Are Your Drains a Health Hazard?

Are Your Drains a Health Hazard?

Most people assume a partially blocked drain is nothing more than an inconvenience, but it can be far more serious. When your drains are blocked or poorly maintained, there is a possibility that they could be affecting your health. 

There are numerous causes of blocked drains but, in most instances, blockages are caused by a build up debris. In the drain attached to your kitchen sink, food waste may accumulate and cause the drain to become blocked, for example. Alternatively, the drain leading from your shower or bath may become clogged with hair. 

When a partial blockage occurs, water can’t flow through the drain at its usual rate. You may notice that it takes longer for a sink to empty or that your shower tray fills up more quickly. At the same time, bacteria and germs are multiplying in the drain. This can be responsible for creating an unpleasant odour that emanates from the drain itself. 

If left unresolved, this odour will continue to worsen and the dirt, bacteria and germs present in the drain could affect the air quality within the property. In addition to this, the partial blockage will soon turn into a completely blocked drain, if you continue to use the affected sink, shower or bath. 

Fixing a Blocked Drain

If you suspect that a drain in your property is partially blocked, it’s important to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. It’s far easier to clear a small blockage than it is to deal with a drain that’s fully obstructed. Furthermore, fixing a blocked drain quickly may prevent the accumulation of excess bacteria and the unpleasant smell that accompanies it. 

When it comes to fixing a blocked drain, calling the professionals is always your best bet. Regardless of whether the drain is partially, or fully blocked, professional plumbers can identify the cause of the problem and ensure it’s fully resolved without causing any accidental damage. 

Although there are a number of chemical ‘unblockers’ on the market, these aren’t always effective at resolving blocked drains, even when they’re caused by standard household debris. Often, a homeowner will assume that the blockage has been resolved after pouring a chemical solution down the drain, only to find the problem reoccurs within a matter of days or weeks. This is because the solution didn’t actually resolve the blockage but simply reduced it slightly. 

What’s more, chemical drain ‘unblockers’ can be dangerous. If the solution makes contact with your skin or you inhale any of the fumes, you could be seriously unwell. Furthermore, if the solution cannot unblock the drain, it will sit in the drain and continue to give off potentially harmful gases or odours. 

Some homeowners also resort to using wire drain clearers in an attempt to physically remove the blockage. However, you could cause unnecessary damage to the pipework by doing this. Unfortunately, many people unknowingly cause cracks or holes this way, which means more extensive drain repairs are required. With professional intervention, however, a blocked drain can be safely resolved in minutes. 

Maintaining a Safe Workplace

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If you’re responsible for the health and safety of a commercial building, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the drainage system. Without the correct maintenance, drains could pose a health risk and you may inadvertently breach health and safety regulations as a result. 

If a member of staff reports a problem with the drainage system, be sure to record their comments in detail straight away. In addition, you’ll want to contact a reputable plumbing or drainage firm, so that the problem can be resolved quickly. In the meantime, you may want to make the affected area inaccessible, using warning tapes, cones or posters and advise staff or members of the public not to use the affected facility. 

Preventing Blocked Drains

Although blocked drains can be fixed relatively easy by professionals, it’s best to minimise the risk of blockages occurring, if you can. Drain sieves are an easy and low-cost way to prevent debris from entering plugholes and moving down into the connected pipework. Simply resting them over the plughole in your kitchen sink, shower, bath or bathroom sink will ensure only very tiny particles can pass through. Alternatively, waste plugs and even garbage disposals can be fitted on some sinks to reduce the risk of debris causing a blockage. 

By taking steps to reduce the accumulation of debris, you’ll notice that your drains become blocked far less often. When it does happen, however, you can rely on professional technicians or plumbers to resolve the issue quickly, safely and effectively.

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