Blocked drains are one of the most common callout problems faced by plumbers. A blocked drain can cause bad odours, and in the worst cases, flooding. A large proportion of these calls may be prevented if better care is taken with the use of drains.
The kitchen sink drain is the most used, and as such, more likely to get blocked. There are however, measures you can take to prevent drain blockage from the kitchen sink and from other household drains:
Watch what you empty into the sink. Food scraps and cooking fats are a common cause of a blocked sink. Fats are emulsified by the warm dishwater, and as the water cools it leaves fat and grease on the pipes, which is constantly added to by more food scraps and fat washed down the sink. Eventually, the layers build up until the pipe is blocked.
Remove food waste from the sink instead of poking it down the plughole, and pour liquid fats into a container to be thrown away.
Take care to remove all hairs that get caught in bathroom plugholes each time you bathe. This will also clog the drains if left uncleared. You can help keep these plugholes clean by pouring disinfectant down them on a regular basis to clear the soapy residue.
Do not flush disposable items like sanitary towels and nappies down the toilet.
Check your drains regularly. Lift the drain cover to make no blockages have formed, and make sure drain grids are clear of leaves and moss. Clean this area on a regular basis with disinfectant and warm water.
Keep an eye on your guttering and downpipes, and clear any foliage or debris from your guttering as it appears.
To try and clear a blocked drain, put a plunger securely over the drain or plughole and plunge it firmly, repeating the action several times. If it is a sink with two plugholes, seal the one that is not being plunged in case water splashes out.
For more problematic blockages, particularly on commercial premises, several methods can be employed to clear a drain blockage. Using steel rods, the drain blockage can be quickly removed.
For larger blockages, high pressure water jets are converted into laser cutting jets which firmly removes all debris from pipe walls, or utilising electro-mechanical cleaning, flexible cables and blades cut through long standing deposits and dried waste.