What Causes Collapsed Drains?

Collapsed drains are not only messy and unhygienic but can cause severe and wide-spread disruptions. A drain that is unable to flow freely can force water to escape elsewhere in the surrounding ground. This can introduce damp patches in walls and floors of nearby buildings, unpleasant odours, slow drains, strange-looking patches of grass, sewage accumulation, infestations and subsidence. So to help diagnose the cause of a collapsed drain – read on!

collapsed drain

Causes of a collapsed drain

There are many causes of a collapsed drain, including blockages, tree roots, wear and tear, freezing and melting, and ground movement.

Wear and tear – the older the building, the older the pipes are likely to be, and when wear and tear gets too much, a drain can collapse. Drains can experience wear and tear through frequent use and through surrounding elements such as ground heaves and structural sediment.

If you suspect your drains are worn, it’s important to discuss with a professional who will be able to locate and replace an already collapsed drain or a soon-to-be one. 

Tree roots as they spread and grow in search of water and nutrients, it comes as no surprise that tree roots are lured to the trenches that house underground drains and pipes. With this disturbed soil, tree roots can flourish as it’s a lot easier for tree roots to travel in loose soil, opposed to tackling hard and undisturbed ground. As tree roots take hold of this area, the pressure around the drains increases, which can cause them to collapse.

Although not simple, collapsed drains caused by tree roots can be fixed by tree removal and a brand new drain line installation. 

Freezing and melting – winter weather, depending on how low the temperatures fall, can be damaging to drains. As the earth freezes and expands, the ground surrounding the pipes moves. Then when the temperatures rise again, the frozen earth melts and the ground settles again. This arduous process can cause drains to sag (droop or slope) which can lead them to collapse.

You can try to avoid this by keeping your heating on low throughout the night, this will ensure drains have a continuous water flow. 

Ground movement – earthquakes, heavy rain and flooding can put pressure on underground drain pipes, which can cause cracks, breakages and misalignment -all of which can lead to a collapsed drain. 

If you’re at all concerned about your drains, opt for a CCTV drain survey. This service provides you with underground visuals of your drainage system and helps to identify the problem. 

At Express Drainage Surveys we provide COVID-compliant, no-contact surveys to keep you safe whilst we pinpoint and rectify your drainage issue. For more information about our CCTV drain surveys or to schedule a visit, contact us today.