Diagnosing a blocked drain

A blocked drain can cause trouble if it is not dealt with quickly. You may need to call your plumber to check for a blocked drain if:

  • Your sink, bath, shower or toilet is draining slowly (or not at all).
  • Your sink, toilet or household drains are making a ‘gurgling’ sound.
  • The water level in your toilet is significantly higher or lower than normal.
  • And of course, if you have an overflow from your toilet or drain.

Causes of blocked drains in Sydney

When called out to deal with blocked drains in Sydney, we often find that tree roots are the culprit. Sydney is a place city filled with beautiful trees, but the roots often go deeper than people expect, and when they come in contact with pipes, problems can occur. Fine, hair-like tree roots can enter drains and clog them. Larger roots can push on pipes and crush them, causing a drain blockage and a need for the pipes to be replaced.

Another cause of blocked drains quite common in Sydney is ground movement caused by heavy traffic. Large vehicles can compress the earth; over time, the pressure underground can become so intense that pipes are crushed, causing the drains in the house to back up.

At the household end, foreign objects flushed down toilets can cause blocked drains. Paper towels, sanitary pads, cloths or nappies are sometimes mistakenly flushed down toilets; even toys are sometimes found in drains when little ones learn to flush the loo.

The other common cause of blocked drains in Sydney households is the build-up of food, hair, oil or other residue in drains. This may be prevented by regular drain maintenance, including use of household drain cleaners. Using a drain trap in the kitchen sink to prevent any larger food scraps from going down the drain is also a good idea.

How plumbers clear blocked drains ?

If your drain is stubbornly blocked or clogged, you will need to call in professional plumbers to help. Quality plumbers in Sydney will have specialised equipment to diagnose and clear a blocked drain.

First, most modern plumbers will use a CCTV video to perform a pipeline survey and confirm the location and cause of the blockage. If the blockage is caused by a crushed pipe, the plumber will need to perform a drain replacement or repair.

If the drain is blocked and cannot be cleared with a plunger, the plumber will use one of two tools to clear the pipe.

The electric eel could be described as a flexible drill that can snake into drains on a long wire. These come in various sizes, and a good plumber will have a selection to suit different drain sizes. The drill at the end of the wire digs into the clog like a corkscrew into a cork, with the result that it pulls the clog out of the drain or breaks the clog into small pieces. It also flails about inside the drain to scrape oily residues from the sides of the pipe.

The high pressure water jet is attached to a flexible line up to hundreds of metres in length. It has a nozzle that pulls the line into the sewer using hydraulic force and cleans out lengths of pipes. Truck-mounted systems can even break up hard objects such as tree roots with the force of the spray.

If you have a blocked drain, be sure to call a qualified Sydney plumber sooner rather than later, to get the problem solved.