Top five common drainage problems

For many premises across the country, drainage problems are a common issue. While some problems are minor enough to leave alone and live with, other drainage issues can escalate to something more serious, resulting in timely and costly repairs.

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Should I worry about drainage problems?

Whilst it may be easy to ignore and hope the issue will fix itself, drainage problems can cause severe structural damage. Problems with your drainage can often go unnoticed until issues start to appear, such as your commercial kitchen sinks not draining correctly or a toilet that won’t flush. If left unresolved these problems can occur more frequently or escalate into a bigger issue. In time this could lead to costly repairs, disruption to your premises and potentially even temporary closure, which could directly impact your brand’s reputation.

There is also the environmental impact and external factors that can occur from drains being unable to flow correctly, such as localised flooding, sewage spills, and exposure to biohazardous materials. In the UK, there are around 300,000 sewers that are affected by blockages a year, costing the country £100 million. Water companies can spend millions of pounds every year clearing blockages as a result of homeowners and businesses pouring fats, oils and greases (FOGs) unnecessarily down the drain, which in turn drives up water bills for all of us!

Here are 5 common drainage issues


Are your sinks slow to drain? Do you find your drains or toilets unable to function properly? These can all be indicators of a blocked system. A blocked drain can often result from pouring or disposing of products inappropriately.

We recommend only disposing of items meant for the drain to avoid blockages. For example, for washrooms always stick to the three P’s, Pee, Poo and (toilet) Paper. Likewise, in commercial kitchens, you should definitely not pour any FOGs down the sink as this can create blockages.

For more advice on what not to pour down your drains, download our free poster guide covering ITEMS THAT SHOULD NEVER BE FLUSHED DOWN THE TOILET and ITEMS THAT CANNOT BE POURED DOWN ANY KITCHEN DRAINS.

Solution: A potential quick fix, is to pour hot water and liquid clearing solution down the affected drain whilst applying pressure and suction. However, if blockages continue to be an issue, they should be resolved with the assistance of a professional drainage company.

Broken or Displaced Joints

Ground movement caused by instability or drainage repairs can cause damage to pipes and displacement, leading to leaks and structural damage where the pipes lose structural support and collapse. 

Solution: Repairing localised damage and/or relining joints without excavation can offer a convenient solution in pipeline maintenance.

Drainage Fractures

Over time, drainage systems can suffer from wear and tear, eventually causing pipes to fracture. These cracks are typically located near the joints where wastewater and debris can flow through and weaken the structure.

Solution: Identifying fractures deep within your drainage system can be challenging. All drains and waste pipes require periodic maintenance and cleaning to prevent scale, slit and grease from accumulating. A qualified professional drainage inspector can identify the source and causes if you suspect cracks or breaks in your drainage system.

Root Intrusions

The roots of trees and other plants have been known to damage drainage pipes. This happens when roots begin to burrow deep underground over time and work their way along the drain pipes, denting or bending the pipes in the process. This can lead to wastewater and odours seeping out, and can put the pipe at risk of bursting.

Solution: For pipes that are damaged due to root intrusion, an immediate repair will be required to prevent further damage and disruption.

Collapsed Pipes

A collapsed section of pipework can occur unexpectedly, resulting in leaks and allowing wastewater and debris to flow out.

Solution: For a collapsed pipe, an immediate repair will be required to prevent further damage and disruption.

When should you consider professional drainage companies?

Drainage problems can often occur unexpectedly and without warning.

Our specialist drain maintenance services are carried out by expert technicians, who work to remove the build-up of scale, slit, grease and debris, to help you maintain a clear drainage system and pipework. In the event of a blockage or the pipes become clogged, we can provide emergency drain cleaning to unclog and dislodge the blockage. We can also provide specialist cleaning and disinfection services where the blocked drain causes the pipework to break and leak.

To arrange our specialist hygiene services or to speak to one of our experts directly, contact our experts at Rentokil Specialist Hygiene today.

Drainage Problems - drain cleaning and maintenance