There’s nothing worse than trying to flush a blocked toilet or having a basin fill up with water as you wash your hands. A shower that pools with water at the base and a sink that holds water after the plug has been taken out after washing up, are all the symptoms of a blocked drain.
A blocked drain can be an inconvenient and frustrating issue to have on your property. Luckily, it can often be avoided by following a few simple tips. For starters, make sure everyone in the household is on board in managing what they flush or rinse down the drain. This ensures your drain pipes aren’t put in a position where they can block up.
Keen to learn more? Read on!
HOW DO I KNOW IF I’VE GOT A BLOCKED DRAIN?
When we talk about drains, there are two types of services that take water away from your property: your sewer and your stormwater. It’s crucial to protect both waterways to ensure a free-flow for waste water and prevent a blocked drain.
There are two ways to find out if you have a blocked drain on your property.
• Take notice if water won’t drain away from your fixtures or your toilet won’t flush away the effluent. In some situations, the waste water will overflow from the drain itself, which can be a nasty sight to see and smell. It can also cause damage to your house.
• Go outside and find your overflow relief gully (ORG). The ORG on your property is a backflow prevention that ensures a sewer blockage on your main sewer line won’t back up into your house. Instead it will overflow (as the name suggests) from the ORG. Your ORG looks like a grated drain and is located outside. If your ORG has overflowed, you can be sure your house has a blocked drain.
HOW TO PREVENT A CLOGGED SEWER
All the fixtures and appliances in your home will be connected to your property’s main sewer line. To ensure none of your fixtures cause your sewer to block up, it’s important to be mindful of what you flush or rinse down these drains.
Most often, a blocked sewer is caused by tree roots growing in the pipe. This is a common problem in clay style pipes. If a crack is found in the pipe, roots from trees will grow their way into the sewer as it’s a great supply of water. Tree roots can block the flow into the sewer pipe, which means when a toilet is flushed, and solid matter drifts into the sewer, it can catch itself on the roots and cause a blockage.
It’s important for the sewer to be clear at all times. To ensure your sewer has a clear run, a camera can be put down the drain to view the location of the blockage. A jet rodding machine may be able to blast or cut its way through the blockage to open up the drain.
Sometimes a sewer can block because the pipe has a ‘belly’, which means movement has caused the pipe to hold water. Again, a camera can find where the backfall occurs and your plumber can fix this part of the pipe to ensure the flow goes in the right direction.
Generally, most blocked drains are caused from what has been washed, rinsed or flushed from the fixtures in your house.
To prevent a clogged drain in your house, take note of the proper ways to use the following fixtures.
- KITCHEN SINK AND DISHWASHER
- Don’t pour oils or fats down the sink. This solidifies in the waste pipe and blocks the drain. Instead, dispose of these by allowing them to solidify in a tray and scraping them into the bin.
- Don’t rinse rice, pasta, cereal, or any type of food that expands when wet, down the sink drain. Use a plug strainer to catch any food particles when rinsing plates. Food that gets rinsed down the drain can get caught down the line and this can create a blockage. Install a waste food grinder that can grind scraps down finely, so they can be washed away easily.
- Clean and rinse plates, cutlery and cups, before they are placed in the dishwasher. This not only helps with the dishwashing cycle, it can prevent a blockage down the line from the dishwater.
To prevent a toilet blockage, ensure your toilet is only used for its intended purpose! Natural waste and toilet paper are the only things you should flush down the toilet.
So-called ‘flushable wipes’, paper towel and tissues should NOT be flushed down the toilet. The reason for this is because they absorb water and don’t break down in the water like toilet paper does.
Teach kids not to flush toys or whole rolls of toilet paper down the toilet. This can be flushed away but can get caught down the sewer pipe. If there are tree roots in the sewer, the larger items can get caught in the roots and this can cause the sewer to back-up.
Hair, soaps and toothpaste can be the cause of blockages in bathroom drains. Ensure grates are over the waste outlets at all times. The grates can catch long hair, which can back up in the sewer.
HOW TO PREVENT A CLOGGED STORM WATER DRAIN
- Stormwater drains are notorious for blocking up with organic matter like rocks, sticks, leaves and plants. Even rubbish or anything that has been carried through the stormwater and made its way through the grated drain, has the potential to clog up your stormwater.
Here are some simple ways to avoid a blocked stormwater drain.
- Ensure all gutters are cleaned each change of season. Any leaves or plant matter that sits in the gutters will get washed down your stormwater drains, causing them to block up. Keeping your gutters clear will prevent this from happening.
- Keep the grates on stormwater drains on at all times. Grates act like a filter and prevent rubbish and large pieces of matter making their way into the stormwater drain.
- Consider the landscape and ground material in line with the stormwater trail. If your yard is notorious for filling up with water, it’s much better to have the yard and garden filled with grass, than sand. Sand can be easily carried through stormwater, which makes it easy to block your main stormwater pipe.