Trying to deal with a blocked drain is something a lot of people feel that they can handle and in most cases this is true. But, sometimes the blockage is so severe that you will need an expert plumber to sort it out. No matter where you are in Bristol or the surrounding areas, just give us a call and we will sort it out for you.

How to unblock a drain:

There’s no denying that a Google My Business is a horrible situation to find yourself in. It’s a huge disruption to your life and to your household but it is also just unhygienic as blocked drains can create unpleasant odours and contain a lot of unwanted bacteria. Unfortunately, every household will experience a blocked drain at some point and, if it is not sorted out quickly, it can even lead to health problems for you or your family further down the line.

Many factors can come into play that can lead to you ending up with a blocked drain. Build-ups of fats, grease, soaps or hair can all get lodged in your drain and form a blockage. Understanding more about what causes these blockages can provide you with a better insight into how to prevent them. If you keep trying standard drain cleaners to fix the issue and it’s just not cutting it, don’t worry as we’ve got a few tips for you that’ll keep the problem at bay for good.

The most common causes of blocked drains:

  • Hair
  • Garden debris and dirt
  • Toiletries like nappies/sanitary products (or even toilet paper)
  • Storms and heavy downpours
  • Build-ups of fats or oils (like soaps or conditioners)
  • Damaged pipes
  • Insufficient water flow
  • Incorrectly installed pipes
  • Foreign objects

Blockages caused by hair build-ups:

One of the most common cause of a blockage in household drains is a build-up of hair, from your shower or sink, that is disrupting your water flow. Usually, it is fairly straightforward and simple to just remove the hair from your drain, but if not properly dealt with this can lead to more severe drainage issues in the future. Although this is a common problem that we see frequently in many households, there are techniques that you can put into place to resolve this issue permanently and prevent it from causing inconvenience in your home again.

How to fix a blockage that’s caused by a build-up of hair:

Before the problem gets too severe, you will usually be able to remove small quantities of hair just by reaching down the drain with a gloved hand. Devices can also be purchased if this is easier for you, like drain spiders, and these can help with ease of use and to remove larger quantities of hair from the drain. It is important to be aware, however, that some cheaper hair removal chemicals and devices can actually worsen the issue, so it’s best to always do your research before attempting any of these.

It’s imperative that the hair in your drain is removed before it gets blocked in the entrance of your drain pipes. If the devices you’ve purchased aren’t working, or you’re unable to get to the hair, then it’s best to call in some professional help from a drainage engineer.

Blockages caused by garden debris and dirt:

Debris from your garden, like soil, plants or leaves can cause issues in your external drains, especially when there’s a larger volume of debris in the Autumn and Spring. Your standard gardening and maintenance of your outside spaces are crucial for keeping your garden tidy and presentable as well as maintaining efficient drains and pipes. Garden debris isn’t the only cause for concern in your outside spaces- roots from trees can also cause issues by searching for water underground and growing towards your pipes or drains. These can then cause great damage and disruption to your drains by fracturing or blocking pipes and disrupting your water flow.

How to fix a blockage that caused by garden debris or tree roots:

Keeping your outside spaces clean and tidy will do a great deal to prevent any drain blockages forming from leaves, plants or dirt- especially if the area near your drains is kept clear throughout the year. If debris is left for extended periods of time it can cause catastrophic blockages in your drainage system. To prevent tree roots from becoming an issue for your drains, it is best to keep your trees well-watered throughout the year to ensure that they are less drawn to sources of water; like your pipes. It is also a good idea to, where possible, avoid certain plants that are more likely to clog you drain, like: oak trees, elm trees, sycamore trees, willow trees, birch trees, elm trees, fig trees or maple trees which have particularly long or invasive roots. These plants do not need to be completely avoided, but it is best to keep them a safe distance from your drains where possible (this can be discussed in more depth with a landscaping expert if you’re adding new trees to your outside spaces.)  

Preventing leaves and other debris from blocking your drains is a great way to prevent any blockages forming, but sometimes the main issue can be below the surface. Tree roots can fracture the pipework that is below your house which can cause leaks and blockages. For situations like this, specialised pipe remapping apparatus can be utilised by our team of expert drainage engineers to remove the blockage and provide a lasting structural solution.

Blockages caused by grease build-up:

Like hair in your shower drain, fat and oils can build-up in your kitchen sink over time from continued disposals of even the smallest amounts of grease. These thick, fatty substances are an extremely common cause for drain blockages and can be very difficult to eradicate. Any grease, or fat, that gets disposed of down your sink will cling to the interiors of your pipes and this will eventually accumulate into a blockage that liquid cannot pass through. It’s imperative to know that this fatty build-up is very hard to dispose of once it is there.

How to fix a blockage caused by a build-up of kitchen grease:

The best preventative method that you can take to avoid a build-up of grease in your kitchen pipes is to steer clear of washing any fatty substances into and down your kitchen sink, as grease will cool and solidify in the pipes. A great way to do this is to collect any glass jars that you acquire from the supermarket and pour your grease into these instead of into your sink. This can then be simply disposed of with the rest of your kitchen waste.

Blockages caused by toiletries:

Recently, more and more people have started to dispose of their toiletries by flushing them down their toilet, and this is leading to increased numbers of drainage and plumbing issues. Wipes and nappies are the most commonly flushed item, but items like these, sanitary products and kitchen roll should not be flushed down the toilet as they do easily form blockages. Items like these become saturated with water, and they expand within your pipes, which blocks off the water supply.

How to fix a blockage caused by toiletries:

Disposing of products like sanitary pads and nappies by flushing them down the toilet is incredibly harmful to the environment and it should be greatly discouraged. Within your household, products like these can just be disposed of with the rest of your rubbish. In public, separate bins are provided for sanitary products and nappies and these should always be used. If you do have a blockage, and you suspect that it may be from any of these items, then give us a call and our team of expert engineers will be able to pay you a visit and sort this out for you in no time!

Blockages caused by heavy downpours and storms:

Throughout the year, but especially in the autumn and winter, drains can become flooded with water due to bad weather and heavy downfalls of rain. Drains were not really built with the full repercussions of this weather in mind, so overflowing drains can be a common occurrence. If you do get a drain that is overflowing, there is a good chance that you may have a blockage and so it’s best to give our in-office team a call.

How to fix a blockage caused by heavy downpours and storms:

To prevent a blockage in your drain or gutters due to heavy downpours in the winter months, it is best to clear out any leaves or debris from your gutters on a regular basis. If you do experience an overflowing drain or a blockage in your gutter, it is best to call our plumbing engineers for some expert help, especially to remove any water waste for you. It’s best to give us a call as soon as you can if you experience a blockage like this, as, if not removed, this water can flood into your garden or home.

Blocked drains caused by fractured pipes:

Your pipes can become damaged just through everyday use or can be damaged by building work or tree roots. Once a pipe begins to break, it becomes more and more likely to become blocked as the break worsens. A fractured pipe can be a difficult problem to diagnose, especially if the pipe is hard to reach, but our team of experienced plumbing engineers will be able to use advanced techniques like mapping and CCTV drain survey technology to identify these problems with ease. Give us a call for a free quote, and we’ll have one of our drainage experts with you as soon as possible!

How to fix a blockage caused by fractured pipes?

If you believe that you have a fractured pipe, it really is best to give us a call to get some professional advice on it. As previously mentioned, fractured pipes can be hard to get to, tough to diagnose and difficult to fix without professional equipment, so give our team a call, and we’ll be more than happy to help. Whilst you’re waiting for one of our engineers to arrive, you can check the pipes for any leaks that you can see, this will save the engineer time if you know roughly where the leak is. It’s also a good idea to check inside your house for any water stains on the ceiling or walls, in case the leak has gone into your home and may need further repairs. Once your engineers arrive, they’ll have to locate the leak, shut off the mains water and replace the damaged section of pipe.

Blocked drains caused by insufficient water flow:

If your taps are not running as they should be, with only a small trickle of water coming out of them, then you’re experiencing a problem with your water pressure or flow. This may not always be because of your water pipes; it could mean that there is a congregation of sediment. It is a common problem that sediment can congregate in your pipes, as water contains dissolved minerals that can stay behind on metal surfaces, like heads of showers or taps. This sediment can then limit the space that your water can travel through and so reduces your water pressure.

How to fix a blockage caused by insufficient water flow?

To prevent the build-up of sediment causing you any problems, you need to regularly clean off any deposit from your shower heads and any removeable parts of your system. To rigorously clean these, you can leave the parts in a solution with vinegar overnight. If sediment is still present on the parts after this then you may have a larger issue with your system and it’s best to give us a quick call so that one of our professional plumbing engineers can examine it and identify the issue.

Blocked drains caused by poor installation of pipes:

Pipes that have been installed incorrectly can cause you to require many expensive drain blockages and repairs further on down the line. Whilst DIY techniques can save you money and can be seen as a relatively easy renovation to do, installing pipes yourself is not highly endorsed. If pipes are installed incorrectly, this can lead to damaged pipes, poor water pressure, incorrect water flow and can cause an expensive future for you when the damage needs repairing.

How to fix a blockage caused by poor installation of pipes:

To avoid any issues with incorrectly installed pipes, it is best to call in a licensed professional plumber to do this for you. If you give us a call here at Bristol Drain and Plumbing, we’ll always ensure that all of your pipes are correctly installed and correctly positioned to maximise your water flow and reduce the risk of any potential future blockages. If you already have pipes installed in your home, and they are causing your problems, you can still give us a call and one of our experienced engineers will provide you with advice before assessing the situation and finding the best solution for you.

Blocked drains caused by foreign objects:

We’ve seen all manner of foreign objects be the cause of an unfortunate blockage in the home. From a kid’s toy to pieces of food, pet toys or even wires, almost anything can cause a blockage in a drain if it ends up somewhere it shouldn’t. It goes without saying, but none of these items should be ending up in your drain. If they do, whether it be by accident or not, they can get lodged in your drain and easily form a blockage.

How to fix a blockage caused by foreign objects:

Usually foreign objects, like kid’s toys, ending up down the toilet is the work of young children as flushing anything down the toilet can be considered great fun. It’s best to just try to keep an eye on any young children that might be attempting this as, although it may seem fun for them now, it won’t be much fun for you later! All waste, including food waste, should be disposed of properly with any other rubbish and not washed down the drain and, if any foreign items do end up going down the drain, it’s best to give us a call, if you start to see any signs that you may have a blockage.