Common Drainage Problems

... and how it affects the value of your house!

Selling a property is stressful enough without the added problems that can arise due to issues around disrepair.

If you’re not looking after your property on a regular basis, these problems will crop up. One of the most damaging issues is drainage. Left unchecked, it can create expensive repair jobs, and even lead to your home being devalued.

This is not something you want to happen, it’s not a pleasant surprise. The first piece of information you need to arm yourself with is what causes such a problem to occur in the first place.

So, what causes blocked drains?

One place where a blocked drain can be caused is the kitchen. A lot happens in the kitchen, and much of the waste products of the home go via the kitchen too. The capacity for drainage problems is significant.

For example:

  • Grease can build up in a private drain as a result of the disposal of food and the cleaning of crockery
  • Food itself can clog up the drainage from the kitchen, and this can be particularly unpleasant, as well as difficult to remove
  • Crockery may become chipped or broken, and pieces of this can add up in a drainage system over time

Read: Failings of a Kitchen (That Will Knock £1000's Off The Price)

In the bathroom:

  • Hair can quite easily block drains over time
  • Disposable nappies and other items can be flushed down the toilet, therefore causing problems with the drainage


  • The drains outside are literally exposed to the elements, and this can mean all sorts of drainage problems
  • Twigs and leaves, which are a normal part of the weather, can clog up your drains outside, causing problems over time
  • Tree roots can also cause problems to drains outside

Read: Flood Damaged Home: To Repair or Not Repair?

How do I know I have a blockage?

The blockage is quite easy to spot in the home. One of the most obvious signs that you have blocked drains will be the slow draining of sinks and bathtubs. If the excess water is not ‘going down’ as quick as it usually does, this indicates there is something wrong with the drains.

Another way a private blocked drain presents itself is through bad smells. As you would expect, a blocked drain can smell very bad, and you’ll notice the smell almost immediately.

If you smell a blocked drain, you’re basically noticing a sewage smell. A pipework problem will throw up smells such as these. Seals in the pipework could have been damaged due to blockages for example.

Outside the property, you can notice a blockage very easily when you see an overflow at the drains themselves. This is extremely unpleasant and sometimes even shows that the drains are heavily blocked. If they’ve overflowed to this extent than you have a serious problem that needs dealing with immediately.

Read: You Won’t Believe These Common House Survey Problems

What all this means for your property value

This Drain Has No ProblemA lot of this depends on the survey and the approach that a prospective buyer takes. If a full survey is carried out on the property then the drainage problem will be discovered. At this point the buyers may well say that they would like a reduced price on the property. They have every right to do this, especially since drain problems can prove to be very expensive.

In addition, a drainage and water search will be undertaken as part of standard practice by the buyer’s solicitor. This is not to ascertain the quality of the drainage and see if there are any repairs. Instead, it is to see who is responsible for maintaining the drainage and water systems on the property. For example, there are still some properties in the UK that have their own, isolated drainage system.

Even a Homebuyers Report (the basic standard) will show up issues with drainage, although it won’t go into detail. The best thing to do to avoid reducing your home’s value is to take some preventative measures around the problem.

Solve the problem:

  • Routinely check the guttering on the property for blockages.
  • Get rid of any clumps of leaves or other tree or bush debris. Over time, this will clog up drains and create excess water
  • Ensure that your outlets (such as sinks and baths) to the drainage system are kept as clean as possible.

This means being careful about what you flush away, and also making sure that hair and other items isn’t allowed to block up plug holes

Poor private drainage in properties can at the very least lead to questions being raised, questions which you’ll be able to prevent. Also, if you’re in a property with a system that is damaged or potentially troublesome, it will most likely come up in a survey. And that means your property will decrease in value.

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