How To Keep Your Gutters Clean

If you are like most people, you probably never give much thought to your gutters.  We all take our gutters for granted, never giving them much thought when they seem to be doing their job – that is of course, until they don’t!  Think about it, when was the last time you stood on a ladder and checked to make sure all was working as expected in your gutters?  Or even hired someone else to check them for you?  Yet, if you don’t pay at least a little attention to them, there is a lot of irreparable damage that can be caused by ignoring them.

Gutters are there whether we see them or not.  They are a pertinent part of the house and a key to home maintenance.  We tend to forget about them but they are there for a purpose.  Clogged gutters can be a problem and they are one of the main causes of ground-floor (or basement) water problems and cracked foundations.  It is difficult to imagine something high above your head can be responsible for damages that can occur below your feet.  With an annual maintenance program, you can avoid potential costly repairs and damage to your home.

blocked-gutter

Gutters are designed to direct water flow down a spout and away from your home.  When installed or cleaned properly this will prevent a series of problems such as:

  • Flooding your ground-floor or basement – Would you believe the main cause of water damage in a basement comes from clogged gutters?  When it rains, water drains from your roof but if it has nowhere to go, it will discover the path of least resistance.  Often, this is inside your soffits where it will run all the way down into the basement. If you don’t have a basement, the water often causes the problem on your lowest floor.
  • Cracked Foundations – This is more of a threat in cold weather when the foundation of a home can be compromised by freezing temperatures.  When water settles around your foundation it can cause a condition called frost heave.  This can cause severe cracks in your foundation.
  • Rotten Wood – This is a result of trapped moisture cut off from air circulation to help dry out the wood fascia around the house.
  • Insect Breeding – When your gutters do not drain properly and there is freestanding debris and water left in them they are a breeding ground for a variety of insects including wasps and wood destroying insects.

Cleaning your gutters regularly can save you lots of work and headaches later.  Here are some tips to follow:

  1. Make sure you have a safe ladder.  If you have to lean it against the roof, make sure you don’t lean it against the downspout or gutter.
  2. More than likely, you will find the gutters full of caked dirt, leaves, twigs and numerous other materials.  Remove the loose material with a scoop, garden trowel or large spoon.
  3. Wet down the left over caked dirt so it can be easily scrapped away without damaging the gutter.
  4. If you find your downspouts are clogged place a garden hose at the top and turn on using light pressure then working it up as necessary.  If this doesn’t work, use a plumbers snake.
  5. Once you have finished cleaning, run water in the gutters to check for any leaks.

You have probably heard the expression, “it’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it.”  Well, guess what?  If you don’t fancy servicing and clearing your gutters yourself, the drain doctor can help! We now offer gutter cleaning across Glasgow, Stirling and Falkirk! Contact us today for more information.

Blocked outside drain?

Do you have issues with a blocked outside drain? Don’t fancy dealing with it yourself? The drain doctor can help! We offer an outside drain unblocking service across Glasgow, Stirling and Falkirk! Contact us today for more information.

The Drain Doctor Offers New Gutter Cleaning Service

Here at Drain Doctor we are always looking to be one step ahead of our competitors to ensure that our customers not only get the best service, but get the right team with the right tools for the job.

Which is why we have just taken stock of a brand new Gutter vacuum Unit that can reach up to a height of 12m and hold up to a capacity of 75 litres making it ideal for the homes and businesses we serve!

 

drain-doctor-glasgow-north-logo

 

In the first few weeks of serving our customers with our new gutter cleaning service, we’ve been asked a very common question, “What is causing my gutters to become blocked?”

Now obviously there are a number of things that can cause gutters to clog and block, but the two most common reasons are explained below:

  • Excess debris gathers and absorbs water that when freezes, adds extra weight to the guttering and can cause it to break off the wall brackets resulting in an expensive emergency repair.
  • Debris jamming the stackpipe inlet causes melting snow/excess rain to pour over the sides and down the wall resulting in external damage and potential damp issues inside.

Winter is all about taking precautions, and prevention is of course always better than repair! You anti-freeze your car washer,  have the salt ready for the driveway and have the boiler checked ready for winter – so why would your guttering and drainpipes be any different?

What really makes us stand out in this field, is that we can offer this service on the same day we are there to unblock your drains, which may have blocked due to excess debris from the gutters flowing down the stack at this time of year.

To add further value to our visit, not only can we clean your gutters using this powerful vac, but we can also power jet and CCTV the line and stackpipes showing you this and guaranteeing all is clear – and that is what makes us the number 1 company in drain clearing throughout Glasgow and the north.

So if it’s been a while since you’ve had your guttering cleared, or even if you’ve never had it done, now is the perfect time before the snow comes to have them seen to, remove excess weight and make sure that when the snow melts it will drain seamlessly into the drainage system and be a weight off your mind.

Our December offer is a £100 reduction off our price giving you a total of £250 +VAT for your guttering/stackpipes and rainwater drains to be vacuum/jetted and inspected via CCTV to know you’re ready for the wet winter ahead.

So contact us today, and prepare for winter the Drain Doctor way!

Five things you didn’t know about Stirling

Although Stirling’s story dates back to 81AD, it was not until 2002 as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee, that Stirling became a Scottish City.  Steeped in European history, this quaint town located between the lowlands and highlands of Scotland is known as the “Gateway to the Highlands.”  Although the town, located twenty-seven miles from Glasgow may be the newest city, its history actually dates back hundreds of years.  Most famous is the city’s six hundred year old Stirling Castle, which stands high on an outcrop of volcanic rock at the head of Stirling’s Old Town.

Stirling-Castle
Stirling Castle

 

Stirling is reputed to be one of the fastest growing cities in Scotland.  It is touted as one of the best small cities to live in and visit. Although the 2012 census places the population around 45,750 the castle, along with other historical attractions draws around two million tourists a year, primarily during the summer months.  Other attractions include ancient buildings, old town walls, mansions, churches and the Old Town Jail with it grim dungeons, cells and dank corridors.  In addition to tourism, agriculture played a major role throughout history as it is surrounded by some of the flattest land in Scotland.  The Town itself was a merchant trade centre for many years and even though agriculture played a large part during its historical past, it does not play a significant role today.

Old-Stirling-Bridge-from-Castle

Old Stirling Bridge from the Castle

 

Of historical significance is the fact that because of its position nearest the crossing of the Forth to the river mouth, many of its visitors in ancient history were invaders.  According to legend, when Stirling was under attack from Viking invaders, a wolf howled alerting the townspeople and thereby saved the town.  Ironically, it is also claimed that the last wolf in Scotland was killed in that same city.

Today, Stirling is a centre for local government, higher education, retail, industry and tourism.  The wider Stirling council area has a population of 89,850 with the majority located in the south-east corner of Stirling.

To celebrate our connection with Stirling, we’ve put together 5 fantastic facts about the city that you probably didn’t know but are sure to find interesting!

 

  1. Stirling was originally a port because of its river location and supported overseas trade with India and timber trade with the Baltic until 1848 when the introduction of railways started the decline of the river trade.  The port ceased to operate in the 20th century.
  2. Stirling was granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002 making Stirling Scotland’s youngest city.
  3. The University of Stirling, founded by Royal Charter in 1967, was the only completely new institution of its kind established in Scotland since 1582.
  4. The City’s most senior football team Stirling Albion became the first completely community owned club in British history after the Stirling Albion supporter’s trust took over the running of the club in 2010.
  5. The world’s oldest football dates back to around 1540 and was found behind the oak paneling in Mary Queen of Scots bedroom in Stirling castle

 

The Drain Doctor are immensely proud to serve the people of Stirling and its surrounding areas. From the drains of Stirling Castle, to the city’s residential premises, we are at hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help with any of your drain unblocking and maintenance needs.

 

Other useful resources

http://www.visitstirling.org/

http://www.stirling.co.uk/history/

http://www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk/palacekeyfacts

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirlinghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling

 

Image Rights:

www.geograph.org.uk

 

Industrial Blocked Drains – Using High Pressure Jetting

Now that our shining new, purpose built mini combination tanker unit has hit the streets of Glasgow, servicing our private and commercial clients with services such as aco drain, gully and chamber clearance and draining, we thought it was about time we supplied you with a few facts about high pressure drain cleaning and why it is so important to prevent future blocked drains in key commercial, industrial and private drainage areas.

High pressure jetting dates back to the mid 1800’s and was first used in the mining industry to move sediment of extract rock. A process that evolved during the Californian Gold Rush of the 1850’s but with substantial environmental side effects, the process of high pressure jetting is still used today to cut through certain metals (at high pressure) or remove their surface layer (at a continuous lower pressure).

Thankfully for us at Drain Doctor Glasgow, high pressure jetting also has great uses when it comes to drain clearance and we now have that capability with our new mini combination tanker. With jetting capabilities of 4000psi (pounds per square inch, the UK measurement of pressure and indicating that pressure is relative to atmospheric pressure) @ 14 gallons, we can eradicate the very toughest of drain blockages and flush larger, more industrial type pipes.

For those of you who aren’t quite sure just how powerful 4000psi is, here are a few comparisons:

  • A working garden hose usually operates between 40 and 70 psi
  • Pressure washers made for cars go to around 1800 psi
  • Saltwater crocodiles  have the world’s strongest bite measured at 3,700 psi (We still win!)

Thankfully, when cleaning and unblocking drains we rarely need to exceed 3000 psi, with most of our operations carried out between 1000 psi and this point, but the pressure’s there if we need it. This offering not only enables us to remove the most stubborn of blockages but due to the pressure we can exert the process is often less intrusive and therefore cost beneficial to our clients. The fact that this method uses fresh water only without any need for chemical addition, obviously means it’s environmentally friendly too.

As well as been able to provide our customers with our pressure jetting facility through our new mini combination tanker, the tanker also comes with excellent suction power creating a machine perfect for clearing gullies, chambers and aco drains. We can hold up to 1500 litres of water which also means that we have the capability to clear flood or waste water as well as eradicating the cause of the problem.

We are now available to offer commercial and private maintenance contracts. We specialise in servicing retail parks, industrial units, schools and other public areas reliant on efficient drain maintenance and hygienic waste water extraction.

Should you require further information about any of our industrial services, please contact us today for a free no obligation consultation.

Pre Summer Checks to Help Prevent A Blocked Drain

As the first signs of summer eventually start to roll in and with the World Cup fast approaching, we’re all starting to dream of lazy summer afternoons and evenings camped round the BBQ devouring meat and sipping on our favourite ice cold beverages.

The grass is cut, the patio’s swept clear of the remnants of another autumn and winter and we’re all set to dawn our chef hat and apron and get impressing all those who visit with a display of grilled culinary delights. The last thing we need is a smelly, blocked drain ruining the ambience with a constant lingering odour that would have the paint peeling off the walls!

To help all our customers avoid such a situation and to leave them enjoying the summer sunshine with the smell of fresh grass and the aroma of a stacked BBQ filling the air unhindered, here at Drain Doctor Glasgow we’ve put together a quick 5 point list that you can use as a checklist to ensure your drains aren’t on their way to disrupting the tranquillity and wreaking havoc on your long awaited summer party.

1. Monitor the waste that you put into your drains – as with just about everything in life, prevention is better than cure. Be careful with what you put down your drains; in the kitchen ensure that food and oil wastage is disposed of in a bin and plates are well scrapped before rinsing or placing in the dishwasher, in the bathroom avoid allowing hair and personal sanitary items from flowing down the drain with the water and outside the house keep you drainage areas free from leaves, compost and other debris. If you have any guards missing from your drain ways or gullies be sure to get them replaced.

clear_clean_sink

Keep Sinks Clear to Avoid blockages

2. Don’t overload with washing powder – overloading your washing machines and dishwashers with detergents will greatly increase your chances of getting a blocked drain. As the excess powder solidifies, flow area decreases and blockages occur. As an extra precaution, we recommend using capsules which help eliminate this threat.

3. Keep an eye on your children’s and animal’s toys – As well as the everyday obvious objects that can lead to a drain blockage, you’d be surprised at the amount of larger foreign objects that we see leading to blocked drains in Glasgow. What may seem like an ordinary drain to us adults can often be an area of inquisition or disposal for children. You’ve noticed your water started taking slightly longer to drain the day your child’s toy appeared to disappear? This could be the early sign of a blocked drain caused by this very object. After all kids will be kids!

4. Use a drain cleaner intermittently – Sometimes a bit of a clog in your drain is hard to prevent, but this can be dealt with before it causes a completely blocked drain. There are plenty of off the shelf drain un-blockers that you can find in your local shop but be careful when using these as they often contain highly dangerous chemicals. Alternatively there are also a number of regular domestic items that could be used – baking soda is one effective method. Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the effected drain followed by 3 cups of boiling water and repeat until the blockage has cleared. Regardless of what method you use always rinse thoroughly.

5. Check manhole and drain covers to ensure water is flowing freely – if you suspect you have a blocked drain, have a look at your water flow by checking beneath a drain or manhole cover. The flow of the water here is a great indication of how well your drains are clearing. If you have a blocked drain, flow here will be greatly reduced.

block_drain_water

Poorly Maintained Drains can Cause Havoc

The methods above will help to ensure your drains remain clear and blockage free. Regardless of precautionary methods taken however a blocked drain can obviously still occur. If you have an issue with your drain that you would like investigated by an expert, please contact us today. We are available 24/7 and don’t charge any call out fee.

Drain Doctor Glasgow takes delivery of new Vacuum Mini Waste Tanker!

Drain Doctor Glasgow are delighted to announce the arrival of their new vacuum mini waste tanker. This state of the art, purpose built unit has jetting capabilities of 4000psi @ 14 gallons (some say that’s even powerful enough to give our friends on the East Coast a taste of the good Glasgow and the West summertime!)

Our new unit which is freshly off the production line and raring to go, will be available 24/7 to allow us to give our customers the most efficient service when they need it most.

Specialising in everything from empting and clearing chocked road surface gullies, sewers and cess pits to enabling us to provide emergency support and prevention to flood effected areas and emptying septic tanks, the unit will allow us to keep doing what we do best, getting our hands dirty for the good of our loyal customers in Glasgow and the North (and of course our customers in the Edinburgh area too!)

vacuum-mini-waste-tanker

As the picture above shows, we’re likely to stand out a bit from the everyday cars, buses and vans travelling around our roads. If you see us out and about in our new piece of kit, be sure to give us a wave! There might even be recent c-list TV Star “Andrew from Take Me Out” driving it!!

We will be available on a contractual and one-off basis and are delighted to be now able to increase our industrial presence by offering this service. Contact us today for more information.

How to prevent blocked gutters

At this time of year, as the end of autumn approaches you’ll find that more and more fallen leaves begin to gather on your guttering and on the ground below. This creates obvious problems such as blocked guttering and slippery conditions. But what many of us don’t think about is the leaves that flow into the vertical gutter pipe, thus blocking it at its gully base and even your main drainage line. But not to worry! This week we’ve compiled a few simple tips on how to prevent blocked gutters.

Step One

The first key step is to buy any form of gutter leaf guard that you can place and fix into your guttering. The guard helps to prevent leaves from clogging the gutter which will stop the gutter from becoming blocked in the long run.

Leaf Guard

leaf-guard

Step Two

Now, step two will involve you getting your hands dirty and pulling out the leaves that are in and around the outside drain. This will help to prevent such leaves from blocking the bottom of this drainage gully and flowing into your main waste line.

Gully

Gully

Step Three

Now the above two steps are little home efforts that will definitely help prevent leafs from causing blockages in your drainage system. However, sometimes (and especially if the leaf downpour is substantial) then you may need a little help from the professionals. This is where Drain Doctor Glasgow can help!

We will use our specialist vac to suck up the leaves from your gutter then use our high pressure hose to clear your vertical stack pipe and hose down any gutter guards. We’ll then clear out your gully, ensuring that it’s flowing properly and is clear of leaves along with any other ground vegetation.

On completion we’ll then carry out a CCTV inspection of your pipework to guarantee that it is blockage free and flowing as it should from start to finish.

DDG

Summary and Concluding Tips

So, to recap:

  • 1. Use gutter guards
  • 2. Clear leafs from ground drainage gully
  • 3. Call DRAIN DOCTOR GLASGOW to arrange a specialist gutter and drainage clearance

How to prevent frozen pipes – Part 2

Previously we explained the best steps to take in order to prepare your pipes for winter. In this second part we give you further tips on how to prevent frozen pipes and what to do when faced with them.

Step One

The first and best step to take to prevent freezing pipes is keeping your heating on as well as running the cold taps regularly and draining your outside tap where possible. You do this by switching the inside tap off and running the outside tap until drained, though it should be noted that this applies to new builds only and where the tap has been put in properly by a skilled plumber.
This is particularly important for anyone involved in vacant properties, whether second homes, sales or lettings. Keep the heating on or make sure the system and all of its components have been fully drained by a plumbing professional – or it will freeze.

Step Two

Another form of prevention is to have a technician arrive at your property to insulate all your open pipework that would be vulnerable to freezing. These include all pipework that is located under your floors, in the basement, behind the bath, toilets, sinks and especially on the incoming water mains pipework. This will certainly help reduced the risk of your pipework from being exposed to the falling temperatures.

Pipe Insulation

pipe

FAQ

What should I do if my pipes become frozen?

  • The first step is to switch the stop-cock off straight away.
  • Then, if at all possible, just let nature take its course – wait for things to warm up: switch off and wait.
  • At this stage it’s best to get Drain Doctor in to trace all the pipework for splits. Otherwise, when the weather warms and pipes thaw, you might get a leak.

Should I try to thaw any frozen pipes? Are there any dangers?

There are dangers with DIY thawing and we would advise against it. We have seen examples of people setting fire to materials with blow torches when they have been trying to thaw pipes. This does not end well! Also, bear in mind that when you thaw the pipe, you unblock whatever pressure there is in the pipe. Remember to be particularly careful with copper pipes, as they can easily burst due to the expansion of the water inside the pipe.

Summary

To recap, when faced with frozen pipes:

  • 1. PREVENTION is key – Get Drain Doctor Glasgow to insulate vulnerable pipework areas.
  • 2. Isolate the water supply to the property.
  • 3. Try to refrain from DIY thawing.

How to prevent frozen pipes – Part 1

With more and more people layering up there is no doubt that the winter‘s coming. However, human beings are not the only ones affected by the cold weather, our houses also struggle to keep up with the dropping temperature. For us winter is just another layer of cloths but our pipes could suffer serious damage if we are not prepared to provide them with the maintenance needed. So with this in mind, here are some tips on how to prevent frozen pipes to make sure your home makes it through the winter with you!

How to prepare your pipes for the winter

Protecting pipes is not as hard as it sounds at first. If you are not prepared to do it yourself feel free to ask Drain Doctor Glasgow for help. Most of the tools and accessories needed here are also available in your local plumbing store.

So, if you have taps outside of the building the first thing to do is insulate them. Wrap them around with the suitable material. This method prevents them from freezing. It’s important to note that underground pipes are buried to a minimum depth of just under a metre so this provides the protection it needs from frost.

Look after your boiler

Looking after your boiler when the winter comes is one of the most important parts of your winter preparation. Most of the modern boilers are well designed and thus require less care than the older ones, but they still need to be maintained to work properly and serve you in the long run at the lowest possible maintenance cost. If you have a new condensing boiler it could freeze up and fail in really cold conditions. To avoid this, make sure the condense pipe that feeds the boiler is well insulated.

You can also set the boiler to low a temperature and keep it running continuously. This method will keep warm water circulating through the system that will prevent your pipes from freezing. Most people think this a more costly method, however keeping a constant heat within your house actually uses less energy than heating up your home from the cold all the time.

React fast to save money

This period of the year comes with falling leaves and various blockages in your pipes and drains – this can cause problems. It’s important that you respond these problems as fast as you can, as the more you wait the bigger the damage could be. It’s always best to call for help when faced with drain blockages. Sometimes these problems can occur in the middle of the night or even over the weekend when you least expect it. But not to worry! Drain Doctor Glasgow is here to help 24/7 with our emergency plumbing services.

Saty tuned for Part 2 in this series where we share some tips on what to do when faced with frozen pipes.

How to stop an overflowing toilet

A blocked toilet – almost everyone’s worst nightmare. When a blockage such as this occurs it can lead to water and waste overflowing over the toilet rim and onto the floor below –something that you DO NOT want happening in your bathroom.

So, in order to avoid this misfortune, we’ve compiled a list of a few simple steps to help you whilst you wait for one of our Drain Doctor Technicians to arrive at your home and fix the problem.

Step One

The first key point to note with a blocked toilet is NOT to flush it. By flushing it you dramatically increase the chances of  water overflowing out of the bowl. Toilets are designed to hold at least one flush of the toilet cistern, and chances are you’ll have only noticed the toilet was blocked once you flushed it to find that the waste wasn’t going away – so DO NOT flush it again. Instead, give us a call and move on to the below steps.

Picture of Toilet:

Blocked toilet

 

Step Two

In order to guarantee that the blocked toilet will not be flushed (by guests and children etc.) until a Drain Doctor technician arrives, you should cut off the water supply to the toilet via the isolation valve. This valve is normally located at the back left or right of the toilet on the pipework that feeds the toilet cistern.

An isolation valve looks like this:

Shout off valve

 

Step Three

Now the above two steps are fool proof in stopping your toilet from overflowing providing the toilet in question is the first in line. If you live in a block of flats or a house in which the storey above has a toilet that feeds into the same line, then you only have one real option – to contact and get Drain Doctor Glasgow out to your property as soon as possible. This is highly necessary because if the other toilets are flushed and the blocked toilet is on the same line, then there is a high chance that your toilet will overflow and will thus be out of your control. But don’t panic! We can solve the problem in no time once we’ve arrived.

Summary and concluding tips

So to recap, after noticing your toilet is blocked the keys points of action are to:

  1. NOT flush the toilet
  2. Isolate the water supply to the toilet
  3. Call DRAIN DOCTOR GLASGOW straight away