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.


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.


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.


Fats and Oils – How They Block Drains and How to Prevent it Happening


cooking fat

The world beyond the plug hole is so often one that most people never even think about. It is almost as though people consider it some kind of magical portal where once something passes through it no longer exists. Well, sadly, everything that goes down the plug most definitely still exists and when it comes to oils and fat from cooking it can become a very serious problem.

Whether you run a commercial kitchen in a restaurant or something like a care home or you are just a budding chef at home the problems and issues are the same and they are not good!

Fats and Oils Change

We all know what fat looks like during the cooking process. Thoughts of roasting spuds or a glorious pork belly crisping up in bubbling oil all come to mind. It might be a little more simple than this and just the oil used to fry some bacon; whatever the use the physical properties are largely the same. When they are hot, oils and fats are liquid when they are cold…they are most certainly not.
Once FOGs (Fats Oils ad Greases) cool they go solid. It is something most people are aware of if they have ever cleaned a roasting tray after a slap up Sunday dinner. The white “dripping” fat is hard and very tricky to shift. This is exactly what happens when fats go down the sink. They may go down hot but they soon cool and turn into a real problem. In the winter this is even more of an issue because once the FOGs leave the house they will cool rapidly and often in the same place which can lead to a blocked drain.

Commercial Kitchens

As with everything commercial, things are bigger, faster and generally more expensive. The same goes for cooking oils and fats. The volumes are considerably bigger, even in a small kitchen, and the resulting blockages can be huge!

How Should I Dispose of Fats and Oils

There are a number of ways to dispose of FOGs properly. Even in a domestic setting it is worth looking at some options. One simply one is to let all cooking fats cool properly and then simply place them in the bin when they are solid. However, in a commercial environment or when using a deep fat fryer, for example, it is best to store up the old oil and take it to your local recycling centre. Simply check with your local council and see what services there are on offer.

The time and cost involved in unblocking a fat clogged drain s considerable and it is something that is easily avoided through some sensible planning and actions to dispose of FOGs properly. We get called out to a huge number of domestic and commercial fat blocked drains each year and for many customers it is an experience they would prefer to have avoided.
If you have a blocked drain or think you may be seeing a slowing of water movement then get in touch. We can visit you and look into what is causing the problem as well as move any blockages and get your drains working as they should.

CCTV Surveys Case Study

CCTV Survey Case Study

At the Drain Guys, we have extensive experience in clearing blocked drains across the South East. We often use specialist tools to identify problems beforehand so we can deal with the problem quickly and efficiently. One of these techniques which we usually use is a CCTV survey, which allows us to asses the blockage. This then helps us to find an effective solution to remove the blockage. Take a look at one of our case studies below:

“Our high pressure water jetter works at 3000psi and flows at 8 GPM. It can be operated manually via the control panel or using radio remote. We used this today to clear a blocked rainwater drain at a country estate where the high pressure water jetter was over 90 metres from where the blockage was. We were able to clear this blockage with no problems and no safety issues as we were able to use the remote, which meant we did not need to leave a manhole open and unattended while walking back and forth.”

Managing Health & Safety

CHAS Accreditation

When you attend a domestic or commercial company property and begin carrying out work you assume responsibility for not only our own health and safety but our customers too. There no profit to high that would make us forget that and have ourselves walked away from jobs where our customers actions could have caused accidents. Thats why after a lot of hard work from the team were please to say we have achieved Chas Accreditation. CHAS (The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme) was created by experienced health and safety professionals improve health and safety standards across the UK.​

Frozen Pipes

Frozen Pipes

We were called to a customers house on Sunday (yes a tradesmen who actually does weekend call out) Water pouring into there back garden from there burst garden tap.

We fixed the problem we no real issues but it got me thinking about things you could do in your own home to stop this happening to you.

1) Make your its installed correctly
2) You need to have a internal isolation valve
3) Good quality lagging (not just external Loft pipework too)
4) in winter months turn the isolation valve off
5) when the isolation valve is off leave the tap open if the pipe freezes the left over water has some where to go as it expands.

Follow these simple rules and you are unlikely to suffer from burst outside pipework.

Have a great day.

The Hidden Cost Of House Buying

They say moving is one of the 3 most stressful things you experience in your lifetime. Buying a home without having a camera survey carried out on your drains is leaving yourself open to a very expensive learning experience at a time when your budget is at it’s tightest.

This week we carried 10 meters of root cutting, 4 local internal point repairs to stop further root ingress and then 10 meters of drain liner to seal cracks and fractures in the same 10-meter length of 4-inch clay pipework. This work was carried out for one customer in Worthing who had been living at their current address only 4 weeks.

Unfortunately, they had decided against a CCTV Drainage Survey and the cost of carrying out this work was 15 times the cost of having a CCTV drainage survey done.

The Drain Guys CCTV Drainage Survey would have found these problems recommendations would have been made and a quote provided which would have been passed to the home owner before our clients would have brought the house or the cost to cover the repair works deducted from the purchase price of the home.

So before you buy your dream home don’t forget to Call The Drain Guys to carry out a CCTV Drainage Survey it could actually be your best investment.

Call Now Button