Drain Repair: Down-pipes and Drains


The sections of down-pipes (identified in Image 1) should be inspected and cleaned at regular intervals and any rusted patches dealt with as explained above. Broken or loose joints should be tightened and cracked sections should be repaired with lead paint and soft putty, or with metal cement, unless the crack is wide or extensive, in which case it will be necessary to replace the damaged section.

Sections of down-pipe are secured to outside wall surfaces by maws of stout nails or screws driven into wall-plugs through the holes in the brackets, as illustrated in below in Image 2. It is necessary to remove the bracket to replace a damaged section of pipe. In most cases down-pipes are metal, and being cast iron they require careful handling to avoid any risk of breakage. In some modern houses, down-pipes may be of asbestos; this material is as brittle as cast iron and will easily crack if dealt with too roughly.

descriptive terms of exterior parts of house for home maintenance

Other pipes running down the outside of a house are the waste-pipes from baths, lavatory basins and sinks, and sewage air pipes. They should also be inspected at regular intervals and any necessary maintenance carried out as explained above.

When inspecting gutters, the top sections of down-pipes, including the curved swan-neck (see Image: Types of Gutters), should be cleaned. This is best done by inserting a length of flexible curtain spring into the opening and working it backwards and forwards to remove any entrapped leaves or other obstruction, such as birds’ nests. After probing the swan-neck, any loosened rubbish should be swilled down by a bucket of water poured into the top opening. Protection from obstructions can be afforded to downpipes by fitting a dome-shaped wire grill of the type shown in Image: Types of Gutters.

The pipes on a side of a house which project above the surface of the guttering of the roof are not main water pipes; these are commonly known as sewer pipes and their function is to provide a supply of air to the sewage draining of a house. These work in the same way as sewage vents, which may be found in the gardens of most houses, in the form of projecting pipes fitted with a grill or perforated top, and placed somewhere between the house and the road. These vents do not exist as some people imagine for the purpose of carrying off sewer gases; their sole function is to permit the free entry of air so that when water is run through the sewage drain a vacuum or air lock is not caused.


drainsAll down-pipes run into drains. Rainwater pipes usually run into sealed drains; waste-water pipes run into open drains of the type shown right. The water is passed to the main sewage through an inspection trap as illustrated in Image 2 (right). Access to the inspection trap is gained by a square metal cover or manhole. The cover of the inspection trap should be lifted at intervals, and the inside surfaces of the trap inspected for any cracks to brickwork or concrete, necessitating repair; also any scum from house-waste pipes should be cleaned off, and the inside surfaces of the inspection trap sprinkled with disinfectant powder.

All drains should be flushed at fairly frequent intervals with hot soda-water to remove any grease that may have solidified on the insides of the pipes. If a drain clogs it should be cleared without delay and unless you possesses the necessary equipment, which consists of bamboo rods, a screw and plunger, as illustrated in Image 2, drain clearage is a job for a plumber. However, before calling a plumber, lift the cover of the inspection trap and try to clear the exit pipes with a long pole.

Drains should be kept covered, and if they run flush with paths it is advisable to make a brick or concrete edging of the type shown in Image 2, and this should be fitted with a wood cover. Drain covers will prevent the entry of sweepings and dead leaves, etc., and covered drains are also more hygienic.

07. July 2011 by admin
Categories: External Repairs, Gutters & Drainpipes | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Drain Repair: Down-pipes and Drains


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