f How Autumn Leaves Cause a Problem for Drains Across the Country
How Autumn Leaves Cause a Problem for Drains Across the Country

What can be done to help solve the seasonal problem of drain blockage by leaves?

In the autumn, many trees shed their leaves, with only the branches remaining to last the winter. All of these leaves have to go somewhere, and the place where they are most likely to end up is in the gutter. This is a particular problem in urban areas, where rows of trees shed their leaves at the same time and thus cause a significant amount of leaf litter to fall into the drains.

Why drains can become blocked

Drains can cope with a certain amount of vegetable matter, but during the autumn there are so many leaves falling at the same time that drains can become overwhelmed. Autumn winds and rains can also contribute to the amount of leaves falling into a particular street, and during windy, wet weather, it does not take long before the entire gutter is full. Once those leaves start moving down the gutter towards the drain, it is not long before they start blocking it. Leaves overlay each other to prevent water flowing down the drain, and as more leaves pile up, they can quickly block the drain completely.

In addition to blocking the exterior grill of the drain, leaves can also cause problems on the inside. The leaves which pass into the drain actually cause more damage, with the leaves mingling with the other dirt and debris already clinging to the side of the drains. The more leaves there are, the bigger the blockage will be, and the harder it will be to shift. In addition to blocking the drain internally, rotting leaves can also give off a terrible smell. When the drains have got to this stage, it is often too late to try and solve the problem using drain cleaners, and it will be time to call in the professionals.

How to prevent drains being blocked by leaves

Rather than calling out the drain experts to solve a problem, it makes sense instead to try a homemade solution before the drain gets too badly clogged. There are a few ways in which this can be done. The standard way of cleaning the drain is to put on a pair of gardening gloves, and remove the leaves by hand. Another method is to sweep up the leaves, taking care to remove them from the gutter. The best way to do this is to just sweep them into a bag, and then put them into the recycling bins. Sweeping leaves a little further up the gutter will only delay the drain block, and should be avoided.

One of the best ways of preventing drains from becoming blocked is to use a drain guard. These are often made of plastic, and sit over the gutter in order to stop leaves from getting into the drainage system. These drain guards will often just clip over the top of standard pipe gutters, but occasionally it may be necessary to have the guards custom-fitted. Even with the guards, this is not 100% in stopping leaves from falling onto the grill, and so regular sweeping of the drains is also necessary.