Few things are worse than a blocked drain or sewer; but once it’s happened there’s not much you can do about it except call a local emergency plumber to assist asap.
But while there’s nothing you can do once a drain becomes blocked, there are several things you can do to prevent it from happening in the first place and save yourself the stress and damage.
At O'Brien Plumbing Maroochydore we deal with hundreds of blocked drains each year. Some of them are preventable.
So read on to discover the types of things that are blocking your drain over time, plus a few tips to help prevent it from happening down the track.
What’s blocking your drain?
There are several reasons why drains become blocked. We’ve pulled all kinds of things out of drains over the years. But we mostly find that blockages are caused by the following:
Food waste is the biggest culprit for blocked drains. We know it’s easy to empty plates by washing them down the kitchen sink, but this can cause a rapid build-up of food waste in your waste pipes. The problem is particularly common with fatty or processed foods that don’t decompose easily.
Top tip: Always dispose of waste food with the general household rubbish. Alternatively, put it on the compost heap. You should also invest in a sink strainer to prevent solids from being flushed down the sink.
Have you ever dropped something down the toilet and decided it was better to flush it away rather than fish it out; only to regret the decision moments later when the toilet becomes blocked and no amount of plunging can shift it?
Top tip: Even very small items can block your toilet. It’s always better to remove out rather than flush it away.
Although it’s technically food, cooking oil deserves a special mention because it’s one of the leading causes of blocked drains. It is tempting to think because it’s a liquid, it will wash away. But most fats and cooking oils solidify when cold. This can very quickly lead to a blockage which is difficult to remove without special equipment.
Top tip: Dispose of waste cooking oil by placing it in a sealed container and putting it outside with the general rubbish. Never flush waste cooking oil down the sink.
Hair is the biggest culprit for blocking bathroom sinks and shower drains as wet hair sticks to the inside of the plastic drain pipe. Any shampoo on the hair then dries, creating a thick matted carpet of hair. This slowly builds up in the drain until eventually it becomes blocked.
Top tip: The best way of preventing hair from going down the drain is to invest in a sink and bath strainer. These sit over the top of the plughole preventing hair and other debris from going down the drain.
Toiletries such as sanitary towels expand when wet and don’t decompose. This can very quickly lead to blocked bathroom drains. This problem is amplified if the drain is already partly clogged. Using too much toilet paper can also lead to some modern water-efficient toilets becoming blocked.
Top tip: Keep a sanitary bin next to the toilet for disposing of sanitary towels and other toiletries, and try to cut back on the amount of toilet paper you use. This will not only reduce the risk of your toilet becoming blocked, but it’s also better for the environment.
Tree root invasion is a common cause of blocked drains for stormwater plumbing. Tree roots naturally search for water, and there is no better source of water than your drains. Once they find their way in they will start to grow and block the pipe.
Tree roots can also cause significant structural damage to the drain itself which can be expensive to repair. If you think that trees are causing issues for your external plumbing it is best to contact a local, trusted plumber on the Sunshine Coast who can help you find exactly where the issue is so that it can be resolved without the guesswork.
Got a blocked drain? Give us a call
Do you have a blocked drain or burst pipe? Don’t panic, give us a call today at (07) 5493 7330 and we’ll send one of our emergency plumbers around to help. As one of the Sunshine Coast’s most experienced plumbing companies, we have the skills and tools to identify and repair blocked drain issues quickly.
Alternatively, if you suspect there is a problem with your drainage system, you should get this checked out sooner rather than later. Blocked drains rarely clear themselves and leaving them can result in structural damage to your drain and property. Arrange a site visit and we’ll send one of our experts to check it out.