Hamish The Plumber

Hamish Erskine, Hamish the Plumber, Plumbers in Salisbury, Unblocking Drains

Drain Unblocking Services

I am well equipped to clear most blockages, both in your internal waste pipework and sanitary appliances, and in your outside drains.

Cost
I charge £60 per hour plus parts for Mon-Fri, 8am to 6pm, within 10 miles of Salisbury. Minimum 1 hour charge, then to the nearest 0.1 hour. I am not VAT registered, so there is no additional VAT to pay on my labour.

Blocked sinks, basins, baths and showers
Usually these can be cleared with a good plunger. I may also need to open up the trap (u-bend) and waste pipework to clear them with a flexible snake and to flush them through with mains water.

Blocked Toilets
If the blockage is in the soil pipe just behind the toilet, a plunger may be sufficient to clear it. However, it is advisable to also lift the manhole cover outside and to check whether the drains need rodding and jetting.

Rodding and Jetting of Drains
When required, jetting usually takes 1 to 2 hours, but times are quite variable. Some blocked drains are easy to clear. Others need perseverance. Occasionally it is necessary to remove the toilet and jet the soil pipe from the toilet end, as well as from the outside drain. In this case it is an advantage that I am a plumber and not just a drains specialist.

Drain Camera Inspection
Often jetting drains clears the problem and reveals its cause at the same time. If not, I can do a drain camera inspection if you would like one, especially if the problem has occurred before and you are concerned it will happen again. This is usually best done after the drains have been jetted, as it is hard to see much through the camera if the drain is still blocked and full of muck. If a camera inspection reveals a problem with tree roots, or a partial collapse of the drain, I will ask you at that point to contact a drain specialist. Although I am better equipped than the average plumber to tackle most blockages, I do not excavate collapsed drains or have the equipment needed to line a drain as may be necessary to prevent ongoing problems with tree roots. Drainexperts.co.uk is one firm I have come across in the Salisbury area that might be worth a try.

Blocked Saniflos
If your toilet has a macerator that has stopped working properly, it most likely needs opening up and cleaning inside, and the discharge pipe may need flushing through to clear a blockage. Expect this to take about 1.5 to 2 hours, as long as there is reasonable access around the Saniflo. Boxed-in Saniflos are likely to take longer. If your Saniflo has burnt out and needs replacing, I can help you source a new one at the best price. Replacement of like-for-like is usually about a 2 hour job.

Bad smells in your bathroom or kitchen
Every sanitary device (toilet, sink, basin, shower, or bath) is connected to the waste via a trap, which is the technical name for a U-bend. If the U-bend remains full of water (as intended) after the device has emptied, this water acts as a barrier to prevent bad smells coming back up from the drain. If you are getting bad drain smells in your bathroom or kitchen, it suggests that water is being forced or sucked out of the U-bend by either positive or negative pressure, as follows:
1) If there is a blockage further down the drain then flushing the toilet may cause a positive pressure that causes water or bad smells to back up, usually in a bath or shower tray which are low-lying. In that case it is worth lifting the drain cover outside to inspect the drains and jet them if there is any sign of a blockage.

2) Alternatively, if the waste pipe between a sanitary device and the soil pipe has too long or too steep a run, you may find that after it empties you hear a glugging sound. This is because water running down a long or steep length of waste pipe causes a negative pressure (vacuum) behind it, which can suck the water out of the U-bend, leaving bad smells free to pass up the way from its plug hole. In the case of a glugging sink or basin, this can usually be fixed easily by replacing the trap for one that has an anti-syphon valve. An anti-syphon valve is designed to open and allow air to enter when there is a vacuum, but otherwise to remain closed so that bad smells cannot escape. Although anti-syphon traps are also available for baths and showers, they are often difficult to fit as an after-thought because of the lack of available space underneath the bath or shower tray.

3) Finally, if flushing a toilet causes a glugging sound in a bath or shower, and this is not rectified by jetting the drains to remove a blockage, it is possible that the soil pipe is not venting correctly. The main soil pipe in a house usually vents externally, either running up the back of a house to about a metre above the highest window, or by venting through the roof. It could be there is a blockage such as a bird's next in the top of the vent pipe (although the top of a soil pipe should have a fitting that is designed to prevent this). Alternatively, you may have an auxiliary soil pipe that vents internally and is capped with an Air Admittance Valve (AAV) which is a large equivalent of an anti-syphon valve. These rarely fail, but it is not an impossibility.

Investigating a problem with a bad smell is usually a process of elimination of possible causes, as above. Even then, it is not always easy to identify the cause. Although a bathroom should have an extractor fan, in practice it is always preferable to have a window that can be opened slightly to allow proper ventilation and the exit of bad smells from a toilet. Where there isn't a window, it might be advisable to use an automatic Febreeze dispenser that squirts a small amount of air freshener whenever it detects movement.
Quotes
I don't normally offer a quoting service. I am happy to discuss the cost of possible replacement parts, but my labour is chargeable according to my published hourly rate. I like to prioritise small plumbing repairs, but in order to do so I have to prevent my schedule from getting filled up with larger jobs. Charging by the hour and not providing a quoting service is a natural way of achieving that. However, I do try to provide detailed guidance on how long various kinds of jobs usually take. Please see the buttons above, and feel free to call me if you need any further guidance or reassurance.

Salisbury's Best-Reviewed Local Plumber

Ian Cromarty, May 2020
I can thoroughly recommend Hamish the plumber. He was at my address less than two hours after I rang him. It wasn't an emergency call. Our downstairs toilet proved particularly stubborn to unblock but he didn't give up. A very professional service, thank you.
Alise & Frank Ojay, May 2018
What a great plumber! Hamish was able to attend to our blocked drain within 10 minutes of our phone call and thoroughly unblocked it with no mess within 20 minutes - Hamish inspires confidence.
Mel H, February 2018
Hamish kindly travelled far beyond his usual working radius to identify and fix a blockage in our new bathrooms. He plunged the shower, bath, loo and sink, clearing the drains effectively. He waded right on in, quite comfortable with the mess, and tidied up after himself perfectly. He also showed me how I could resolve the problem myself in future, saving me the need to call him (or anyone else) out again. He was courteous, polite and helpful, explaining everything to me in a non-condescending way! How refreshing!
Tim Lowther, December 2015
Like most, I highly recommend Hamish. He came to replace a kitchen tap, called ahead to let me know he would be (unavoidably) slightly delayed. He was very professional and pleasant, and left no mess. And he even unblocked the bathroom sink whilst he was here!

Additional Services

Hamish the Plumber
16 Ashlands, Salisbury, SP4 6DY
Hamish the Plumber
16 Ashlands, Salisbury, SP4 6DY

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© 2020 Hamish Erskine, h@htp

Web design by Hamish? Och aye! That too.
© 2020 Hamish Erskine, h@htp