Is there a gurgling sound coming from your bath? Or your kitchen sink draining way too slowly? Or your toilet overfilling with water? Then chances are you’ve got a blocked drain. But drain blockages are not only inconvenient, they can cause sewerage issues, a build-up of debris in your pipes, and if left unattended, costly repairs later on down the track. And nobody wants that! Here are five reasons you might have a blocked drain.
#1 – Foreign Objects In Toilets or Kitchen Sinks
One of the main causes of drain blockages is due to foreign objects. From jewellery, soap, children’s toys, and even food, you’d be surprised what sometimes ends up in drains!
A build-up of hair is another common cause of a blocked drain, whether it’s hair caught in the drain in the shower, or hair that’s dropped into the sink in the bathroom. Small amounts of hair can normally be removed with gloved hands, however, there are also devices that can help remove it. It’s important that visible hair is removed as quickly as possible, otherwise, it can make its way into the drainage system, cause significant build-up and lead to issues in the future.
Greasy and fatty substances that are allowed to enter drains can also become problematic, particularly in the kitchen when washed down the sink. Fat and grease can stick to the insides of pipes and eventually this can harden and create build-up to the point where liquid can no longer pass through. Avoid washing it down the sink – instead, discard it in a small container and throw it out with the rest of your rubbish.
Another recurring issue that can cause a blocked sewer, in particular, is the flushing of toiletries down the toilet. Nappies and personal hygiene products can swell when immersed in water. Things like baby wipes also don’t disintegrate easily and can get stuck in drainage pipes resulting in blockages. And there is nothing worse than having your property flooded with wastewater! All of these items should be disposed of thoughtfully with the rest of your rubbish, and you should also make use of the designated bins when using public toilets and change rooms.
#2 – Foliage and Tree Roots Causing Damage
Another common cause of drain and sewer blockages can be due to weather changes that cause trees to drop leaves.
Deciduous Australian trees like Silky Oak and Australian Red Cedar will often lose their leaves in the lead up to winter, so it’s important to keep green waste in check, particularly during the cooler months. Keeping your outdoor area regularly maintained will enhance the productivity of pipes and water drains and help alleviate any future problems with drain blockages.
Tree roots can be another significant cause of blocked drains. Large trees often have large root systems as well that can cause considerable damage to underground drainage networks. Keeping trees well watered can help but if your trees have invasive roots, further action is needed. Many professional plumbers (including us!) recommend a treatment called Vaporoot that effectively stops tree roots from expanding and causing sewer blockages.
The process involves pumping a herbicidal form into the sewer pipes and then cleaning it out with a high-pressure water-jetting machine. This cleans the inside of the pipes and targets any existing tree root growth. Foam is then applied again which can assist with preventing future growth. This type of treatment only targets roots that are damaging sewer pipes, not the growth of the tree above the ground either, so your beautiful shade provider will remain healthily intact!
#3 – Broken Pipes Caused By Wear and Tear
Invasive tree roots are not the only cause of drain blockages. Broken pipes caused by general wear and tear can stop water flowing freely, which can lead to water build-up and drains collapsing completely. Fractured pipes are also more susceptible to blockages than pipes that are well intact.
Unless you can visibly see the broken pipe, sometimes it can be difficult to diagnose the issue. That’s why it’s important to call in a professional plumber as soon as you noticed a problem with a blocked drain. If left for too long, it can cause major structural damage, be very disruptive, and worst of all, be very expensive to fix!
#4 – Storms and Heavy Rain Leading to Flash Flooding
We all know that Australian weather can be unpredictable and thunderstorms can often lead to heavy rains and flash flooding in low lying areas, or those bordered by creeks or river systems. This can then cause a torrent of water to rush through gutters, downpipes and drainage systems, and because drains aren’t often designed to take the full impact of this type of weather, water build-up is common.
If gutters haven’t been maintained in a while, all of the soil and leaf matter that’s built up will be flushed through the pipes at the same time. This results in drain blockages, and at worst, flooding and property damage.
#5 – Poor Installation or a Badly Done DIY Job!
Good drainage is essentially all about gravity, and poor or incorrect plumbing can lead to incorrectly flowing water and a build-up of debris that eventually results in a blocked drain. Badly installed pipes can also become fractured, misaligned or they can even collapse, leading to damage to your property and possibly your neighbours’ property as well.
While DIY installation and maintenance can save on costs, it’s certainly not recommended. Licensed professional plumbers know how to install a plumbing and drainage system correctly, and what to do if there is a problem. They are the experts
Suspect you have a blocked drain or sewer? Contact Yarrow Plumbing today on (07) 3277 5742.