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Don’t Get Too Flushed This Summer!

A selection of different wet wipes

The summer is a particularly bad time to get a blocked drain, as in the heat the bacteria and odours can grow rapidly. If you are experiencing any slow drainage or smells building up, you’d be wise to act promptly. One of the key places to get blocked around the home can be the toilet and there are many debates about what you should and shouldn’t flush.

Prevention

Whilst the Drain Guys can rapidly come and fix any issues you encounter, its definitely better not to get blocked pipes in the first place. Here’s our guide to the top causes of toilet blockages and things you should consider as you flush.

The Wet Wipe Issue

A modern solution – disposable, convenient, hygienic; you can now get wet wipes for everything from cleaning your face to your kitchen surfaces. But wet wipes and the flush issue have become controversial, particularly the moist toilet wipes many of which are labelled as ‘flushable’.

At the end of last year, the BBC carried out some research and found that all wipes sold as ‘flushable’ had currently failed the disintegration tests of the water industry. Some sources cited by the BBC state that 93% of blockages in UK sewers are caused by wet wipes; so they can certainly cause problems in homes and offices too. The government and manufacturers are yet to agree a flushable standard, so until you can be sure, its better to bin them

All bathroom products and toiletries are for the bin.

Indeed only basic toilet paper should be flushed. And you might want to teach your kids to consider how much they put down the loo. Certainly cotton wool, cotton buds and other hygiene products should be binned, as these swell up and enlarge in water and won’t disintegrate. Dental floss seems so small, but if you keep flushing it, it can wrap around things and create a net-like effect.

You should remember that it is often about build up. Your toilet may not instantly block with one item but bits collect and stick together. Think of the London fatberg – 250 metres long!

The 3 Ps

So we go along with the advice to only flush the 3 Ps. One of these is toilet paper, We’ll leave you to work out the other 2! Should anyone in your family fail to heed this advice and cause you a blockage, then give us a call and we’ll flush your problems away.

Why CCTV is not just for watching people!

CCTV drain image of football

CCTV is what you use to make sure people are not up to mischief, or to warn off burglars right? Well it may be well be used for these reasons, but it is an incredibly useful tool in lots of other areas too, including drain surveys and maintenance.

Why use CCTV in your drains?

We use CCTV across commercial and domestic properties. It can be very insightful if you are buying a new property and want to be fully informed on the state of the drain system before you are hit with unexpected problems or expense.

Or it may be that your home or business has experienced a reoccurring problem or

a blockage that is not straightforward and couldn’t be easily identified. It pays to have the right equipment for a thorough investigation and CCTV allows for a full survey and a comprehensive view of the situation.

How does a CCTV drain survey work?

It involves a small camera on a pole which can get into very small drains. This allows engineers to see high-quality live images making it much easier to identify problems that might otherwise be hidden away and only guessed at, or temporarily solved only to come back soon after.  You can see structural faults – such as fractures or different levels of collapse, pests, or more usual and awkward issues; in fact they can pretty much reveal anything.

What are the advantages?

CCTV drain surveys offer many advantages through their fast, accurate and reliable assessments. The cameras can reduce the need to dig up or manually enter the drains and so minimise disruption for everyone. They can make drains easier to maintain so problems don’t build up. Generally they provide an incredibly effective solution.

The Drain Guys have been working with CCTV technology for a number of years and are well experienced in using it to expose a wide range of issues. If you have an issue or think your property could benefit from a detailed survey then get in contact.

Why it pays to maintain your drains in summer

Sausages on a round barbecue

In the summer your focus is likely to be on how much use you are getting out of the garden furniture and if you have enough ice in the freezer. But if you have just sat down on the lounger with a long cool drink, you want to be smelling the softly heating barbecue and not the stench of something unpleasant from your drains.

Prevent drain pain and keep them smelling sweet

If you do suffer a drain blockage in the hotter months, it is likely to smell stronger quicker, and attract unwanted pests in droves. This is equally undesirable for businesses. Although people assume drains are more likely to block in winter, there are a number of reasons they can block in summer too. And with ideal growing conditions for trees, roots can start to interfere with your pipes.

Whilst it might not be at the forefront of your mind, summer is actually an excellent time to undertake drain maintenance. Going for the preventative approach and looking after your drains can save you dealing with bigger problems at a later point. In the summer, the weather is more conducive to an internal and external drain survey and work can be done quickly and easily at minimal costs.

Regular maintenance stops problems building up

We’ve encountered all problems imaginable, but the most common causes of problems in drains do not come from a single event, but from a build up. A small problem or blockage becomes a bigger one, until eventually internal drains can affect external ones or vice versa. This is why regular maintenance can be so effective and avoid unnecessary issues and disruptions.

We can check that pipes are in good order and fix or unblock any issues to ensure everything is flowing with no accumulated debris or any kind of issue.

Home tips to look after your drains

There are also things you can do at home over the summer to minimise problems. Scrap your plates well and avoid putting any necessary food down the sink – you may well notice the smell of food lingering in your pipes more over the summer. Always avoid putting fats down the sink. If you accidentally do, flush with plenty of boiling water. Also brush your hair before using the bath or shower as we lose more hair in the summer months.

If you do notice low water pressure or slow drainage then get in contact promptly. It’s easier to solve the problem before it gets too bad. The Drain Guys have all the right equipment from rods, jet system to drainage CCTV and we’ll ensure your summer stays smelling sweet.

New, and Very Useful, Equipment!

New, and Very Useful, Equipment! 1

While you might assume that unblocking drains was something you use the same equipment for each time that truth is each drain is different. In fact, each situation is different, sometimes we need to use CCTV to find out what the problem is, sometimes we use rods and other times we use a jet system. There are so many variables and the technology behind drain unblocking is always moving forward to give us more tools for more jobs.

Investment

We take investment in our equipment very seriously, after all, you wouldn’t want us to arrive at your home to unblock a drain with equipment from the 90s that is far more likely to go wrong or even damage your drains. There is certainly a cost to getting new “kit” but we feel it is well worth it and it makes our service better which is what we are all about!

Picote Super Midi

This month we have a new toy and it’s called the Picote Super Midi. This machine is designed to deliver fast and efficient drain cleaning. It is able to tackle soft blockages, scale problems and calcium build-up and more. What we think it really good is that the Super Midi can even tackle tree roots and concrete deposits. Tree roots can be a very serious problem when it comes to drains and sadly quite a common one. Being able to tackle them faster and more efficiently now is a really exciting development for us. But that’s not all, the Super Midi can also help with failed drain liners and imperfections in the pipe itself which are also things we come across a lot.

Call Us Now

If you have a blocked drain in Hove, Worthing, Storrington, Chichester, Horsham or anywhere in Sussex then get in touch! You may not need the Super Midi but if you do have any of these more serious problems we have the best tool to deal with it quickly and safely!

Adur and Worthing Councils – Who is responsible for your drains?

When it comes to drains most people don’t actually know the “ins and outs” of what they are responsible for and what the council looks after. On top of that most people don’t know the difference between a drain or a sewer as far as a legal definition goes. for people who live in Worthing or the local area under Adur District Council we thought we would help clarify a few points!

What is a Drain?

According to Adur and Worthing Council the following definitions are used for sewers and drains

  • Drain – A drainage pipe that is serving a single property.
  • Sewer – A drainage pipe that is serving multiple properties.
  • Public Sewer – A sewer that has been adopted by the sewerage undertaker which in this case is Southern Water.
  • Private Sewer – A sewer pipe that is owned by all the homeowners that is serves.
  • Lateral Drain – A drainage pipe that serves one property but that sits outside of the boundary of that single property.

What Does This All Mean?

Well basically if the pipe coming out of your home is on your property then it is your responsibility to look after it, keep it flowing and get any blocked drain issues sorted. This means what you put down the drain in your kitchen, toilets and bathrooms is down to you and if your drain blocks on your property then you need to give us a call.

However, a drain that serves your property in Worthing or the local area but that is outside of your property boundary is actually down to Southern Water. That being said, this shouldn’t be a signal to put bad things down your sink because nearly all blockages that occur happen very close to the property and this means its your responsibility.

Southern Water – Responsibilities

Southern Water is responsible for the following:

  • Any drain that serves a property that is not within the property boundary of the owner.
  • A drain that serves a property that lies on another persons land.
  • A private sewer that serves more than one property.
  • Drains that serve blocks of flats, commercial buildings and the like.

Any unusual situations that include some of the above but have other factors should be discussed directly with Southern Water but our friendly team have a lot of experience so would be happy to help solved the issue.

Here are two useful pages to visit about how to treat your drains properly to avoid blockages:

https://www.southernwater.co.uk/bag-it-bin-it

http://www.southernwater.co.uk/at-home/your-wastewater/pain-in-the-drain/default.asp

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.

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