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Help, I’ve got a blockage

There are a number of things that can cause a drain to get blocked. Here’s a guide to finding where the blockage is, and how to fix it.

Blockages inside your home

If the problem is only affecting drains inside your home, the first step is to find out if more than one drain is affected.

If more than one drain is affected

  • If more than one fitting, like a sink and a bath, is blocked or not draining properly, and they’re in different rooms, the problem could be with the main sewage outflow from your home. Please see our advice on outside blockages.
  • If more than one fitting is blocked and they are in the same room, the problem is likely to be with a waste water pipe that those fittings share. In this case you could try using a liquid drain unblocker, though be aware that some harsh chemicals may mark or damage your plughole, so always check the manufacturer's recommendations first.
  • If this doesn’t work you will need to contact a professional drain or plumbing specialist.

If only one drain is affected

If it’s just one fitting, like a sink or shower, that’s not draining properly, the blockage is probably in or near to that specific plughole.

  • For sinks, showers and baths the trap (the top part of the plughole) can usually be unscrewed or unclipped, removed and cleaned.
  • If this doesn’t solve the problem then use a plunger to try and dislodge whatever debris is blocking the drain.
  • With a little water in the bottom of the sink, bath or shower, place the plunger firmly over the plughole with one hand, and pump it up and down sharply while blocking the overflow holes with the other hand.
  • If a plunger doesn’t solve the problem, try using a liquid drain unblocker, though be aware that some harsh chemicals may mark or damage your plughole, so always seek the manufacturer's recommendations first.
  • If this doesn’t work you’ll need to contact a professional drain or plumbing specialist.

Outside drains

If the blocked drain is outside your home, you will need to do one of two things:

  • If your development is not yet complete (ie there is still building work going on), please contact your New Home Customer Care team.
  • If the development is complete, you will need to arrange for a drain specialist to address the problem. Be sure to ask them to retain any material that is found to be obstructing drainage and/or photographic evidence.
Outside drain

Avoiding blockages

  • Kitchen sink - avoid pouring any cooking grease down the sink, or solids of any kind (including coffee grounds). Make sure plates are well-scraped before washing them. Cooking grease can be poured into a container to cool, and then put in the bin.
  • Bathroom sink, baths and shower - installing a hair trap in the plug hole should help to catch waste that might otherwise cause a blockage. Simply remove the hair trap at regular intervals and tap the waste into a bin.
  • Toilets - never try to flush anything other than toilet tissue. That means no nappies, sanitary products, cotton wool, wet-wipes etc. You’d be surprised at just how many toilet blockages are caused by people flushing inappropriate things down the toilet.
  • Act early - using a liquid drain unblocker at the first sign of a clogged drain can help prevent a more serious blockage later on.
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The New Home Customer Care Team is available via phone and email.

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