By Drain Doctor on 24/02/2016

This salutary tale in The Spectator about antiquated South London plumbing just goes to show that householders should heed the advice of those experienced in dealing with the vagaries of Victorian pipework.

Not only is it not advisable to mess about with tanks and pipework unless you are a professional, old plumbing should be respected. At Drain Doctor we have been saying for years – take care of your old plumbing and don’t assume it can cope with modern demands.

Don’t, for example, flush wet wipes down the toilet: We have been receiving an increasing number of calls from householders who may have happy bottoms but are unable to flush their toilets. The problem is particularly significant in cities like London with large areas of Victorian housing served by Victorian drains and sewers.

New kinds of papers and wipes are not broken down by the flushing action in the same way as conventional toilet papers – they do not shear as easily. They therefore remain as whole sheets which can cause blockages if the flush does not clear them out of the drain and into the sewer.

There is a particular problem in older houses in South London for example because the Victorians over-engineered everything. They put in 6-inch diameter drains where 4-inch diameter would have been quite large enough.

This was OK when used with Victorian toilets because they were over-engineered as well – they released huge quantities of water when they were flushed. Modern cisterns use much less water. This is not usually a problem because it is still enough to shear normal toilet paper and flush all the detritus through to the sewer. With some of these new wipes and papers, though, material is left in the pipes and gradually builds up to create a blockage.

As householders you can save money and inconvenience by paying more attention to what you throw down the toilet. But if you need a plumber call us on 0800 70 71 72.