What to do if your down pipes are blocked

Posted in Maintenance @ Jul 26th 2011 3:02pm - By Administrator
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A leak in the roof might not be coming from the roof itself, but from blocked downpipes.
Over the years a downpipe can become blocked with leaves and many other things causing a back-up of water that could spill over the flashing and into the eves of your home.
 
From this point water can leak into the ceilings and down the walls.
Regular maintenance of your downpipes is necessary to stop a leaky roof in its tracks. 
 
Not every downpipe problem is solved by a good cleaning. If the drain is too old, it will mean you will need to replace it to permanently stop the leaking. Although this is not too common, it can happen from time to time.
A local plumber will be able to tell you if the drain is just blocked or will need replacing.
Sometimes however homeowners think they have a leaky roof when in actual fact a pipe in an upstairs bathroom is leaking and traveling through the ceiling.
 
In cases like these, it’s not a job for a roofer, but an experienced plumber.
Your roof drain is often used on flat roofs to connect the roof to the outlet pipe. However, they will definatlely need some cleaning from time to time, as they tend to get blocked up.  Leaves at the top of your downpipe can form a blockage or small animals can nest on them. This will cause water to back up on the roof and can lead to leakage that runs into the building.
 
1 – Inspection
If you have a blockage in your downpipe, you will need to inspect it first. Firstly clear all leaves or debris from around the drain. Shine a torch down to see if you can see anything obvious, such as nesting animals or an accumulation of leaves.
If there are animals, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to remove them from the top of the drain. Under these circumstances, it is best to seek professional advice from your local plumber.
 
2 – Jet rodder
Call your local plumber for this one. The plumbers' jet rodder will be able to clear most of the blockages. Feed it down into the roof drain until the blockage is removed. Depending on how deep or thick the blockage is, you might need to repeat this process a few times. The plumber will keep feeding his or her jet rodder through until the blockage disperses at the other end of the pipe.
 
3 – Clean the Roof Drain
Cleaning the roof drain regularly will help stop blockages and cut down on plumbing maintenance. It is very important in autumn when the trees lose their leaves. Around this time, the roof should be cleaned with a brush from a dust pan at least once a month.  At other times of the year, checking every three months should be adequate.
 
With the roof clear of leaves, you can begin cleaning the dowpipes. Using the hose, run water through each one to make sure it’s draining easily and freely. Use the brush from the dust pan to remove any light debris that might be stuck to the side. Finish by flushing out once more with water and repeat for every down pipe.
 
If you don’t feel up to the task or lack the necessary equipment, contact us at Blackjade Plumbing about handling the job in most cases it’ll get done faster, safer and depending on the task sometimes cheaper.

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