It’s a strange one however personally I am fascinated with Drainage. It is essential part of our properties which we do not see but expect to work in harmony with our lifestyles. Whenever I receive a report of poor drainage in a new build property I always get very excited to find out what is causing the problem, as there are a few issues that need to be checked involving in some cases a CCTV survey or lifting the drain and popping a float in to see what way the water is running.
The first thing that many homeowners experience is the rising and dropping of the water level in the toilet which is a good indication that something is not quite right. If left it really isn’t very long before the rising water gets higher to the point where it is lapping the edge of the toilet or spills over especially if another toilet in the house is flushed. It is important to address any drainage issue quickly as it is not going to get better.
When the property is built the drains are laid as part of the substructure and according to the plumbing code a drain pipe has to be sloped a minimum of 1/4-inch per foot and a maximum of three inches per foot or vertical. A slope of less than 1/4-inch per foot will cause constant drain clogs and a slope of more than three inches will allow the water to drain without the solids. The water flow is checked at the time that the drains are laid however it has to be remembered in the houses built today you will have, in many cases a cloakroom containing a toilet and sink downstairs and a bathroom upstairs with a toilet, shower and bath. Outside of the property you will find a plastic cover that allows access to the drain inspection chamber that has been sunk outside connecting the waste from the property to a drain run outside connecting it either to the main sewer or a pumping station situated on the site pushing the waste into the main sewer. When looking into the inspection area you will see the main run through the middle and lateral or branches off taking waste from other inlets such as kitchen sinks or cloakroom sinks. In many cases when I have inspected a drain with issues, I see soil which has backed up and other debris such as sanitary waste and cotton wool buds, even on some occasions children’s toys!!!
On some occasions during the construction process waste cement or rubble can fall into the drain run as the plastic pipes housing the drain base can be set in the ground as low as 6ft deep and is made up of interconnecting rings of plastic which can move and allow earth and rubble into the drain. In some cases, set plaster can end up in the drain run as when the dry liners have finished slimming the installed boards, they will wash out their buckets and tip down the nearest drain. If that drain hasn’t been laid with a correct slop level or the tap not run after the waste plaster been tipped down it will settle and solidify, therefore causing the blockage. If the chamber base outside has been laid unlevel once the initial surge of water has left the pipe some soil may backfill the pipes and start to create the opportunity of a blockage. If inappropriate items such as sanitary waste or too much toilet paper has been used this too creates a problem.
The NBRA do advise that only 2ply toilet paper been used as after working with an established drainage clearance company for many years now know that 3ply luxury paper is the cause of many problems which can run into £100’s of pounds to resolve.
We are all becoming very aware of the waste ending up in our oceans and when we look back to our Victorian ancestors they didnt use toilet paper let alone the many other items flushed down our toilets now, which is well known as the dirty dozen. They comprise of cotton buds, baby wipes, household cleaning wipes, tampons, tampon applicators, facial wipes, cleansing pads, cigarettes, plasters, nappies and menstrual pads and cotton wool. Many of these items do contain plastic and will take many years to biodegrade.
The toilets we see installed in our bathrooms today have a split flush system and are known as Dual Flush systems. The smaller button is linked to a smaller reservoir which is idea for pee and the larger button connected to a slightly larger reservoir for pee and handful of 2 ply paper. Using both buttons allows you access to the full flush which should remove poo and paper however it is important to remember to dress fully and hold for the whole flush to work correctly.
If you wish to, please watch the informative video produced by South West Water on You Tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMC54M20_CA. Feel free to contact NBRA is the usual way via www.newbuildrights.com or call us on 01202 518305 if you think you may be noticing the levels rising in your toilet for our team to assist you in resolving.