Blocked Drains: What You Need To Know

Blocked Drains: What You Need To Know
27/12/2019 Joshua George
Blocked drains caused by currants

Blocked drains can cause endless problems, particularly if they’re not unblocked quickly. When a complete blockage occurs, water will be unable to flow through the drain at all. Unfortunately, this invariably leads to flooding.

Whether a complete blockage occurs in an internal or external drain, it can cause significant damage to your property. If a bathroom sink becomes blocked, for example, water will stand in the sink and eventually cascade on to nearby surfaces and floors. If left unattended, this will then soak into masonry, timber and floorboards.

While external drain issues may not seem as disastrous, they certainly can be. As well as flooding your garden or driveway, outdoor flooding can affect your property. Often pooling around the foundations, unresolved or chronic flooding can affect the structure of your home.

Of course, blocked drains present a health and safety risk too. When bacteria is allowed to build up in a blockage, it can then gain access into bathrooms and kitchens. With the potential to cause serious health problems, it’s vital that blocked drains are avoided.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways you can minimise the risk of drains blocking. Whether you’re dealing with a commercial building or residential property, it’s possible to prevent blocked drains completely. To ensure you don’t suffer the consequences of blocked drains, take a look at these top tips now…

1. Oils and fats

When used for cooking, oils and fats take on a liquidised form. Due to this, people often assume that they can be poured down the sink. However, both oil and fat are heavier than water. This means they won’t flow along the pipe in the same way that water does. Instead, they’ll sink to the bottom. As they cool, they’ll begin to turn into a solid mass, which results in your drain getting blocked.

Blocked drains caused by oil

Oil, fat and grease can easily cause drains to block

Although oils and fats may not cause an immediate blockage, they will impede the flow of water. If your sink begins to drain slowly, for example, it could be because a blockage is building up. Instead of disposing of oils and fats in a sink or toilet, put them in a suitable container and dispose of them along with your household rubbish.

2. Nappies and wipes

Even though many wipes are advertised as ‘flushable’, they invariably cause drainage issues. As these products aren’t generally biodegradable, they won’t disintegrate when they’re exposed to water. As a result, it’s easy for them to get stuck in drains and clog them completely.

While flushing nappies and wipes down the toilet may seem like the most hygienic way to dispose of them, it really isn’t. Placing them in biodegradable nappy sacks, in your household waste, is by far the safest option.

3. Coffee grounds

The rise of at-home coffee machines and makers means more of us can enjoy a professional brew at any time. However, many people try to dispose of fresh coffee grounds via household drainage systems. If you’re tempted to put the odd spoonful of coffee grounds down the sink; don’t!

Blocked drains caused by coffee grounds

Don’t let coffee grounds cause blocked drains

Surprisingly, coffee grounds are becoming one of the most common causes of blocked drains. Although people tend to assume that they will dissolve in water, this is rarely the case. In some instances, people even put filters in drains too, which will certainly cause blockages.

4. Hair

No-one likes cleaning out the bath plug or shower tray but it’s a job that must be done. If you don’t, you’ll find that a build-up of hair can quickly cause your drains to become blocked. When this happens, your bath or shower will begin to drain slowly before it stops draining altogether. If the blockage occurs near to the plughole, you may be able to remove it yourself.

However, hair often travels partway down the drain before it clogs it. This means you’ll be unable to reach it and will require professional unblocking services. If you’re squeamish about cleaning out the plughole, it’s worth investing in a drain cover which will prevent hair reaching the drain and save you having to unclog your drains regularly.

5. Paint

Just because paint is a liquid when it’s applied, this doesn’t mean it can be disposed of down drains or toilets. Many people think this is an effective way to dispose of unused paint, but it can cause a whole host of problems. As paint is thicker than water, it won’t flow through the drainage system effectively. This means blockages will build up.

Furthermore, when the drain isn’t being used, the paint will begin to dry. At this point, it becomes harder, which means the blockage will stay put. In addition to this, most paints contain harmful chemicals. If they remain in your drains, they could travel back up through the pipes into your home or workplace. Similarly, the presence of harmful chemicals could affect the integrity of the drain, leading to cracks and collapses.

Resolving Blocked Drains Quickly

If you notice that your sinks, showers, baths or toilets are draining slowly, it’s important to act fast. Avoid using the affected drains, if possible, and seek help instead. By resolving a partial blockage, you can stop the drain from becoming completely blocked. This will also minimise the risk of flooding and help to stop the drain becoming irreparably damaged.

Once a drain has become blocked, however, it’s essential that the blockage is removed as quickly as possible. With our speedy 2-hour response time, you can be sure that professional engineers will be on site to resolve the issue within a short space of time.

To resolve blocked drains and protect your home or workplace, contact FS Drainage now on 0800 689 3497 or email us at

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