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How To Fix a Leak in a Drain Pipe

4th October 2021

How To Fix a Leak in a Drain Pipe

Drainage systems are essential to any property and, as a result, need to be preserved and checked regularly to ensure issues, such as drain leaks, don’t arise unexpectedly. A leak in your drain pipe can be a real cause for concern if neglected for a considerable period as it has the potential to lead to costly problems, such as property damage.

Signs Your Drain Pipe is Leaking

The sooner you identify a leak in your drains, the less damage it will cause. Even if you don't suspect a drainage pipe leak, there are a few common signs to look out for that show you need to have your drains checked.

Mould and Damp

A tell-tale sign of drain leaks is damp and mould growth. Although both substances can be produced by condensation and rainwater penetration, a drain pipe leak will cause water to seep into your property. This will develop a moist environment allowing damp and mould to grow.


Subsidence typically arises during prolonged dry spells when the ground is deprived of moisture and shrinks. However, it can also be caused by a leak in a drain pipe.

When water from a leaking drain pipe soaks into the soil underneath the property, it can cause it to soften and wash away, leading to the property’s foundations moving.

Common signs of subsidence include:

  • Cracks appearing in walls, drives and pathways
  • Sinking or sloping floors
  • Doors and windows becoming jammed or misaligned
  • If you have an extension, cracks forming where the extension meets the main part of your property.

Surface Water Pooling

Water pooling on the ground around your property or bubbling up through paving on the driveway or grass in the garden are also signs of a burst pipe.

Foul Odours

Another common sign that there may be a leak in your drain pipe is foul odours coming up through the drain itself.

Signs of a Leak in a Drain Pipe a Drainage Engineer May Discover

A drainage engineer may identify alternative signs of a drain pipe leak, including water flowing through surface water drains when there isn't any rainfall or if private foul drains are flowing clean water when the property is vacant.

Drainage Leak Detection Methods

If you suspect there’s a leak in your drains, then it’s essential to contact a drainage specialist as soon as possible. A CCTV drain survey can be used to examine the current condition of your drainage system and detect where the leak is.

However, not all drain leaks will show clear signs. If this is the case, specialist leak detection equipment can be used to identify the issue, including:

  • Listening sticks
  • Thermal imaging
  • Noise loggers
  • Leak correlation equipment
  • Acoustic microphones which give a digital or analogue display as well as an audible signal.

Who is Responsible for Fixing a Leak in a Drain Pipe?

Drainage responsibility is often confusing for many people because numerous drains, pipes, and sewers are intertwined in and around a property.

If the leak has occurred in a private drain, the drains connected within your premises and its property boundary, it's your responsibility to fix the issue. If the drains are shared with several other properties before they join a public sewer, it's the water authorities responsibility. To learn more about drain responsibility, read our guide.

How to Fix a Leak in a Drain Pipe

The first step in fixing a leak in a drain pipe is to identify where the issue lies. Typically, a CCTV drain survey will be used for this.

Once the source of the problem is detected, the next step is to repair the damaged drain. There are several drain repair techniques that can be recommended, depending on the severity of the damage.

Drain Patch Repair

If the pipe is cracked, one of the most common and least disruptive repair methods for drainage systems is drain patch repair. With this technique, a drain patch is inserted inside the drain to support the pipe's lining, filing any fractures or cracks.

No-Dig, Trenchless Drain Repair and Pipe Lining

No-dig, trenchless drain repair and pipelining techniques utilise a camera to guide pipelining into the drain pipe and provide a fix from the inside out, without the need to dig up the land around it. The liner is then inflated to give a tight, protective layer inside the drain pipe and cured to fix it in place.

Drain Excavation

In the rare case that a leak has caused a collapsed drain, then a drain excavation may be the only fix. Drain excavation is a drain repair technique that entails an engineer digging a trench around the collapsed pipe and replacing it.

Worried about a Leak in a Drain Pipe? Contact a Drain Pipe Repair Specialist

To prevent serious problems arising from an unresolved pipe leak, you must regularly check and maintain your drains for underlying issues. However, if a leak in your drain pipe is causing problems, call Metro Rod. With over 50 depots around the country, we can provide expert drain pipe repair services from specially trained engineers who are local to you.

Click to find your local depot or call us on 0800 66 88 00 at the first sign of a damaged drain.

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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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