Outside drains are a vital part of every residential and commercial property, as they flush wastewater out of your building and into lateral drains.

Lateral drains connect to sewers, allowing your local water sewerage company to treat and manage wastewater.

As a result, you’re able to ensure that any old water from toilets, sinks and shower drains in your property is removed safely. Standing water, particularly used, dirty water, can cause health problems for you, your family or customers.

So, if your outside drains become blocked, you need to deal with the issue fast. You may notice a strange smell coming from your drains or have trouble draining your sink or shower after use. In extreme cases, you may get a toilet that won’t flush, or water might regurgitate back up the pipes into your property.

Reasons Why Your Outside Drain Is Blocked

There are many reasons why you might have a blocked drain outside your property, including:

  • Leaves And Other Debris: Dead leaves, twigs and stones can block your drain cover or even fall through it into your drainage system, causing blockages.
  • Cooking Oil: Oil from cooking, when poured down the sink, can result in ‘fatbergs’ or fatty lumps of congealed oil and other food waste that block your outside drain.
  • Toilet Paper: If you find your drain blocked with thick waste material, this could be a build-up of toilet paper and other waste that hasn’t broken down properly.
  • Unflushable Materials: Flushing away products that shouldn’t be put into your drainage system, such as nappies, wet wipes, cotton balls and other non-degradable materials, can result in a blocked external drain near your bathroom.
  • Soap Scum: Soap scum is a combination of calcium stearate and magnesium stearate from body washes and shampoos mixed with hard water to create a solid blockage that can occur in outside drains.
  • Collapsed Drains: If your drain system is older, then you might find that a drain pipe has collapsed, leading to blockages deep within your drain system.
  • Tree Root Ingress: Tree roots can grow into your pipework, causing damage to your drains and making it seem like the drain is blocked.
  • Rats: Rats can sometimes chew through pipes to try and access your property, resulting in drain damage.

For minor blockages, you can assess the problem yourself and, in some cases, even remove the blockage. If you suspect tree root ingress, collapsed drains or rodent damage, then you need professional help.

Who Is Responsible For A Blocked Outside Drain?

Generally speaking, blocked drains that are within your property boundary are your problem. If the drain is not on your boundary or is a shared drain, then the water sewerage company might be responsible. For leasehold properties, the freeholder might be responsible for the drain maintenance.

If you’re in doubt about who is responsible for a blocked drain, contact your water company or freeholder before attempting to unblock the drain yourself or cover the cost of professional drain unblocking.

Integrum services branded van outside drain survey project

How To Access An Outside Drain

When you see signs of a blocked outside drain, you can check the issue for yourself to begin with. To do this, you’ll need to find the blocked outside drain on your property.

For most residential homes, this can be found either in the front garden or near the kitchen sink, as the water flows straight from the sink into the outside drain.

If you’re unsure where the outside drains are on a larger commercial property or a new home, then follow the waste pipe from key rooms, such as bathrooms and kitchens. You could also check the property plans to find the nearest outside drain.

Once you’ve found the drain, you need to remove the drain cover to check for signs of a blockage. You can usually pull the drain cover upwards to remove it, but some might require a screwdriver to remove it.

Simple Tips For Dealing With Outdoor Drain Blockages

It is possible to deal with outdoor drain blockages yourself, particularly if the issue is easy to see and near the drain cover.

In some cases, the blockage might be clearly visible, particularly if it’s some leaves that have fallen over the drain cover.

If you can see the problem, then you can try to remove it yourself, either by putting on rubber gloves and pulling it out by hand or pouring hot water down into the drain.

For larger blockages, you might need to use equipment such as drain rods to dislodge the blockage. A drain rod releases the blockage in your external drain, making it loose enough to be dislodged using a jet of water from a pressure hose.

Drain rods are the most common solution used to unblock an outside drain, but if the blockage begins inside or is deep in the pipe, then you could try a plumber’s snake, also known as a drain snake. This tool is a metal cable that uncoils in the drain and it can be used on indoor and outdoor drains.

Both of these solutions cost money to buy and require strength to use, so if you’re unsure, then consult a specialist who will already have the right equipment and know the best approach to clear your outdoor drain blockage.

Preventing Blocked Outside Drains

Whether you’ve just cleared a blocked outside drain or you want to ensure you don’t ever have to encounter one, there are many ways you can prevent outside drain blockages, including:

  • Replace your drain covers when they become damaged
  • Clear outdoor debris as soon as you can
  • Don’t pour cooking oil or grease down the sink
  • Use shower and sink guards to stop hair and food waste from slipping down the drain
  • Be careful with what you flush down the toilet
  • Flush your toilet regularly to reduce the chances of a build-up of toilet roll

These tips are simple ways to reduce the chances of a blocked outside drain, but there’s no guarantee that an accident won’t occur, which is why it pays to be prepared.

Call The Professionals

For major drain blockages, you need professional drain cleaning from experts like the team at Integrum Services.

Integrum offers a range of drain services, including drain unblocking, drain clearing and CCTV drain surveys.

That means we can find the cause of blocked drains quickly and then fix it for you in no time. We operate across London, Sutton, Surrey and the South East, unblocking outside drains for commercial and residential clients.

Whatever your drain problem, we can help. Call 0204 566 5522 to speak to a member of our drain cleaning team and find out how we can help you quickly deal with blocked drains at your home or business premises.