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Blocked drains are common occurrences in homes and businesses throughout the Greater Sydney area, and can be incredibly frustrating when they happen to you. On top of that frustration, blocked drains can also cause serious damage to your property.
When your drain backs up, the pooling water can damage your floors, walls, ceilings and furnishings, and you may also experience a foul odour emanating from the water. Left unchecked, water damage can cause mould and mildew to form, which can be incredibly difficult to get rid of and can pose a health risk to you and your family.
There are numerous potential causes of blocked drains, but they all end with the same result: a drain which doesn’t allow water to flow through smoothly. Here’s an overview of some of the most common causes of blocked drains in Sydney and what you can do to prevent them.
What many people don’t realise is that the roots of a tree spread out as far as the branches do, and even further in some cases. So if you have large trees, you’ll also have large roots. These roots are much more powerful than you might think and can puncture your pipes, causing a blockage.
When planting trees on your Sydney property, it is important to take into consideration the layout of your pipes. This way, you can plant the trees far enough away from any underground works, so that they won’t pose a threat to your plumbing. Be sure to think not just about the size of the tree today, but also how it will grow in the future.
We’ve all been guilty of pouring cooking grease down the kitchen sink from time to time, but this is a practice you should always aim to avoid. As the grease cools, it congeals on the inside of your pipe and can partially or fully block the pipe over time, preventing water from draining away.
Instead of dumping your cooking grease in the sink, pour it into an empty coffee tin or other container. Then, throw it in the bin with the rest of your rubbish. This simple step only takes a few extra moments, and it will protect your pipes from grease build-up over the years.
Whether it’s hair down the shower drain after a shampoo, hair in the toilet bowl when emptying a brush or clippings down the sink after a shave – hair is pretty much guaranteed to enter household drains at one point or another. Whilst on a single occasion it might not seem like a big deal, over time, hair will build up in your drains. And just like it gets matted and knotted on your head, it can gather and get tangled within your drainage system causing a nasty blockage.
Fortunately, this problem is completely avoidable – it just takes a shift in habit (preferably from all household members). Firstly, avoid the temptation to push your hair down the shower drain after a wash – instead pick it up and put it in the bin. Same goes for emptying a hair brush – while it might seem convenient to flush it down the toilet, emptying the hair into your bin is a far better option. And lastly, if you’ve just shaved don’t wash the clippings down the sink. When it comes to hair – always opt for the bin, not the drain.
Sanitary items and personal care products are far too frequently mindlessly flushed down the toilet. These items, such as so-called ‘flushable’ baby wipes, cotton pads and feminine products do not break down the same way toilet paper does. Quite the contrary- they get even bigger, absorbing water as they travel through the pipe network. As such, they are likely to get caught in the drainage system and eventually cause a blockage. Even using too much toilet paper at one time can cause a pipe to block up.
It’s a good idea to use common sense when it comes to personal care products and toilets. Keep in mind that if an item is somewhat large and is not biodegradable – it’s better off winding up in landfill, not stuck in your pipes. A bin next to the toilet in each bathroom is a good solution to this common pipe problem.
Whether intentional or not, foreign objects will most likely at some point wind up down your toilet or in the drain. Things like debris, jewellery or most commonly – children’s toys can contribute to blocked pipes in your home. In the case of excess food, even seemingly small things like ground coffee or tea leaves can wreak havoc when they’re washed down the sink over and over again.
Children love seeing their toys float, as such it’s a good idea to help them understand that whilst toys love a bath – they don’t enjoy being flushed down the toilet. For things like excess food or debris it’s important to always dispose of waste correctly – in the bin. A basket strainer in your sink is a great way to catch food or debris before it enters the pipe system.
Following the tips outlined above can help you avoid the inconvenience that is a blocked drain. Making a conscious effort to ensure things like cooking grease, hair and personal care products are disposed of correctly and being mindful of tree root systems is a great place to start.
If you do notice gurgling noises, an awful smell or slow draining – it’s likely you’ve got a pipe problem – and the sooner you act, the better.
If something doesn’t seem right, we are available to respond to your blocked drain emergency. Get in touch with our friendly team today to organise a site inspection and clean.