Attack of the autumn leaves – avoiding blocked drains

Autumn is upon us, the nights are drawing in and we’re begrudgingly packing away our shorts and flip-flops for another year in place of cosy jumpers, winter coats and knitted scarves. Whilst autumn has its upsides, those crispy golden leaves can become quite a nuisance. Yes, we’re talking about blocked drains…

A build-up of fallen leaves can clog up your drains, affecting their ability to carry water away from your property. Whilst a small obstruction could cause slow drainage and frustration, a larger blockage could result in the back-up of water and flooding. Long-term, blocked drains can cause serious damage to your property and even the health of the people/animals residing in it.

Not only can a blocked drain emit bad odours throughout your property but it can also cause unseen leaks. This can bring about unwanted excess moisture in the home, often resulting in areas of damp and mould. You may find certain materials such as wooden floors and wallpaper warped or ruined and the stagnant water may attract unwanted visitors such as flies, mosquitos and other pests.

What can you do to prevent this?

The best way to initially reduce the build-up of leaf mulch within your drains is to plan in advance and cut away any branches imposing on your home in the summer months or in the very early stages of the season.  This will reduce the number of leaves falling into or near your drains, leaving you less to manage going forward.

Drain guards defend your drains without affecting water flow. They’re inexpensive, come in all shapes and sizes and are probably the most efficient way to keep your drains free of blowing leaves.

Whilst drain guards should protect from the majority of fallen leaves, all is not lost if you don’t decide to buy one. When the leaves start to fall, there are a few techniques you can implement in order to keep them at bay before the winter sets in. The obvious way is to get stuck in, grab some bin-liners and gloves, put some old clothes on and clear as much as you can. Focus on the areas near your drains but don’t forget the surrounding areas.

Another method is to buy or hire a specialised vacuum which sucks up all your leaves and debris. This is also helpful for pulling any leaves which have already fallen down into the drains. Alternatively, a leaf blower disperses the leaves in heavily-built-up areas but doesn’t get rid of them. This is useful if you don’t want to be left with a lot to clean up once you’re done.

Most issues relating to blocked drains are preventable with some simple maintenance. If left, what may seem a small problem can escalate into a much bigger issue. If your insurer deems the damage to be due to a result of negligence, improper use or lack of maintenance, they may not pay out for a claim.

If you have any concerns/queries about your existing home insurance, the Chartered brokers at Hine can help. Call us today on 0161 438 0000 or email

Andy Guy
Andy Guy

Hi there! I'm Andy, I'm the Head of Charity and Faith Insurance at Hine Insurance with over 30 years experience.

In my spare time, I'm a trustee of a church and I enjoy walking and getting to grips with the garden.

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