As water is used in your kitchen and bathrooms, it is channelled away from your property via a system of pipes.
These pipes all lead to one place – the main drain that runs from your property to main sewer, usually located beneath the road that passes your home.
Other properties may have a septic tank and this means all waste water is collected in an underground tank that is occasionally emptied.
The drain and sewerage system in the UK is old. As new properties, domestic and commercial, spring up all over villages, towns and cities, extra pressure in placed on the sewerage system to deal with an increasing amount of waste water.
As a result, drains collapse or may need repairing at some point.
Who is responsible for drain repairs?
In some areas of the country, such as in Wales, drain repairs and upkeep can be the responsibility of your water supplier.
But in other areas, as the property owner, you are responsible for the drains that run from your property into the main sewer.
It may be possible to get drains insurance cover so that if something did go wrong and you needed a professional contractor to deal with it, the insurance may cover the cost.
Which pipe is which?
A drain is a pipe that drains rainwater and waste from your property into the main sewer. We know these are drain pipes and can be seen running from gutters, bathrooms and kitchens. Drain pipe repair is a DIY task that most people can easily accomplish.
Plastic drain pipes are widely available. Simply ensure you purchase the same width of drain pipe, remove the damaged pipe and replace with the new one. Fixings are simple to remove and replace too.
Plastic components are cheap but for other materials such as aluminium drain pipes, you may need a roofing company or building to repair or replace them.
A lateral drain is a length of pipe that carries waste water away from your property. It is also known as the main drain and is located outside the boundary of your property, under the pavement or road.
Should there be a need for collapsed drain repair of the main sewer, this is the responsibility of the water carrier and not you.
Can you perform drain repairs yourself?
If you have good DIY skills and basic tools, you could perform a drain repair of a pipe which is on your property.
In drainage pipes, water is not under pressure but the pipe needs to be water tight to prevent waste water from seeping into the ground beneath, potentially making it unstable.
With lateral drains, there are means of being able to seal any cracks etc. without the need to dig up patios, driveways etc.
First, you need to be confident that the pipe is damaged or leaking. You may notice sodden earth around the drain or make use of a telescopic camera to identify where and what the problem is.
It may be possible to fix the drain by inserting a new pipe into the existing one, complete with an adhesive bond on the outer surface of the new pipe and ‘sticking’ this in place where the damage has occurred.
Unless you have all the equipment and the ability to perform it properly, this will only be a temporary repair.
Professional drainage repair services
Your local authority can repair lateral drains as can the local water board who will then invoice you for the work carried out.
Or, with insurance, you can find a drainage repair contractor to complete the work.