The coldest months – December, January and February – can be a testing time for your property, including your drainage system. This is especially true if you own a period property with ageing drains or your drains were laid in shallow trenches (the minimum depth for a drain is 600mm). However, it must be said that winter can be cruel to any pipework so drain care is especially important at this time of year.
Whether you’re preparing your home for winter or trying to ensure another building such as a school or factory emerges unscathed from this challenging season, it’s important not to overlook your drains. As our experienced Bristol and Bath drain engineers will tell you, pipes are most at risk when they’re at the mercy of harsh weather. Being buried underground doesn’t mean a drain will escape winter’s cold grasp.
The Met Office points out that this autumn was ‘very mild’. The sudden arrival of sub-zero temperatures, ice and snow in Somerset and elsewhere has therefore come as even more of a shock than usual to many people. But if you feel caught out by the change in season, don’t worry. Our winter drain care tips are designed to help you keep your wastewater flowing no matter how bad the weather gets.
At this time of year, if you look at the ground around your property or your gutters, you’re bound to see many fallen leaves, some of which will be in soggy clumps. There could well be other kinds of plant debris too, such as twigs and dead moss. You’ll want to scoop up and dispose of all this plant matter so it doesn’t get blown or washed into your drains over the winter, as it can easily clog the pipework.
Another winter drain care tip is to cover gratings with plastic drain guards. They fit neatly around the bottom of downpipes and soil pipes and prevent stray leaves, etc. entering the underground pipework.
During winter, many people enjoy comforting, rich foods, as exemplified by the popularity of traditional Christmas dinners. The trouble is that after cooking roast turkey with stuffing, gravy and vegetables, you’ll need to get rid of lots of fat, oil and grease.
As drain unblocking experts, we know those substances are among the major causes of drain obstructions. Plus, they congeal faster and set harder in cold weather. That’s why you should never pour fat, oil or grease down your plugholes, especially during winter. Nobody wants a mini fatberg in their drainage system.
How should you dispose of fat, oil and grease? Let them cool a little then pour them into a robust container that can be sealed. After they’ve set, put the container in the bin.
If there’s a chance those nasties are already lurking in your drains, our drain jetting service can eliminate congestion and blockages and guard against future issues. We use high-pressure water jets, not harsh chemicals, to deep-clean domestic and commercial drains.
The most serious winter drainage problem is frozen drains. When temperatures plummet, wastewater may freeze, which is extremely bad news for your drainage system. To make matters worse, your drains are likely to be fuller at this time of year due to the fact winter often brings heavy rainfall.
When water freezes, it expands by 9%. Ice inside pipes can therefore be destructive:
If you suspect wintry weather has made your drains freeze, you’ll be relieved to hear we offer a 24/7 emergency callout service in Bath, Bristol and beyond. So don’t panic – simply call 01225 422980.
Another way we can help you is by conducting a CCTV drain survey – why not arrange one for your property before winter really sets in? The survey will reveal any weaknesses or obstructions, such as ice, requiring action.
There are also things you can do yourself to help prevent frozen drains. Pour hot (but not boiling) water down plugholes regularly and keep the temperature in your property above 12°C. Pay attention to above-ground pipes too (some carry wastewater to drains): you can insulate them with phenolic foam. Add insulating covers to outside taps too.
For expert help with drains this winter, contact Mega-Rod in Bath today.