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A simple guide to water pipes, sewer pipes and drainage

Most homeowners don’t give a second thought to the plumbing that runs below their house. Consequently these pipes are often left well alone beneath your property, quietly working away to keep the water feeding to and from your house. Nobody is asking you to become an expert, but some basic knowledge of how the drainage in your house works could come in handy if you ever have to organise repairs or installation. So take a few minutes to get yourself clued up with our simple guide to water pipes, sewer pipes and drainage.

Water pipes

What are water pipes?

These pipes deliver water to your home and are connected to a water main. Sometimes these pipes serve just one single property, and sometimes they may serve more than one property, splitting into branch pipes that lead to each individual home. Materials most commonly used to make water supply pipes are PVC, cast iron, steel, copper and possibly clay.

Identifying and fixing problems

  • Sometimes leaks in the water pipes may leak, which can be a costly problem for you if not identified quickly. If you have a water meter, there is a simple way to check for leaks. Simply turn off all taps and water-producing appliances and wait 30 minutes before taking a meter reading. Wait another hour and take another reading, and then compare the two readings; if they have changed noticeably, you may have a leak. Hugely damaging to interiors, and to your pocket, leaks require specialist help from a reliable drainage company, who can solve the problem for you.
  • If your home was built before 1970, there is a small possibility that your water pipe could be made from lead. This could be problematic, as lead-tainted water could be harmful to small children or unborn babies. Lead pipes can be identified by their dark grey appearance that is easily marked. If you discover your home has lead piping, it is advisable to hire a trusted plumber to lay a new pipe.

Other things to consider

  • A water supply pipe is your responsibility when it crosses the boundary of your property. When more than one property is supplied by a supply pipe, it is everyone’s responsibility.
  • If you build a new home or extend your current home, your builder will have to connect your new build to the water mains. Plumbing new properties has to meet certain legal requirements, which are detailed in the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, so make sure to get a trained professional on the job.

A simple guide to water pipes, sewer pipes and drainage

Sewer pipes

What are sewer pipes?

The purpose of sewer pipes is to flush all wastewater away from your home and into the sewers. Whenever you flush the toilet or use your dishwasher, this wastewater will leave via your private drain, which will then connect to a sewer pipe that is shared between several houses. Sewer pipes are commonly made from clay, cast iron and plastic.

Identifying and fixing problems

  • Permission is not usually required for very small works or repairs, but bigger jobs may demand permission before the work can commence.
  • Sewer pipes and drains can occasionally become blocked. Telltale signs of this issue can include your household water draining away slowly, or nasty smells lingering around drains. This can be unpleasant for you and your family, and will need to be unblocked by a drain specialist.

Other things to consider

  • If a problem arises in your own private drain, you will need to make arrangements to get it fixed. If the problem has occurred in a shared sewer pipe or outside the boundaries of your property, then this is not your personal responsibility to mend.
  • When constructing a new build, you will need to connect up to the public sewer. You may require permission to do this, to ensure the work is carried out safely and to a high standard.

For expert drainage solutions, look no further than Jet Rod. Established since 1988, we have become a leading name in the drainage industry, tackling jobs ranging from unblockings to repairs to installations. We serve the Warrington, Macclesfield, Stockport and Crewe areas and aim to offer our clients top-notch service and workmanship. We are ready to take your call 24 hours a day, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.



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