How To Tell If Your Outside Drain Is Blocked

Wednesday 24th January 2024

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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An outside drain


A blocked outside drain can lead to water pooling outside your property, foul odours, and even sewage backups. To protect your property against these unpleasant - and dangerous - consequences, you need be aware of the key signs of a blocked outside drain so you can get it sorted before it becomes a major issue.

Here at ICE Drainage, we offer a wide range of drain unblocking services. Our drainage specialists can identify and clear any blockage, and are available nationwide, 24/7, 365 days a year. If it's an emergency, they can be on site within a matter of hours. 

Keep reading to learn what the signs of a blocked outside drain are and how to clear the drain. 

The signs of a blocked outside drain

Water taking longer than usual to disappear from your sink or bath is a telltale sign. If you see water pooling and draining slowly, it's likely there is a blockage somewhere down the line.

Besides slow drainage, foul smells are often one of the first indicators that you have a blocked drain outside. This smell might be subtle at first but can quickly become overpowering as waste builds up in the pipes.

If you hear gurgling sounds coming from your drains after using household appliances, this could mean air is trapped by whatever is causing the clog, too. Unusual noises should not be ignored because they signal that water is not flowing freely through your system.

Finally, if you notice damp patches on walls near drains or lush spots in garden areas where underground pipes run, this could suggest leaks have occurred because of pressure building up behind a blockage. 

What causes outside drains to get blocked?

One of the main causes is debris gathering in the drain. Fallen leaves, twigs, or even soil can accumulate over time and create blockages that are tough to shift. 

Kitchen waste plays its part in clogging up the works. Fat, oil, and grease should never be poured down sinks as they cool down and solidify in pipes leading outdoors.

Hair and soap scum can cling stubbornly to pipe walls, too. Flushing non-degradable items such as wet wipes or sanitary products lead to backups, as well.

Structural issues like cracked or collapsed pipes due to age or subsidence can also let dirt enter the pipe which narrows the passage for waste water. You can find out more about what causes blocked drains here

How to tell if you are responsible for unblocking the drain

First, check your property deeds or rental agreement. They usually explain who is responsible for drainage issues.

If you're a homeowner and find that drains within your boundaries are clogged, they are likely yours to sort out. But if these pipes serve multiple homes or lie beyond your boundary line, then chances are they fall under local water authority care and should be left to them.

How to unblock an outside drain

If you suspect your outside drain is blocked, the best course of action is often to call in the professionals. They have the expertise and equipment necessary to do a thorough job.

Although there are many at-home methods recommended online, such as using a wire hanger to try and remove the blockage, drain cleaners will be able to identify the specific cause of the blockage and determine the best method to clear it, such as drain milling, jetting, or rodding. They can also clear it safely without damaging your drains and pipework, as many DIY remedies tend to do.

You can find out more about how to clean a blocked drain outside in this blog. 

How to stop your outside drains from getting blocked

Clean drains regularly

The first step in preventing blocked drains is regular cleaning. This involves removing debris such as leaves and twigs that may have accumulated over time. For professional drain maintenance, consider employing the services of specialist cleaning companies.

Don't pour fat down the sink

Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) solidify when they cool down, which could block your pipes if poured down the sink or toilet. Instead of disposing of them through these channels, it's advisable to collect FOG in a container and then dispose of it with household waste.

Install drain guards

To protect drains against fallen leaves or other garden debris, install drain guards to keep any unwanted materials out.

Limited use of chemicals

In an attempt to unblock drains, many people resort to using chemicals without knowing they might be causing more harm than good. Some chemicals are corrosive, leading to pipe damage and creating bigger problems in the future.

Routine professional check-ups

Drainage specialists can carry out periodic inspections of your drains and ensure everything runs smoothly to avoid or catch issues before they escalate.

Book your drain unblocking service

Our fully trained drainage experts can clean every type of drain in a number of settings, no matter whether it's an indoors or outdoors drain, or it's on a commercial, domestic, or industrial property. 

To find out more about our drain unblocking services, speak to our team on 020 3376 4801 or send an email to [email protected].

Melissa Harrison

Melissa Harrison

Sales Representative

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