Most properties will have a number of outlet pipes for waste water which will flow into a drain protected by a grate. When was the last time you checked yours? It’s probably not something you would think to do that often, unless there was a problem, however broken grates could be potentially dangerous and allow your drains to become blocked so they need resolving before that happens.
There is also a growing problem of drain cover theft. This mainly affects the large gully covers on public roads, where thieves are targeting them for their scrap value, but as the price of scrap metal rises more thieves could potentially target domestic drain covers as an easy way to make some cash. See a recent article about this issue in Wakefield.
The purpose of a grate is to allow water to flow through but prevent objects and debris from going into the drain. If common outdoor items like leaves, twigs and stones go down the drains then they can easily become blocked, either directly at the mouth of the drain or further down the pipe and this can cause serious drainage problems, especially if combined with other objects that have found their way into the drains from within the house such as wipes, fats etc. (See here for common causes of blockages and how to prevent them).
If your grate is broken and has sections that are missing or fragile, this creates larger gaps for debris to find their way through. Damaged ground level grates and manhole covers can also be dangerous if they are in poor condition as they could potentially collapse if stood on or cycled over.
Replacing a grate is a much simpler, and less costly, job than having to deal with a drain blockage and you definitely don’t want to wait until someone falls into a drain and ends up with serious injuries. Broken drain covers on public streets and roads are the responsibility of the local council, and need to be reported, but those within the boundaries of your own property are down to you to fix (as are any blockages that arise from poor maintenance of your own plumbing system).
We recommend checking all drain covers on your property periodically to assess for signs of disrepair, particularly around the end of the summer before the autumn when the leaves start falling. If you can detect any issues such as gaps or cracks then consider having it replaced before it becomes a bigger issue (when you could potentially incur the cost of drain clearance plus you will still have to replace the grate!).
If you think your grates could do with being replaced, give us a call on 0800 032 6478 for a no obligation quote. If you have left it too late and you’re already experiencing a blockage then we can help with that as well.
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