Blocked drains can lead to all kinds of plumbing issues and not only can they be a pain to unblock for residents and plumbers alike, but they can also be potentially harmful to your family’s health.
In this article, we’ll break down how much it costs to clear a blocked drain and take you through some easy prevention methods so you can avoid the call out and keep your water flowing freely through your pipe system.
AVOID THE BLOCKED DRAIN CALL OUT
With most things in life (and definitely plumbing) prevention is the best course of action. Ensure your drains remain clean and clear of debris by having everyone at your property on the same page about what does and does not go down the drain. That way you can ensure you’re doing your best to avoid any nasty blockages.
NOTE FROM YOUR TRUSTY PLUMBER
If you are experiencing consistently blocked drains there will almost always be an underlying problem in your system. We offer a free pipe inspection service to investigate where and why these blockages are occurring. You can read more about it here.
ALL THE HOUSEHOLD ITEMS THAT SHOULD NEVER GO DOWN THE DRAIN
Pay attention to this list and you will be on your way to ensuring you bypass the blocked drain call out to any plumber!
- Grease, fats, or oils from cooking — think twice before you pour that hot oil down the drain. Oils, fats, and grease (including meat fats, lard, vegetable oils, butter, margarine, and dairy products) congeal and cause other debris to get lodged in your drains, creating massive blockages.
- Coffee grounds — a surprising one, we know! But the block drains faster than you think.
- Pasta, rice, and bread – these materials expand with water and will not move easily through a drain. These food products will be caught in your drains and create other blockages very easily.
- Meat and poultry scraps (including fish bones) – The fat from any meat scraps gets caught easily and will create a back up of debris. Fishbones only make the clog worse as they get caught in any small blockages that already exist.
- Vegetable cut-offs and eggshells — If you have a garbage disposal you may be tempted to throw your eggshells down there, but they aren’t meant to grind bones or eggshells, so the shards often go down the drain to form clumps with other items.
- Hair – This is a big one for any bathroom or shower drain. Human, pet, doll, any hair – keep it out of your drains.
- Baby wipes, napkins, paper towels, and other paper products – These products have no place in any drain. Even some toilet papers just don’t dissolve quickly or thoroughly enough to be handled by septic or sewage lines.
- Tampons, maxi pads, other feminine hygiene products – Yep, these are not to be forced or flushed down any drain.
- Bleach and other anti‐bacterial cleaners – Anti‐bacterial agents can kill off the good bacteria that are keeping your septic system functioning, some keep them away from any drains or toilets.
- Cat litter – Yes, even the “flushable” kind can wreak havoc on your pipes and drain system.
- Other “flushable” products — including “flushable” toilet wipes, baby wipes, and sanitary products. Most often these things don’t break down as well as the manufacturer claims, especially if you have a septic system.
- Band‐aids and dental floss — these products can wrap around smaller blockages and turn them into big clogs.
- Condoms, balloons, or rubber gloves – these materials will inflate and can create an obstruction.
- Stickers — The small stickers you find on fruit and vegetables often find their way into the drain. These can clump up with other things to cause clogs.
- Cotton balls, cotton swabs, cigarette butts, fabric softener/dryer sheets, or similar fibrous materials — This should be a given, right? You’d be surprised!
- Razors, blades, syringes, needles — Not only can these can cause serious injury to municipal sewage workers and to wildlife if they find their way out of your drains and into the public system, but they can also cause massive blockages to your pipes in the meantime. Plus, there are safe ways to dispose of these dangerous items (check with your local pharmacy).
- Prescription medications – Many pharmacies will “take back” leftover medications, or check with your doctor or local public health authority for similar disposal programs if you’re unsure about how to dispose of them.
- Face, body lotions, and cosmetics – While anything that goes in or on your body might seem safe, these items can be potentially toxic to wildlife and/or leech into our drinking water.
- Soil, grass, and garden scraps – including weeds! Outside, garden drains can become blocked super fast with this material.
- Bottle caps and straws – whether metal or plastic, will not only ruin your garbage disposal but can also get stuck in smaller pipes. Plastic straws will create blockages and take a long time to break down.
- Toys – Such a common reason for a blocked toilet! Your little ones can start to learn about what does and does not go down the toilet from a young age to save an overflow and flooded bathroom!
- Soap – Ever pushed that last little slither of soap down the shower drain? Soap can clog drains faster than you might think — mostly when the residue builds up and catches other things. Try binning it instead.
- Paint, paint solvents, nail polish, or nail polish remover – Check with your local paint or hardware store for information about how to dispose of these items properly. These products should not be put down drains.
- Motor oil, transmission fluid, anti‐freeze, etc. – Other harmful substances to get rid of down a drain! Your local mechanic or auto shop can tell you how and where to dispose of these substances, and some even have programs to dispose of them for you.
How Does A Professional Plumber Clear A Blocked Drain?
1. Hand Tools
Our highly trained tradesmen can resolve a common blocked toilet, basin, or shower with drain rods to shift the blockage. In most blocked drain jobs, this is an effective method of clearing the immediate issue and preventing ongoing issues.
Each drain has a unique style of tool used to clear the blockage effectively and our eastern suburbs-based team is ready and equipped with the right tools for the job!
2. Electric Eel
Electric Eel’s a tried and tested method of clearing most blocked drains. They’ve survived the test of time for a reason – they work. Although quite heavy and bulky, we could not live without them! Our local plumbing team have the experience to use this tool fast, efficiently, and safely.
3. Chemical Treatment
For some blocked drains, the safest and easiest way to clear it is with a chemical treatment. This is a safe, non-invasive way to get your lines flowing again. How does it work? Well, a strong, acidic, herbicide is fed down an access point, killing and removing any organic matter. Grime, grease, leaves, and tree roots can dissolve to a certain extent.
4. High-Pressure Jetting
More complicated blocked drains may need the assistance of our state-of-the-art high-pressure jetting system that operates at 5000KPA. This baby can cut through tree roots and other debris, common around the eastern suburbs.
Jet blasters use high pressurized water to force out junk through your pipes where other methods fail. Jet blasters can travel up to 60 meters through your pipes and force almost anything out. This method is used for more complicated blockages or pipework that is larger than 150mm in diameter.
5. Hydro jetting
If our investigation proves that you have heavy tree root intrusion, solid grease build-ups, or partially collapsed drain/s then we’ll use Hydro Jetting. The beauty of using Hydro Jets for blocked drain cleaning is that they can reach blockages that a standard power drain cleaner cannot get to. Using high-pressure water, our Hydro Jetting equipment can defeat stubborn blockages.
Hydro Jets also give the pipes an intensive clean and scrub. Hydro Jets are generally the best form of drain cleaning, however, this much power plus the higher operating costs mean it isn’t the right choice for the majority of standard blocked drain issues. We usually reserve hydro jet cleaning for the more stubborn of blockages where standard power drain cleaning equipment has not been successful in clearing the blockage.
6. CCTV Camera
Our crew is also skilled in CCTV camera operation. So, once the blockage is cleared, we can use closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera to identify the cause of the blockage, and the extent of the damage.
With our highly advanced locating equipment we can also pinpoint the exact spot above ground of the blockage, including the depth and direction of flow. To read more about why we use CCTV, click here.
7. Pipe Relining
If you want your drains permanently fixed without destroying your gardens, driveways, or concrete slab then pipe relining might be the best solution.
At Proximity Plumbing, we can use a two-part epoxy, which is pulled through the pipe and expanded to leave a hard fiberglass shell, which cannot be penetrated by roots. Although only relatively new to Australia, pipe relining has been tried and tested overseas for over 25 years and has a life expectancy of over 50 years.
At Proximity Plumbing, we typically reline pipework ranging from as small as 50mm up to 250mm in diameter with some of the liners being over 100m in a continuous run.
This prevents any joints in the line and ensures a strong bond when repairing sewer, stormwater, earthenware, copper, and cast-iron pipes. Having no joints ensures in most cases better protection from root penetration than newly laid pipes.
We use only the leading products from Germany called, Brawoliner® for our inversion pipe relining as it’s been tried and tested overseas for so many years. As well as using the best products, we also have invested in training overseas and state of the art trucks specifically designed for relining works so we can serve our eastern suburbs community in the best possible way.
So, there you have the ways in which the experts get to work on clearing your blocked drains and pipes!
WHAT IS THE COST TO CLEAR A BLOCKED DRAIN?
The cost involved in clearing a blocked drain depends on the type of blockage, how extensive the blockage, and how easy it is to unblock. For troublesome blockages, we recommend using a CCTV camera to inspect the blockage.
This will give you a clear visual of exactly what you’re dealing with and let your plumber get specific on where the drain needs to be cleared. You can read more about this service here: https://proximityplumbing.com.au/blogs/solution-to-guarantee-no-more-blocked-drains/
SYDNEY BLOCKED DRAIN PREVENTION
If you’ve got a blocked drain, you know how painfully frustrating it is. Here are some tips to prevent drain blockages from occurring at your property:
Regularly Clean Plug-Holes In Bathrooms And Kitchen
These two rooms in your home are prone to the most amount of debris clogging your drains. In the bathroom, the main culprit is hair. You may think that a little bit every now and again won’t hurt but let me tell you…. it all adds up!
And in the kitchen, how often would food scraps, oil, and dirt find their way down your drain? It would be worth investing in a strainer plug to stop this from entering your drain.
Don’t Flush Foreign Objects Down The Toilet
Foreign objects consist of sanitary products, wipes, nappies, and paper towels. Even if these products claim to be flushable, we highly recommend avoiding flushing them. They are unable to break down in drains and cause blocked drains very frequently to occur. Placing a small bin beside your toilet could be a worthwhile solution.
Avoid Putting Food Scraps Down The Drain
Do you know what food is the biggest culprit for clogging drains? RICE! Before cleaning your dishes, scrape all food scraps into the bin and then wash. I know it’s far easier to rinse them, but you’re clearly reading this article for a reason…
Don’t Put Coffee Grounds Down The Sink
I must admit, I am guilty of this sometimes. A combination of coffee grounds, oil, and grease is a recipe for disaster. There are many better ways to dispose of your coffee grounds, including putting them in the bin, a worm compost, or even your garden. Coffee grounds act as a fertilizer for your garden so why waste putting them down your drain?
Don’t Dispose Of Grease And Oil Down The Drain
This is a big no-no. It may seem innocent when you do it whilst washing your dishes, but in cold temperatures, these oils will harden and turn into lumps which can contribute to blocked drains.
Tips To Disposing Of Grease And Oil
- Put oils straight in the bin.
- Dispose of oils in an old jar and then throw the filled jar in the bin.
- Put oil in the fridge or freezer until it solidifies, and then dispose of it in the bin (this may be the most effective/tidy way).
Following these simple steps and forging some new habits, you will be on the way to preventing your drains from unwanted blockages.
KEEP READING TO LEARN SOME KEY TIPS TO PREVENT BLOCKED DRAINS
- Keep Grease And Oil Out Of Your Drains
Instead of clogging your drains up with that excess oil from your can of tuna, it’s recommended to dispose of it in a container to throw out with the weekly rubbish. Although both grease and oil seem harmless, both harden once they enter your pipes and will build up over time. Other forms of debris can also build up with greater ease, more likely to cause you a blockage.
- Use A Sink Strainer
If used correctly, these are a fantastic asset. They will stop any forms of debris from entering your drains, such as scraps of food, hair, and dirt. This enables you to dispose of this debris in your rubbish, as opposed to down your drain.
- Only Flush Toilet Paper Down The Toilet
No exceptions! Things such as paper towels, wipes, and sanitary items will be too heavy for the toilet and plumbing system to handle. A suggestion to avoid this from happening is to add a small rubbish bin beside the toilet for these materials.
- Every Week, Pour Some Boiling Water Down Your Drain
This will help to break down debris that has built up in your drain, helping to prevent blocked drains from occurring. You can try this eco-friendly DIY option on your kitchen and bathroom sinks today: https://proximityplumbing.com.au/blogs/how-to-safely-clean-a-smelly-drain/If you have a blocked drain that boiling water can’t seem to solve, you will most likely be in need of a plumber. If that is the case, feel free to contact the friendly team at Proximity Plumbing.
WHY PROXIMITY PLUMBING?
- At Proximity Plumbing, our purpose is to surpass your expectations with our highly skilled and trained licensed tradesmen. Plumbers are one of the most important trades and services you may ever hire for your property, so ensuring you choose the right plumber with a proven track record is essential.
- Proximity Plumbing has been established for 10 years and has 25 years of collective experience.
- We make it simple by positioning ourselves as experts in our field and providing exceptional customer service and providing a guaranteed 30 minute response time and a $0 call out.
- We back up our service with a Lifetime Workmanship Guarantee, that being said all the products we install, and users have their own manufactures warranty, and we need to respect and stand by.
- We ensure we are constantly re-investing in developing our team ensuring we are up to date with both current and upcoming changes and trends.
- As standard, all work is well documented and photographed to ensure clients have before detailed before and after reports both for your records but also our own.
- We provide warranty certificates with all work upon request and standby our promise.
- We love, live, and breathe the eastern suburbs and respect our local community and all our customers.
If you have a blocked drain – don’t delay – get on the phone today and speak with our friendly team to schedule a professional plumber to inspect and clear that drain!