Blocked gully serving a rainwater pipe

'Don’t waste your money on drain rods and chemicals from the supermarket,' says Danny O'Hara from Keighley-based Flowmaster Plumbing & Drainage. 'A professional can clear a blocked gully for the same price, if not cheaper.'

How can I make it cheaper?

The cause of a blocked gully is usually leaf litter silt and moss. If there are lots of trees close to your home, a Hedgehog Gutter Brush is a good investment, says Danny. 'It allows water to flow in your gutters but prevents leaves sitting there and then washing down the rainwater pipe before blocking the gully.' A gully guard will also help prevent leaf litter from entering the gully, preventing blockages.

Blocked drain serving a toilet

What adds expense?

'Missing the cause of a blocked toilet drain can lead to further problems at a later date,' says Danny. 'Make sure that your drain clearance contractor conducts a CCTV inspection once the drain seems clear to find any defects such as tree root ingress, displaced joints and fractures.'

How can I make it cheaper?

'If there defects in the drain, it’s usually cheaper and less disruptive to the homeowner to install a drain liner rather than carry out an excavation.'

Before you call out the drain and sewer company, check that the problem isn’t simply that the toilet push button (found on modern cisterns) isn’t delivering the full flush. Without the right volume of water, foul waste may not be carried away. This can sometimes be overcome by holding the toilet push button down until the water stops flushing down the pan. It could prevent an unnecessary call-out.

Blocked gully serving a kitchen sink

What adds expense?

A blockage that’s hard to clear will cost more if your emergency drain company is charging by the hour.

'Disposing of food and cooking fat down the sink can create greasy deposits that are difficult to remove,' says Danny.

How can I make it cheaper?

'Prevent this from happening by putting food waste in the bin and absorbing grease or fat using kitchen roll or newspaper before placing in the bin,' says Danny.

His final tip is 'Pour hot cooking fat into a jam jar or similar container. Then place this in the fridge or freezer once it has cooled down. The fat will solidify so that you can scrape it straight into a bin.'

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