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Plumbing Emergency: What To Do During a Flood

Welcome! My name is Sally. This is my blog about plumbing. I decided to start writing about plumbing after a very scary experience. I arrived home from work one day only to discover that a pipe burst in my home. When I opened the front door, I saw a torrent of water pouring down the stairs. I panicked and ran next door to my neighbour. Luckily, he used to work as a construction contractor, so he has a lot of experience in dealing with household problems. He helped me to turn off the mains water and helped me to mop up the mess. After this event, I decided I wanted to learn more about the plumbing in my house, so I went to a night school class.

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Plumbing Emergency: What To Do During a Flood

Turning Over A New Leaf: Stopping Autumn Leaves From Blocking Your Outside Drains

by Melvin Owens

Blocked indoor drains can be tiresome and expensive to deal with, and most of us take care to avoid shoving anything too dangerous down our sinks and plugholes. However, outdoor drains, such as the french drains and culverts used to direct water away from driveways, generally receive much less care and attention, when the consequences of a blockage can be easily catastrophic. 

One particular source of peril for your outdoor drains is falling leaves in the autumn, and thick, waterproof layers of rotting leaf detritus can quickly build up in neglected outdoor drains. These blockages can cause flash flooding in rainstorms and can affect the existing water drainage channels on your property to cause waterlogging and other problems. Fortunately, keeping leafy blockages out of your drains is a relatively simple endeavor, as long as you remember to take a few key precautions:

Regular maintenance

Removing leaf litter buildups from your drains as it appears is the best and easiest way to prevent blockages, so take a stiff-bristled broom to your drains regularly throughout the autumn months. More established blockages can be removed with a hose or pressure washer. However, you should be careful not to inadvertently worsen blockages while doing this -- pushing leaves into downspouts, storm drains and other inaccessible parts of your outdoor drainage system will make them much more difficult to remove. Make sure to direct the leaf litter away from downspouts while you clean.

Grates or no grates?

Open drain types such as French drains are often covered with metal grates, which can help prevent larger pieces of leaf litter and detritus from entering the drain. However, these grates can be a curse as well as a blessing, as any leaf-based clogs which do appear can be more difficult to find. Placing a grate over your drain also reduces the amount of solid matter required to completely clog a drain. As such, drains that run under overhanging trees may be better off being left open, as long as you remember to clear the drain as needed. Downspouts and entrances to underground drains should always be covered.

When worst comes to worst

If despite all your best efforts your outdoor drain does become clogged with leaves, you can try to clear the blockage yourself. While leaf litter does not respond well to drain-cleaning chemicals, wet/dry vacuum cleaners can be effective at removing minor blockages and can be hired relatively cheaply from plumbing equipment or plant hire companies. 

However, if a substantial blockage refuses to be moved, you should consider calling in a professional drain unblocking service. These services are equipped with powerful, truck-mounted vacuums to remove even the largest lumps of leaf litter, while protecting your drains (particularly underground sections) from accidental damage which can permanently reduce the efficiency of a drain. Unblocking services are also the best choice for tackling deep blockages in downspouts and soakwells, which can be very dangerous to try and unblock yourself.

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