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Think before you flush!

We are all interconnected in a way that I am sure many people never consider. Drainage.

Living as we do in such close proximity our drains link us together as they flow past each of us. Occasionally, we become more aware than we might like when something goes wrong, a blockage or a leak, very often caused by something or someone else in another flat or property. We do have a collective responsibility to consider our impact on others. Pouring what ever we like down our drain can seriously impact those around us.

It never ceases to amaze us what people will put down the drain. As property managers we are often called out for leaks and blockages. (Do you recall the fat berg found recently deep in London drains?)

Our regular top six offenders found down drains... 

  • Rice is a particular offender. As it is rinsed post cooking, 'some' will go down your drain, but it sticks to the inside of the pipes as it goes down thus increasing the possibility of blockages.

  • Food fat. A serious problem, as it tends to bind around wet wipes and other detritus like clay around straw. "It slips down sinks very easily when it's warm," says Simon Evans of Thames Water, "but once it hits our sewers it cools down and congeals into what we call fatbergs."

  • Baby wipes another very popular item but potentially disastrous. These can buildup very fast and then act as a wonderful net to capture anything non liquid in the drain hence creating a blockage.

  • Cotton buds and tampons. They just won't break down. It may take months or years for a fatty ball of them to accumulate, see baby wipes for the danger of build up.

  • Children's toys. Our plumbers are often fishing out a range of recognisable characters from toilets. If you have a child who develops an interest in testing the swimming ability of their toys, find a lock for the toilet.

  • Mobile phones. We wouldn't like to comment on the etiquette of using a mobile in the vicinity of a toilet other than to notice how often said mobile has to be fished out by our plumbers. Needless to say this can be expensive on two counts - the call out and the replacement mobile!

So what do you do if a blockage or a leak occurs?
We do appreciate a level of personal responsibility and people trying to sort out the drain blockage for themselves and there are many products on the supermarket shelves that proclaim to help unblock drains and yes many of these are very effective.  They have the ability to remove nearly any reasonable clog, with the exception of very heavy, solid clogs that are caused by mobile phones or plastic super heros. 

But please take note before using said product if you, like thousands of others, have old lead or cast iron pipes in your building you must not use these super clearing drain products. They tend to be acid-based and have the potential to corrode the pipework and cause the internal linings of such pipes to fragment and come away leading to blockages further down.

When a lead pipe leaks the implications are serious as it won't just be your drain that has the problem. Inevitably the leak happens further down the line so your neighbour below you is very likely to have the leak affecting them and the neighbour below them and the neighbour below them! This is when the problem becomes very emotive and expensive as it isn't just the pipes and the blockage that needs repairing it is also the damage to other people's property.

If in doubt with a blockage or a leak please contact your property manager at Sandrove Brahams. We would rather incur a call out cost for a plumber to fix your blockage than a contractor to have to replace the entire pipe. Compared to the cost of a visit from a professional plumber, chemical drain cleaners are cheap. However, over the long term using a chemical cleaner may not be cost-effective, because it may not correct the root cause of the drainage problem.

We have a mutual responsibility to each other. Our drains connect us - one persons hot fat down the drain could be another persons new bathroom!

By This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director, Sandrove Brahams Property Management Services