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Be Nice to your Drains!

Kitchen sink

Drains really are one of those things everyone takes for granted. We don’t see them; we really don’t even think about them and so we are often not very nice to them. But what would we do without them?

A Drain is a Drain

Well not really. We have internal drainage in our homes like the type you find in your sink or bath but we also have drainage coming from dishwashers, washing machines and more. We also have external drains and these are often the ones where the big problems can occur. While we may notice a slow draining bath because of too much hair most people would never even think about the drain that goes from their house to the main sewer pipe in the road. But they are all linked and treating one badly can have knock on effects and cause big problems with the other. This problem works both ways too! By blocking an internal drain you can block an external drain but an blocked external drain can cause all manner of issues inside the home too.

An Case in Point – Worthing

A few weeks ago we attended a call out in Worthing where the customer was reporting slow draining sinks in the house and an odd smell outside. We do a lot of blocked drain work in Worthing but this case was an interesting one. The issue was around a fat and baby wipe build up on the main drain outside the home. They had been putting hot fat down the sink after a Sunday fry up every week for months and months which is bad enough. However, a recent arrival of a baby meant a huge number of non-biodegradable baby wipes had been added to this via the toilet. The result?….a big blockage. Eventually the fat would have caused a big issue but it was the perfect storm when the added material got involved too.

Common Problems

Of course, Worthing isn’t the only place this kind of issue happens , these issues are very common across the UK and beyond! The cause of most of the issues is simply that people do not know what they should and should not put down the sink or toilet. Most of the time if it doesn’t block there and then people assume it is OK but more often than not it is the cumulative effect that causes the issue and not a single event.

What Should You Do?

First of all do not put fats and oils down the sink – this blog post explains why in more detail –Fats and Oils

But on top of that try to avoid mashing too much food after washing up, use a plug catcher to get the worst of the food and put it in the bin. Foods like pasta, cereal and rice can cause a lot of problems. Avoid putting baby wipes in the toilet, it is hard but they can really cause some big problems. The key really is to think before you put anything into your drainage system. if it can possibly be removed and put into the bin then do it because the less solid or waste likely to solidify that goes into the drains the better.

Be nice to your drains and whilst we do love to be busy we also appreciate you may not really want to call us so the nicer you are to your drains the less likely you are to need us!

 

 

Damp in Your Home Could Be Caused By Blocked or Damaged Pipework

Damp isn’t really something people in hotter countries have to worry about but it is certainly a common problem in the UK. Our “lovely” temperate climate means we get wet winters, and quite humid summers….oh and often wet summers too! In fact generally we get a lot of rain most of the year. However, damp isn’t always caused by rain and moisture in the air it can actually be caused by damaged pipework and plumbing and even blocked drains.

damp

Mysterious Damp Area

A lot of people have a part of the house that seems prone to damp patches. The mould and growth is often wiped away or just managed with chemicals but the cause of it can be serious enough to warrant some action. What can happen is pipework behind the wall can leak and this allows water into the wall cavity or the plaster. It can happen in such small amounts initially that it doesn’t cause much of an issue and this is where the damp patch comes from.

Act Now

Because this process is often very slow people tend to ignore it but it can and will only get worse so it is best to speak to us right away and see what can be done. The pipe could eventually break and completely fail but even if that doesn’t happen the slow steady ingress of water will gradually cause more and more damage to the wall itself.

Other Causes

What can also happen is a blocked bath, shower or even external drain can cause water to stay in the pipes which eventually make them more prone to leakage. Even a tiny amount of moisture can start to cause a damp issue and given enough time will create a problem.

Our team of experts are skilled in all things drain related from unblocking to repairing external drains to working on baths, sinks, toilets and showers as well as general plumbing and heating. This broad range of skills mean we have seen it all and can help with damp problems caused by plumbing issues.

Case Study – Blocked and Slow Draining Urinals

Among a great deal of residential drain unblocking work we do we also have a lot of larger commercial customers too. We work in Schools, Care home, Offices, Universities and other large public buildings so we come across a lot of different jobs.

commercial blocked urinals

The Problem

We wee recently called to a commercial customer’s building where 2 out of 3 urinals kept blocking and failing to drain properly. This was naturally a big problem and not pleasant for visitors and employees either. After some investigation we discovered the reason for the issue. It was simply that each urinal had its own mini cistern and the exiting water pressure to the room just wasn’t enough to fill each one evenly. The result? well the first one would get plenty of water and the other two didn’t get enough.

The Solution

The solution was simple. We decided to install one larger cistern that could fill properly with the existing water pressure and would deliver an even flush across all three as a result. Once installed it worked perfectly first time and the customer was very pleased. The job involved removing the old cisterns, installing the new one and, of course, cleaning and repairing the walls that were left behind the old cisterns.

single cistern repair commercial urinals

If you need any help with commercial drain unblocking, commercial plumbing or anything related to drainage at all then get in touch today and we can organise a site visit to get the job done.

Case Study – Plumbing in a Big American Style Fridge

There is a lot of choice out there these days when it comes to fridges. In this country it used to be simple under the counter options or fridge freeze combos. However, things have changed and the growth in popularity in the big American style double door fridges is showing no signs of going away. These monsters has ice machines, cold water taps and double doors as well as multiple compartments inside. While these fridges are good if you have the space many people don’t realise they are not simple plug and play fridges like we are used too.

plumbing for fridge

Water Supply

We were recently called out to help someone who had bought a big US Style fridge and suddenly realised it needed it’s own mains water supply for the ice maker and water dispenser. The had failed to plan for this and the only spot the fridge could go in the kitchen was a long way from any existing water supply.

Plumbing in an American style fridge

New Water Supply

We were tasked with creating a totally new water supply as there was no existing piping anywhere near. We created the new pipework underneath the existing units, set everything up and were able to get it all plumbed in and up and running in no time. This was not an easy job and took some planning but the result was worth it.

The customer now has a fully plumbed in and working American Fridge with ice machine and cold water….something they will no doubt be very pleased about in this hot weather!

While we do a great deal of work on blocked drains in Horsham, Worthing, Hove and other areas we are also able to offer plumbing services. Our skilled team has year of experience in plumbing and drainage because they are often so closely linked.

What is a Pre Purchase Drain Survey?

Pre purchase drain surveys are also known as home buyers drain surveys. They are becoming more and more popular with first time buyers and experienced home owners but what are they and why might you need one?

Basically a pre purchase drain survey is just that; it is a full detailed survey of the drains in and around a property done before someone buys it. Buying a home is a serious thing and making sure everything is in good condition is nothing new but it seems drains have often been forgotten about only to become a very expensive problem later on.

What’s the Difference between a normal survey and a drain survey?

A normal RICS survey like a home buyers report or full building survey is focused very much on the property itself. By this we mean it looks at walls, ceilings, damp, structural issues, brick work and rendering and much more. It also covers some of the boundary issues and even things like loft spaces and windows. A pre purchase drain survey will look at a check a totally different a rarely thought of part of the property. Where the normal survey stops he drain survey begins. The only time a RICS surveyor will look at drains is if they feel there is an issue that they noticed at the surface or in the home like an odd smell. They would simply not be able to see if roots were growing into a pipe in the garden or if there was a connection issue out towards the road for example.

Normal surveys are critical when buying a house but so is a drain survey. The results of not getting one can be the same; expense, stress and repair work.

Is It Important with a New Build?

As with most things, the newer it is the less likely there is to be an issues. That being said however, there have been a number of cases of new build homes with drain issues where things were not installed properly in the first place. The advantage of getting a drain survey done is that the results can be used to get the construction company to pay for the repair work.

How Do I Know the Drains are All Part of the Property?

Most pre purchase drain surveys will actually help map out the drains as well as work out the ownership and responsibility. This can be very useful for a number of reasons. The first reason is that it’s useful to know before purchase especially if anything is wrong. The second is that an issue could arise 5 years down the line and having clear evidence and information to show which parts of the system are yours, the water companies or the neighbours could save a lot of time and money. The final reason is then when or if you come to sell the property this kind of report can really have a positive affect on a potential buyer.

 

If you would like more information about this kind of survey then Click Here OR if you would simply like to speak to us and book in your survey then Contact Us Today.

Have I Got A Collapsed Drain?

We see a lot of different issues with drains as you might imagine. However, one of the worst things that can happen to a properties drains is a collapse. The problem with a collapsed drain, apart from the repair issue is actually knowing it has happened. Below are a few signs you may need to get us in to have a look. We are able to use CCTV technology to survey the drain it self and identify the issue.

Slow Drains

Although certainly not just a sign of a collapse if all your drainage seems to slow quite quickly over a couple of days then it is a strong sign part of the drain could have collapsed. Blockages tend to build slowly unless it is a single item which is causing the issue.

Sewage Smell

Again, not a fool proof sign but if you can smell waste in the garden and even in the house it could well be from the fact the drain is simply not working at all. But rather than backing up the waste water may be leaking out into the foundations and surrounding substrate.

Damp

Another issue related to the previous sign is signs of damp appearing. Because the waste water it not leaving the property it may well cause damp patches to appear around the house. These may be found on the floor or walls; damp can be cause by various things but combined with other symptoms mentioned here could be a strong clue about a collapse.

Extreme Signs

If a collapsed drain is left for a long time there are a number of more extreme signs you may see. These are important if you are viewing a new property because you may not be able to asses when the other issues started. One sign is cracking and damage to the building, the end result of this can be subsidence. This is caused where the water is leaking into the foundations for a long period of time. It can undermine the structural integrity of the building itself but also driveways and patios. You may see cracking in the walls, but look out for cracked driveways too.

Ultimately if you have a drain issue it is best to call us because catching things early is always the key. The best case is that it’s a simple blockage that we can fix easily. It may even be a damaged pipe where a root has finally grown through; whatever it is we can help. But if it is a collapse it is critical we identify it and help organise remedial work as soon as possible.

Contact our friendly team today if you are concerned about your drains.

 

Commercial Drainage – Platinum Catch Pit

Platinum drain clearing

We work on a lot of commercial projects from drain clearance on new housing developments to hospitals, schools and more but recently our team found themselves working with a drainage system filled with…well filled with platinum!

Precious Metal

It is certainly not everyday we find ourselves working with such a valuable material. We certainly see a lot of things in drains but precious metals are not one of the most common ones. This particular job was for a large industrial plant where they work with platinum. Of course as the products are worked on small amounts of the material are washed off and find their way into the catch pit. If the factory worked on things made of a less valuable material there may not have been a need for us but in this case clearing this catch pit is actually worth more than its weight in gold.

catch pit

How It All Works

For obvious reasons we cannot mention any locations or even exact processes or products but the general direction of the work was very interesting. Our job was to clean all the chemical drain runs around and feeding into the catch pit and make sure everything ended up where it was meant to be. We were also asked to carry out a CCTV survey to make sure the condition of the drains were as they should be. A leak from a drain here could be very costly indeed!

The next step was to then extract all the contents of the pit. This is then taken away and processed. All of that “waste” contains a substantial amount of platinum and could well be the most valuable drainage waste around!

commercial drain clearing

Commercial Work

Commercial contract work is always interesting. The types of job are enormous and our team have worked on most of them. We take a lot of pride in being asked to work on something where security and professional practice are top priorities and we love to do a good job.

If you are looking for a contractor for any kind of commercial drainage work then get in touch today. Our professional team are able to work in a huge range of commercial environments from facilities management projects to large scale commercial drainage situations like this one.

We Find Some Odd Things Blocking Drains

It will come as no surprise that we find all sorts of odd things blocking drains and generally causing issues. However, on a recent job we found something we had not come across before.

The Issue

A person contacted us saying that two drain companies had been to help them over the last few weeks and nothing had changed. Their storm drain had been blocking repeatedly and no one seemed to be able to work out why. The other companies had come and tried various things but none seemed to have used any cameras to see the full picture.

Camera Team

Our CCTV systems are very useful when it comes to looking down deep into drains and pipes to see what is causing the issue. What used to be a job involving a lot of assumption, experience and a bit of guess work is now much more accurate. In this case the customer was very pleased to see this new weapon in what was becoming quite a long battle.

The Offending Item

After a few minutes of working the camera down the 9 inch storm drain our guys came across a round white object. It took them a minute or two to figure out what it was…yes you guessed it. It was a football and it was sitting squarely over the drainage hole. What had been happening was that as water went down it sometimes floated and move around and other time as the pressure built it got sucked against the hole. So the issue was intermittent and also tricky to diagnose without actually seeing it.

CCTV drain image of football

Back to Normal

Once the issue was identified the ball was removed completely and flow was restored. The customer was delighted and so were our team. It is always great to put an end to an ongoing problem and even better when our lovely CCTV gear proves itself useful once again!

Other Items

We have seen a lot of silly things put down drains from nappies, fats and oils to clothing, toys and more. But there are some famous items that really take the biscuit.

  •  In 2014 during a huge £14 million investment into the London drains half a mini was found…yes that is half an entire car!
  • In the US a 20 foot Alligator was found in a storm drain in 2007!
  • In 2015 Scottish water found a Fax machine in a drain. Not only is it an odd thing to put down there but where do you even get one these days?

Although we are very happy to come and repair the damage caused by odd things being put down the drain it is always wise to stop and think before you flush or try and get something down the sink. The risk of blocking, flooding and costly damage is a big one and it is one easily avoided.

Get In Touch if you have an ongoing drain problem that no one seems to be able to fix, we probably can!

Why Are CCTV Drain Surveys So Good?

CCTV drain survey

Whilst we appreciate drains are perhaps not something everyone wants to talk about all the time the recent growth in CCTV drain surveys really is an interesting one and certainly one that makes a lot of our customers very happy.

What’s Down There?

Having a blocked drain can be quit stressful, it is something that can really play on the mind of people. The issue is the mystery, not knowing what is causing the blockage can really cause a lot of worry. “Could it be costly?”, “will it go away?”. Then others questions arise like “Will I need to call the insurance company” and “what if this heavy rain forecast causes a damaging flood?” All of this can really be quite worrying so when we arrive with our CCTV equipment ready to identify the issue and fix it customers seem very happy indeed.

How Does it Work?

Well, as amazing as it is, CCTV Drain Surveys are not rocket science in terms of how it all works. They are, however, quite tricky to use and not something just anyone can master. The process involves all the usual jobs like finding the manhole cover, setting out all the equipment and opening up the drain. The next step is to start feeding the camera down into the drain to see what the problem is. We can look into very small drains, even down to 50mm so this is not just something for major issues. While the camera is moving along it is recording and sending a feed back to the surface. The images are high resolution and very good quality which is critical if we are going to accurately see what the issue is.

What Happens Next?

There are two main things that happen after the camera has been down the problematic drain. The first is that sometimes we can clearly see the issue and we can set about fixing it. The other is that we need to take the footage back to DG HQ and go through it forensically looking for the problem. In the second instance we produce a DVD or a USB stick with all the video on it for the customer. We then send it to them to discuss the issues we have found which could be tree roots, broken pipes and other similar issues. Part of this process is to also advise and quote on the repair work with a swift and long lasting resolution in mind!

CCTV Drain Surveys really are brilliant, they allow us to see what we could never see before and get tot he bottom of issues for customers faster and far cheaper. If you have a drain mystery then get in touch and let us solve it for you!

 

Drain Cleaning Chemicals are not Always Good Idea

2 sodium hypochlorite

If you have a drainage issue at home or in the work place it is all too easy to buy some heavy duty “block busting” chemical and throw it all down the offending plug hole. But there are a few considerations to think about before leaping to this decision and some are quite important!

Money Down The Drain

Most sink unblocking magic remedies are expensive and a lot of the time they simply don’t work. While trying to get a drain moving you could easily try 3 or 4 different solutions and see only marginal benefit only to then find it blocked again in a few weeks.

The Environment

There are a number of different angles to the environmental impact of drain clearing chemicals. Many are not considered pollutants because they break down on contact with water but there is evidence that large amounts of the various chemicals on offer can cause harm to wildlife. There is, of course, the added issue of the production of the products and the containers. If you add both factors together buying a bottle or four of sink unblocker and chucking it down the drain doesn’t sound such a good idea.

Keeping Poisons

If you have small children you will know they literally get into everything and having bottles of highly toxic chemicals hanging around under the sink is really not a great idea. Even if they are well secured it is still something most people would rather they didn’t have around. There is also the safety aspect of actually using these things. It is pretty easy to get a little splash in the eye and end up having to take a trip to A&E.

Professionals

This is by no means a suggestion that calling the Drain Guys is the only way to deal with a blocked drain but it is the best. There are two reasons for this:

  1. We do not need to use harmful chemicals to get the job done.
  2. When we do it, it’s done properly and is far less likely to be an issue in the near future unless you continually keep putting bad things down your drains of course.

If you have a blocked drain get in touch today, we can fix the problem properly and without the use of lots of nasty chemicals. It is a greener way to do it and likely to be the best in the long run.