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How to spot a blocked drain

Drain unblocking graphic

We all know what a nightmare a blocked drain can be for both commercial and domestic properties. Not only is there unwanted stress, but also associated costs that come along with a drain blockage. However, if blockages are spotted early on you increase your chances of preventing a more serious problem developing.


What causes drains to block?

Drain blockages are very common and can often be rectified quite quickly. However, if they are not resolved this can lead to major blockages which can then cause damage to your drainage system. The main things that cause a drain blockage are:

Grease and fat

Grease and fat from cooking is one of the most common causes of a drain blockage. This happens when hot oil and grease cool and solidify in a drain. Over time, this gradually blocks the drain until no liquid can pass through.

Foreign objects

One small foreign object may not cause your drain to block, but if a large enough item and or multiple smaller items get stuck down the drain then this will likely cause a drain blockage and prevent liquid from passing through.


Non-flushable toiletries such as wet wipes, nappies and sanitary towels are the most common objects found in drains when a blockage occurs. Unlike toilet paper, these items are unable to break down and disperse in the pipe. Nappies and sanitary towels are particularly bad as they are absorbent by nature. Therefore, when they are submerged in drain pipes they will expand to their maximum size which often causes a blockage.

Natural factors (Tree roots)

Tree roots are drawn to their nearest source of water. If drain pipes are near to a tree root system, over time the roots can come in contact with the pipes and cause cracks to develop. In more extreme cases, tree roots can even cause drains to collapse.

What should I look out for?

Spotting a drain blockage early on is very important to prevent any further damage to the pipe. There are several early signs you can look out for when a drain blockage occurs. These are:

1.  Glugging sounds coming from plug holes.

This indicates that there is trapped air in the drain which can be caused by a blockage.

2.  Slow drainage of water in bathroom and kitchen facilities.

If water takes a while to clear, it is most likely due to a blockage in the drain pipes.

3.  Rising water level in your toilet.

This is one of the easiest ways of detecting a blockage in a drain pipe. Usually rising water is a simple issue to fix. However, if the toilet water is rising to the point of overflowing then there is most likely a more serious problem.

4.  Bad odours coming from drains.

If greasy food and fat is washed down a drain and a build-up develops, the decomposing food will start to give off a foul odour.

You can take preventative measures to reduce the risks of blockages in you drain systems. CCTV inspections are an affordable way to check both domestic and commercial properties before any potential problems occur. It is also common practice in commercial drain systems to perform preventative jetting and maintenance services.

If you spot any of these blocked drain indicators or want to take steps to prevent a blockage, get in touch with us today! We have a dedicated 24-hour emergency call out service and operate with a 25 mile radius around the Spalding area. To book an engineer call us on 01775 722327.