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Diagnose your issue: is it plumbing or drainage?

24th November 2020

Diagnose your issue: is it plumbing or drainage?

If your house is suffering from a leak or a pipe blockage, it’s easy to panic. If left unresolved, an issue with your water supply could cause significant damage to the inside or outside of your home, taking a long time and a lot of money to repair. Unless you know the ins and outs of plumbing and drainage, it might be difficult to identify exactly where the problem is coming from.  

The main question to ask yourself when you know there’s a water-related problem is whether you need to call a plumber or a drainage expert. But how can you tell the difference, so that you call the right team 

The difference between plumbing and drainage 

Here’s how: plumbing relates to clean water, and drainage relates to dirty water. Additionally, see it like this - you should call a plumber if the issue is about water coming into your property, and call a drainage expert if it’s about water leaving your property. So, it’s ‘clean water in’, and ‘wastewater out’. For the first, you need a plumber, for the second, a drainage engineer.  

Water coming into a property supplies taps, tanks, toilets, washing machinesdishwashers and wet heating systems. ‘Plumbing’ relates to issues with water before it has been used, and to the water in your heating system.  

Drainage, on the other hand, takes the wastewater out of a property – it’s the water that leaves your bath, shower, sink or toilet. Its dirty water, which has been used and flows away by the force of gravity.  


Should I call a plumber or drainage company?  

Even with these simple definitions, it’s easy to get confused about who to call to fix your issue. In many cases when it comes to domestic and household water issues, a person’s natural reaction is to call a plumber. You might think they’re more easily accessible, and more willing to deal with ‘small scale’ issues. However, there are some scenarios that would benefit from the expertise of a drainage engineer, instead.  

Say, for example, you have a blocked toilet. Most good plumbers would be able to unclog a local blockage, but toilets can suffer because of issues further into the drainage system. For example, the blockage might not be in the toilet itself – it could be in the pipes the wastewater runs into. In this case, you’d need a drainage engineer rather than a plumber.  

Similarly, if you’ve got a blockage under the kitchen sink, you might expect a plumber to call round and plunge away until it clears. However, a build-up of food and scum can often come lodged in the pipes that lead away from the property. This makes it a ‘waste’ problem, which requires a drainage engineer. And while a conventional plumber would be able to dismantle the pipes inside a property, clean them and reconstruct them, any blockage in the pipework sitting behind units, in service cupboards or even underground, requires specialist equipment which can reach into inaccessible areas without having to take half a kitchen to bits.  


Plumbing issues and drainage issues 

There is some cross over in the way plumbing and drainage experts work, and a reputable company will be able to point you in the right direction if you opt for the wrong service when you first look for help.  

But generally speaking, you need a drainage expert if water is backing up anywhere in your system or is slow to drain. Water flows downhill, using gravity, and if there is a problem in your drains water will find the nearest point available to backup and overflow.  

Alternatively, you need a plumber for any of the following reasons: 

  • You have a problem with your hot or cold water  
  • Dirty water is coming out of your taps 
  • Your central heating system isn’t working or leaking 

Plumbing and Drainage services for homeowners 

The great news is, Metro Rod and our sister company Metro Plumb, offer a complete range of drainage and plumbing services to cover all ‘clean water in’ and ‘waste water out’ requirements for your home 

From drain unblocking and septic tank maintenance, to gutter clearance and repairing tapswe offer a huge variety of services which not only ensure your waste water can safely leave your premises without causing an issue in your home, but which also guarantee clean and healthy water continues to reach you.  

We can conduct localised structural repairs if your drain is outdated and needs refurbishment, and even carry out CCTV surveys to check whether there’s a problem where the drains from your property meet up with those owned by the local authority.  


Contact Metro Rod

Call our team of experts, and they’ll help diagnose your issue and get the right team on the job 

For emergency leaks and repairs, call our 24/7 helpline on 0800 66 88 00 or contact your local office. 

Talk to you local metrorod specialist

Talk to your local Metro Rod specialist

We are always happy to arrange a free site assessment and no obligation quotations for any work you might need. Alternatively, you can call our emergency hotline number on 0800 66 88 00

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