Wet leaves

Autumn’s Going Down the Drain

It’s that time of year when secret toupee wearers get a little nervous. The evenings have drawn in, the temperature has dropped and our old friend the wind has started to blow a little harder.

But what does autumn mean for our hardworking external drains?

Those beautiful fallen leaves will inevitably find their way into your drain, where they’ll get a thorough drenching by the good old British weather and start to decompose. This creates a horrible, gloopy mess that can back things up and cause a nasty blockage if you leaf it too long (sorry!).

You already know who to call if your outside drain is seriously clogged, but we thought we’d share some tips to help you prevent or solve the problem yourself.

Top Tips for Unclogging Blocked Drains

If water is starting to pool around your drain, put on some old clothes and try giving it a blast with a pressure washer. Safety goggles are a must! You might need to dislodge and break up the clog first with a drain rod, broom handle or your hand if you like a bit of muck.

Your gutter and downpipe is the main contributor of assorted debris and detritus to your outside drain, so this is the first place to look when it comes to prevention.

If you’re not lucky enough to have a Hedgehog Gutter Brush – yes, it’s a real thing…

…or some other kind of gutter guard or leaf-catching system (N.B. they’re not always effective), and have an easily accessible low roof, we recommend a twice yearly cleaning regime in spring and autumn.

  • Scoop or brush out the loose stuff first (a leaf blower works well)
  • Flush with a hose, scrubbing any problematic areas
  • Work towards the downpipe and check the water is flowing freely from it
  • If not, attack the blockage from the bottom with a trusty bent coat hanger!

That should do the trick.

It’s a good idea to cover your drain beforehand, so you’re not flushing any unwanted debris straight into it. Placing a fine net or old pair of tights over the grate should help catch the dreck and dregs while allowing the water to pass through.

Be sure to wear heavy-duty gloves and don’t go climbing ladders if it’s wet, windy or icy. If you’re in any doubt, consult and employ a professional gutter cleaning service.

We’d love to hear your life hacks for keeping your outside drains clean and clear, so please share them with us using the social media links at the top of the page.

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