Blockages tend to take a while to build up and become completely apparent, but after a problem has started to take its toll it will become obvious very quickly. Therefore, it is key to keep an ear, an eye and a nose out to observe the below symptoms, and do not hesitate to take action.
Listen for sounds
Listen out for your pipes and fixtures, if they sound different to usual, it could be sign of a blockage. Gurgling noises may be early warning signs from; pipes, drains, plug holes and toilet flushes. This gurgling sound is created when air trapped in the pipes by a blockage that is pushed up through the system and is displaced.
Look out for sights
Keeping an eye on your drains is a key way to determine if your drains are blocked. As one of the most obvious signs of a blocked drain is if your shower, toilet, bath or sinks are draining slowly. If a blockage is really bad, water will not drain out, all the way. If just the shower, toilet or sink has an issue, then the blockage is likely to be in the fixture itself. However, if all three are backed up, then it is most likely that the blockage is in the sewer drain.
Toilets tend to be the main cause of blockages. If running taps causes the water in the toilet to rise or flushing the toilet causes water to rise in the shower, then you have a blocked drain on your hands. Furthermore, if any of your water-based appliances are causing water to appear elsewhere when you use them, then there is a blockage somewhere. Be mindful not to forget to check drains and manhole covers outside.
Look out for smells
foul smells are the most unpleasant symptom of all and are a dead giveaway for a blockage. If something has blocked the drain and has begun to rot, then you will certainly know about it as it will start to smell. The foul smell is usually the first symptom to occur before any visual symptoms emerge. Therefore, if you start to smell something off do not ignore it. Finally, any one of the above symptoms on their own is cause for concern, but if you notice two or three, then you may well have a plumbing emergency on your hands.