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Blocked drains: your responsibility or Yorkshire Water’s?

Blocked drains on your property can be a serious issue so you need to know who to call and who is responsible for paying for that work. Is it you as the owner of the property or is it your water provider (which, in this area, would usually be Yorkshire Water)?

As a general rule of thumb you are responsible for the maintenance of the pipes and drains inside your property, including toilets, sinks, baths and showers, and any guttering and pipes that are attached to your property. You are also responsible for the section of pipe underground that goes from your property to the point it reaches a public sewer. Yorkshire Water does have some useful diagrams on how this looks on different property types here. It’s up to you to keep them well maintained and to resolve any issues if they do become blocked. It’s Yorkshire Water’s responsibility to resolve issues on public sewers and the pipes that connect the properties on the street.

If you’re not sure where the issue is, you can contact Yorkshire Water and they should be able to advise you.

What are the signs of a blocked drain?

There are several possible indications that your drains are blocked:

  • Water takes longer than it should to drain away in sinks and toilets
  • There may be an unpleasant smell coming from your sink or toilet
  • Water levels in the drains outside the property could be higher than they should be
  • You may get some flooding in low lying areas such as cellars or your garden and this water may smell of sewage
  • You may experience some flooding if it rains because the rain water isn’t able to flow down the drains properly

As you can imagine, if the problem is with the waste water pipe (ie sewage or dirty water) then this can be a real public health issue and needs dealing with quickly.

What to do if the blocked drain is your responsibility

If the cause of the blockage is on your section of pipe or due to inadequate maintenance of your pipes or drains then it is down to you to get that resolved. If you have your own drain rods then this may be enough to clear it but it may require a high pressure water jetter to properly clear the blockage and for that you will need a professional. We can offer drain clearance as a service as well as CCTV technology that we can send down the drains to locate exactly where the blockage is (and check that it’s clear and that water is flowing properly again).

How to maintain your drains properly

The best way of avoiding a blockage is to look after your drains properly in the first place. You can take the following measures to keep them well maintained:

  • Be careful what you flush down the toilet. Toilet paper is the only item that should be flushed down the toilet other than natural waste. This includes wipes (even the ones that say they are flushable) and tissues as they don’t break down sufficiently in the water. It seems obvious that sanitary items and nappies should never be disposed of down the toilet but it’s amazing how much of this type of waste ends up on the sewage system.
  • Be careful what you allow down the sink or bath. Minimise the amount of food waste that goes down, especially fats which will solidify when they cool. Likewise with hair in the bath. A simple plughole strainer device will help catch most items
  • Be careful not allow plastics down the sink or toilet. Microbeads in shower gels and plastic cotton buds will not only contribute to blockages but can end up in the sea which has a significant environmental impact
  • Give the plug-holes on your sinks and baths a good clean out periodically to prevent build up. You can buy drain clear products from supermarkets or a simple mix of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar will equally do the job
  • Keep the area around external drains free of leaves and debris and keep an eye on water levels. Make sure grates remain intact or use drain covers to protect drains from foreign objects
  • Keep an eye on pipes and guttering and replace sections at the first signs of damage

Getting the drain blockage cleared

If the blockage does turn out to be your responsibility check your home insurance or any home cover policies you may have as they could potentially cover it. If not then call a professional in that you can trust to get the job done properly first time.

If you need help with a blocked drain, please call us on 0800 032 6478 or complete the enquiry form opposite.

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