How to tell if my drains are blocked

Often, drain blockages are difficult to identify. Some may be located deep inside your pipes, making home remedy a useless exercise. If you suspect your drainage system is suffering, it’s vital to know what clues to look out for. In this article, we cover the most common signs that your drains are blocked. This way, you can swiftly identify and solve the issue before it gets worse.

Plunger in sink

4 Warning Signs of a Blocked Drain

A bad smell

Are your sinks, plug holes and drains emitting a bad odour? Smelly drains are not uncommon, and are a surefire indication that your drain is blocked or needs a little TLC. The unpleasant smell is created by the slow decomposition of stuck food and fats in the drainage pipe. Sometimes this smell becomes stronger if the tap is turned on. The cause of the smell is occasionally easy to solve, and you could clean the drainage pipe yourself by pouring drain cleaner down the pipes. If this does not solve the problem and the smell remains, this may be symptomatic of a more persistent issue or blockage that needs professional attention. 

Slow drainage 

Check the baths, toilets and sinks in your home. If the water is draining away slowly, this could be indicative of a blockage that needs to be addressed. Sluggish water drainage is caused by the water having to squeeze around the blockage, disrupting its ease of flow. Also – if just one appliance is having problems, then it’s likely the problem is specific to just that one fixture and its pipes. If all the appliances, sinks and toilets in the building are experiencing problems, the source of the issue may be the sewer drain. 

Raised water levels

Carry out the following test to discover if your drains are clogged – run the taps or flush your toilet, and observe if the water in the toilets rises. If it does, you may have a blockage. This could be something easily removed with a plunger, or it could require professional help to pinpoint exactly where the blockage is, before a successful removal operation can be carried out. 

Unusual sounds 

Listen out for unusual sounds coming from your drains. Gurgling sounds can be caused by air being pushed back up the pipe due to disruption from a blockage. As you run the water, the air bubbles have their chance to escape, causing the sound. Of course, water gurgles naturally anyway as it runs down drains, so if you’re not sure, it’s best to get a specialist to give a full diagnosis and resolution. 


Wondering if you’re suffering from clogged drains? We have the solution. Here at Express Drainage Surveys, we offer extensive drainage surveys using the latest technology and cameras. From the data we gather, we then implement an effective solution. So, if your home or business in London requires a reliable drainage expert, get in touch with our specialists today.