A very common problem in both commercial and residential properties is blocked drains but this can actually be avoided relatively easily if you’re mindful about what you put down the drain in the first place.
Used cooking grease and fat, for example, are often washed down the kitchen sink but you should actually scrape dirty dishes and pans into the bin or use a fat trap to help prevent the buildup of fat and grease in the pipe network.
A big part of the problem when grease and fat find their way into the drains and sewer system is that they can contribute to the creation of fatbergs, some of which can be huge and cost thousands of pounds to sort out.
Wet wipes are another culprit that can easily lead to a blocked drain and you should always avoid flushing these, even if the packet says it’s fine to do so. They too can clog pipes and obstruct drains, so make sure they go in the bin instead, or perhaps invest in reusable cloths and avoid using wet wipes altogether.
It’s also important to make sure that you keep an eye on the exterior of your property, as well as being mindful about what you send down the drains when you’re in the home.
Leaves and other debris from trees can be washed into drains and cause obstructions in this way, so make sure you clean the garden regularly and build a compost heap for leaves to keep them out of the drain network.
However, wet wipes are in fact the biggest culprit, it would seem, with recent research from Water UK (the trade organisation that represents all the main water and sewerage companies in the country) revealing that these products make up 93 per cent of the material that causes sewer blockages.
Apparently, there are around 300,000 sewer blockages each and every year, which costs the country £100 million, money that could be used in other ways, such as improving services or reducing bills.
Water UK’s director of corporate affairs Rae Stewart said at the time: “There are things that water companies can do, such as improve education about what should and shouldn’t be flushed.
“There are things manufacturers can do, such as make labelling clearer on non-flushable products. And, of course, there are things individuals can do – which is bin the wipes rather than flush them.”
If you find you have a blocked drain, you’ll need to find out if the blocked pipework belongs to your water supplier or if it’s your own private drain.
If it’s the former, the supplier will come out to clear it for free and try to find out the cause of the blockage, but if it’s your own drain you’ll need to sort it yourself, whether that’s by attempting to unblock it on your own or by calling out a professional to help.
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