‘Tis the Season: Christmas Drain Issues

While our minds may be on other things as the nights draw in and things start to feel a little more festive, Christmas time can have an untoward effect on our drainage systems. Suffering from drainage issues at this time of year could quite easily put a dampener on things, so taking the time to consider a few potential causes of blockages or damage to pipework could save a lot of stress and allow you to enjoy your Christmas.

Food Waste

Drain strainer

These days, it’s not uncommon for kitchen sinks to come with some form of plughole strainer, but this doesn’t mean that drains are completely immune from food waste and leftovers on plates from entering the drains and causing a blockage. Take care to scrape plates before putting them in the sink, and empty strainers regularly.

It’s likely that many friends and family members will be coming and going throughout the Christmas period, and this can take its toll on kitchen drains. With lots of entertaining and the cooking of large meals comes the potential for lot of grease and fats causing mayhem with drains.

Whether it’s cleaning out the roast turkey pans or getting that last bit of gravy out of the jug, it’s estimated that around 250 tonnes of cooking fat will find its way down into the drainage system this Christmas. Using kitchen paper to soak up excess fat and throwing it into the bin will help to reduce blockages in your own pipes.

Excess Appliance Use

Dishwasher strainer

Just as it does with sink drains, food waste and cooking grease causes similar issues with dishwashers, which can see drastically increased usage over the Christmas period. Scrape plates and bowls into the bin before placing them in the dishwasher, and be sure to keep a close eye on the filter, removing it and cleaning it when necessary.

The same goes for washing machines – with family home for the holidays, you might find yourself putting on a few extra loads a week, so be sure to clear out powder trays and pay attention to slow draining of water from the drum.

Going Away? Leave the Heating on!

It’s not just food waste and other objects that can cause blockages in your plumbing; if temperatures drop below zero and your pipes are left exposed, water inside them can freeze. Not only can this create blockages and stop water from flowing out of taps and showers, it can also cause pipes to burst, flooding homes.

If you’re at home over Christmas, chances are the heating will be on a couple of times a day which will prevent this, but those who will be out of the house are advised to leave heating on at a low temperature to stop pipes from freezing.


While the UK (mostly) doesn’t suffer the extreme low temperatures that other areas of the world endure over winter, the season does still bring with it a number of weather conditions that can cause havoc for drainage systems. Fallen autumn leaves combined with snow and swirling winds mean blockages in downpipes and guttering, while excess rainfall can see drains and sewers unable to cope and overflowing. Ensure that leaf guards are in place, and take the time to clear snow away from the mouths of drains to prevent overflowing when it thaws.

See also “Is There a Best Time for a Drainage Survey?

If your drains are feeling the effects of the Christmas season and have suffered a blockage or damage in need of repair, the experts at Express Drainage Surveys are on hand to help. We carry out full CCTV surveys of all drains, identifying the location and nature of the problem and rectifying the issue in the most effective way possible. Get in touch with Express Drainage Surveys today to find out more.