Blocked drains are a common problem in many households, particularly those with ageing drainage systems. Blockages can cause leaks, flooding, contamination and other issues that require costly repairs once the damage has been done. In turn, blocked drains can also have a more significant impact on your health and home than you may realise.
In this article, we explain the harmful effects blocked drains can have on your health and home and what you can do to prevent them.
5 harmful effects blocked drains can have on your health and home
Blocked drains in your property could lead to a range of problems, including:
1. Bad Odours
If you notice a bad smell like rotten eggs or sulphur coming from the drain, the first thing to do is to investigate whether there is a blockage. Any food that you rinse away down your sink can end up becoming lodged in the drain. When bacteria begins to feed on this food waste, it produces hydrogen sulphide. If you’ve checked that there isn’t any food left in your sink and the smell still lingers then it could be caused by a build-up of grease or oil from previous uses. This can affect most homes at some point.
You can try running hot water down your sink for a few minutes to try and clear the smell. However, if this doesn’t work, then you may need to experiment with other methods of clearing blocked drains such as using bleach, a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar, or other specialist cleaning agents. For stubborn odours that don’t shift, it’s best to call in a professional technician who can fix this for you.
2. Backing Up Of Water
In instances of severe blockages, backing up of water can occur. When water has nowhere else to go, it is forced to flow back into your home. This type of flooding can be extremely damaging to your home, causing you to need to replace flooring, ceilings and electrics in addition to broken pipework.
If you suspect that you have blocked drains that are at risk of backing up, it’s extremely important for you to contact a professional drain cleaning company right away. Depending on the extent of the blockage, they may need to do a thorough inspection before they can move forward with their work.
3. Spreading Of Germs
A buildup of grease, food waste, hair, soap scum and other sediment can cause blocked drains which can lead to water overflowing or even back up into your home. Household drains are filled with dangerous germs and bacteria which can find their way into our homes when pipes begin to fail. This is particularly dangerous when toilet pipes are blocked as an overflow of sewerage water leads to a spread of bacteria and germs throughout your home.
Drains blocked with leaves and other debris are also prone to flooding when it rains heavily as there is no way for the rainwater to drain away. The backup of sewerage water causes heavy damage and extensive damage to both the interior and exterior of the house which can affect your home’s foundations.
Contamination is a serious issue when it comes to blocked drains, especially if you have a septic tank. If your water is contaminated, you can become very ill from drinking it or from swimming in it. Water that doesn’t drain away as it should is at potential risk of becoming contaminated.
If you have a septic tank, you need to make sure that it is regularly serviced and that the filters are cleaned and replaced as necessary.
5. Attracting Pests
When drains are blocked, they can cause quite a stink in more ways than one. An issue with your drains can attract pests to your home and they can be tough to get rid of. Rats and cockroaches are attracted to the smell of backed-up sewage as it suggests a potential food source, and will gladly move into your home if given the chance. These pests can also transmit a range of diseases including Leptospirosis and Listeriosis.
If you are already seeing pests in your home, it may be time to have a professional take a look at the plumbing. They can pinpoint if there is an issue with outside drainage or inside plumbing that could be encouraging these pests. To prevent pests from getting in, make sure all entry points are sealed before calling a plumber for help with blocked drains.
3 Simple Tips For Avoiding Blocked Drains
Follow these steps to keep your drains in good working order:
1. Be Mindful Of What You Flush
Flushing the wrong things down your toilet can cause problems in even the best-maintained pipes. Try to avoid flushing anything other than toilet paper to keep your plumbing clear.
2. Use Strainers In Your Sink
While not all hair will be caught by a strainer, it’s a good idea to use one if you have long hair or live with someone who does. Hair is one of the leading causes of clogged sinks, so using a strainer is an easy way to keep your drain clean. Drain snakes can also help remove hair that remains in your plugholes.
3. Have Your Drains Cleaned Regularly
Regular drain cleaning is an effective and affordable way to ensure that your home’s plumbing stays clear, and can help you avoid costly repairs in the future.
Prevent Blocked Drains Today
These are just some of the health and environmental risks that are associated with blocked drains, as well as some of the factors that can lead to clogged pipes. It doesn’t take much for a drain to begin backing up, but thankfully, there are ways to prevent this from happening in the first place. If you do find yourself dealing with a blockage, it’s important that you call your local plumber right away to fix the problem before it causes damage to your home or can make you or your family sick.