriate spots. You may find there is a gurgling noise that is present for every drain in the house. If so, this indicates that there is a larger blockage in the main pipe rather than a smaller pipe attached to the fitting drain.

A trained drainage professional will be able to identify the cause of the drain gurgling and will be able to suggest the best form of action.

Signs of damp

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.

If you notice localised damp patches, contact a drainage professional before the damage becomes irreparable. Left unattended, damp can be a serious problem – especially if you’re unable to fight the source.

Subsidence, cracks and structural damage

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 will 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.

What can you do about it?

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to drains. There is a wealth of information about how to look after your drains properly. If you avoid putting food or oil down the drain and don’t flush anything except toilet paper your drains will be the better for it.

However, if you have noticed any of these signs you should contact a drainage professional as soon as possible. Getting the issue fixed quickly will reduce the risk of causing more permanent and costly damage to your property. Drain 247 use the latest technology, coupled with our years of experience, to ensure you won’t experience any of these drainage symptoms anymore. We can be with you in less than an hour and can usually diagnose and fix the issues the same day at a fixed price.

If you’re in London, Middlesex, Hertfordshire or the surrounding areas, give our friendly team a call today on 0800 612 8038 or email us at info@drain247.co.uk.