How old are my drains?
Up until the 19th century Britain did not have the clean, efficient sewage systems that our homes have nowadays. While we may have changed with the times and updated these systems, we often take them for granted and forget that they need care in order to provide us with the basic necessities.
Most public sewers are maintained regularly and kept to a high standard, so you can rest assured that when you turn the tap on in the morning clean water will come out. However, you may not have thought much about the quality of the drainage systems on your property, and this is when things start to go wrong. If you are not regularly checking your drainage systems, you may have drains that are getting old and worn out and once this starts to happen, you will begin to experience problems. With an upgrade there are intelligent waste to energy designs available.
Old drainage systems are far more vulnerable to wear and tear due to the many years of use. The weight of the earth around the drains, as well as the high pressure of the wastewater passing through them, become harder to bear for drains that have not been updated in a long time. Eventually they begin to show signs of decay and can even crack or burst. The best way to avoid this is to find out the quality of your drainage systems by finding out when they were last updated. There are plenty of simple steps you can take to find this out.
If you want to avoid hiring a contractor, your first point of call would be your local council. They will have the original drainage plans from when your property was first built. With particularly old houses you may be able to find these plans in the archives. However, these plans do not always accurately depict the current state of your drains. The systems may have been altered since they were laid by previous owners, so while this is gives you a rough indication of the layout of your drains it does not guarantee that this is what they are currently like.
It is possible to investigate the quality of your drains yourself, but this will not give you the best quality result. Once you have obtained the plans for the original drainage system, check your property for how many manholes there are and where the drains run. If new manholes have been installed, it is likely that the drainage system has been altered since it was initially laid. Persistent problems with your drains is also an indicator that there is at least a section of the drains that is getting worn down and needs repair, maintenance, or even complete re-installation. In this scenario, you will need to call a professional drain technician to take care of your drains for you, using the proper tools and equipment.
A far more efficient and guaranteed method of establishing the quality of your drains is to get a CCTV drain survey completed. CCTV drain surveys are a great way of finding out the age and quality of your drains in far more detail.
A professional drain engineer will be able to use the latest technology and software to identify any decay or defects in your drains that would establish the age of them. Once the survey is completed the drain engineer will be more than happy to provide you with a fully comprehensible and useful report of the findings, as well as what further action you need to take.
In some cases, when drainage systems are found to be very old and almost completely worn away, the best preventative method to take is to replace the entire system. It may seem daunting, and it may seem like an expensive task, but in the long run it is far more cost-effective to replace the system than it would be to regularly call out a drain engineer every time something goes wrong with the drains.