The mystery of the missing sock may have finally been solved. Drainage engineers recovered over 5,000 pairs of pants, knickers and socks from the nation’s pipes last year, according to figures released by home emergency experts HomeServe.
Bizarre objects including garden furniture, fireworks, dog bowls, shuttlecocks and a £10 note have all been discovered in blocked pipes around the UK – and gadgets such as mobile phones and handheld gaming devices regularly find their way down the drain.
More than one in twenty callouts resulted in the discovery of a dead animal such as rodents. Drainage systems are a bit like an underground highway to rats, enabling them access to properties, especially if the drains are no longer in use. Deceased pigeons sometimes pop their proverbial clogs in gutters and get swept away into the pipework, causing a blockage. If a dead bird isn’t cleared from your gutters over a period of time rain will pour down your property, causing damp. It’s easy to rectify the situation by netting and wiring to deter birds from nesting.
Five Simple Drainage Dos and Don’ts
1. Don’t pour leftover fat down the drain. An estimated 500,000 sewer blockages per year in the UK are caused by waste fat solidifying in pipes. Keep food packaging to store leftover fat, before disposing of it with the rest of the rubbish.
2. Do buy a plughole sieve for your kitchen sink. As well as catching stray food pieces, this will prevent smaller items from being accidentally lost down the drain.
3. Don’t flush the family goldfish. Whilst it may seem the most convenient method of disposal, a proper burial ceremony affords you much more satisfactory closure, as well as reducing the risk of a plumbing emergency.
4. Do remove jewellery before doing the washing up.
5. Don’t allow small children to take their toys into the bathroom unsupervised – the logic behind this should be obvious.
The Top Ten Drain Blocking Culprits
1. Household waste (hair, fat, food, dirt, general build-up) – 71% (46,150 callouts per year)
2. Children’s toys – 9.7% (6,305)
3. Food packaging – 9.7% (6,305)
4. Underwear – 7.7% (5,005)
5. Dead animals – 5.5% (3,575)
6. Animal/Bird nests – 4.4% (2,860)
7. Jewellery – 4.2% (2,730)
8. Cigarette packets – 3.7% (2,405)
9. Bottles – 2.4% (1,560)
10. Mobile phones and other gadgets – 1.1% (715)