How to tell if your drains are blocked or broken

Blocked or broken drainage systems can cause a significant amount of damage and inconvenience if not spotted early; so whether you’re a tenant, who would need to inform your landlord of the problem ASAP, or a homeowner, who will need to arrange repairs yourself, the sooner you notice the issue, the better for all concerned. We have compiled some top tips for how you can tell when you have a drainage problem.

Plugholes are slower to drain

If you notice that a plughole, whether in the bath/shower, kitchen sink or another basin, is suddenly not draining as quickly as it used to, the problem is usually a blockage somewhere in the system. Depending on which plughole, this blockage could be small and caused by things like hair and soap scum (in the bathroom) or food waste that has gotten down the kitchen plughole, and these issues are usually smaller and easy to remedy with a bottle of plughole unblocking solution, widely available from supermarkets and discount home stores. Alternatively, there are other solutions, such as using vinegar and baking soda, which can also help break down the blockage.

However, if the culprit is a larger blockage that won’t be removed by this kind of solution, it may require drain jetting (shooting water at high pressure through the pipe to break down the blockage) and there is also the possibility that the slow drain issue is caused by a collapsed pipe.

Sewage smells inside or outside the property

If you notice that there is an unpleasant smell in the bathroom or kitchen, or outside near to drain covers, that gets worse when taps/toilet are used, it is often a sign of a blockage issue with the drains. Again, this could be a small blockage that is fairly easily resolved by using a plunger in the loo or sink, but if the problem can’t be fixed by this then it could require professional help to get things flowing as they should again. It could be that a collapsed pipe somewhere in the system has caused the blockage, in which case the pipe will need to be repaired in order for the problem to be resolved properly.

Unusual sounds coming from pipes, fixtures and drains

If you notice any gurgling, creaking or other unusual sounds coming from any of your plumbing or exterior drains, it can be a sign of a problem or blockage. A gurgling sound can indicate that there is air trapped in the system by a blockage that means it can’t escape via the nearest vent. If more than one pipe or drain is gurgling, this can mean that a main pipe has a larger blockage.

Signs of damp on areas of the wall or floor

If a drainage pipe is not just blocked but actually broken and leaking, this can sometimes cause damp patches to appear on the wall or floor, depending on where the drain is located. A damaged drainage pipe leading from your guttering to the ground, for example, can cause water to soak into the brickwork and cause damp to appear on the interior walls.

If you’re a tenant with a drain or plumbing issue and your landlord doesn’t seem to be taking the repairs seriously, you may be eligible to make a claim. Contact CEL Solicitors for free initial claim advice and to discuss your options.