Soap, Grime and Hair Build Up Unfortunately soap, grime and hair build up is inevitable, be sure to always leave the grates on top of your drains to reduce the amount that washes down the drain. If your blockage is caused by soap, grime or hair build up it can sometimes be cleared using drain clearing crystals or acid. However, should you want to try this yourself be aware that these products are dangerous and will require using safety gloves, goggles and a face mask. Otherwise, specialty drain clearing tools like the Jetta or Drain Snake have no problem clearing this out quickly.
Fat Kitchen drains often have blockages caused by solidifying and thick fat. It is recommended that you let your fats cool and go hard then put them in the bin. If you do decide however to pour them down the drain, then use plenty of dishwashing liquid and a lot of hot water.
Incorrect Install Poorly installed drainage can sometimes not have the right gradient for water to flow correctly which results in common blockages. This is rare and hard to diagnose. Unless you live in a newly built property, we would rule out this being the issue until consistent blockages arise and no other causes can be found. Other than digging up the entire length of pipe, the only way to find this out is to use a drain camera and piping depth locator system.
Large Object Obstruction There are many ways for a drain to become obstructed, and believe us, we have seen the weird and wackiest. What you need to know is that no matter what the obstruction, there is a tool that can clear it. For heavier more substantial obstructions We use a machine called an Electric Eel, which can either push the obstruction out of your pipe and into the main drain or can be used to take hold of the obstruction and pull it back out of the drain. Most obstruction based blockages can be prevented with proper grates and strainers. As such it is important to never remove the grates and strainers.
Incorrect Venting It's not common knowledge, but a drain pipe requires proper ventilation to work. Drain waste ventilation systems maintain neutral air pressure in the drains, allowing free flow of water and sewage down drains and through waste pipes by gravity. If the vent pipe is undersized, installed incorrectly or blocked, your drain system won't work. An air bubble can form in the drain resulting in a blockage. A drain issue like this can be tough to determine. The Plumbing Co. can do a site visit and use a pipe camera to inspect the piping system and rule this as the issue or not.
Roots Root-related blockages are one of the most common blockages throughout Perth. If your house is over 25 years old and you have trees in or around your property, this is likely the reason for your drain blockages. As Roots grow, they can feel that there is water running inside the pipes so they push on the pipe with such pressure that they can crack clay piping, then grow down into the pipe causing the drains to block. Unfortunately, the damage to the piping is permanent and while the blockage can be cleared using specialist tools, it is likely to reoccur.
Broken Pipes Broken pipes are common in clay urban wear piping systems. Urban wear material stopped being used 20 years ago in Australia if your house is over 20+ years of age, it is likely you have urbanwear drain piping. These pipes don't flex and move like today's PVC piping materials so when roots or pressure is pushed on them they crack and break. Modern PVC plastic piping can still crack and break, but it is much less common. Blockages caused by broken pipes will get progressively worse every time they are unblocked. While a short-term fix may sometimes look more attractive due to pricing, eventually a long-term solution is required. It's best to make an early decision if you want to pay the ongoing costs associated with unblocking the drain or to dig up and replace the broken pipe. You can clear the blockage away with a drain cleaning machine, but to diagnose if the pipes are broken will require a drain camera. If the pipe is inaccessible to be dug up like under the foundation of a house then you will have to consider pipe relining.
Rusted Piping Rusted Piping is incredibly frustrating to deal with. Steel drain pipes stopped being used in Australia approximately 20 years ago and modern houses now use PVC plastic pipes that do not rust. Metal pipes are typically viewable above ground and if the exterior looks rusted, the interior will be far worse. Most homes over 30 years old will likely have a mix of metal and clay pipes. You can temporarily resolve these blockages with drain cleaning equipment or by using a strong acid. However, a permanent fix of replacing or relining the pipe is recommended as in spite of being regularly cleared, over time the issue will still get worse.
Rising Shaft & Main Sewer A Rising Shaft is the last inspection opening on the property before your piping system connects to the Mains sewer. Commonly these are found at the rear or front of the property. These can be a little difficult to find if you don’t know what you are looking for. The Water Corporation is responsible for any blockages in the Mains sewer, if your rising shaft is blocked, there is 50/50 chance that this is the case, and to determine this, you will require a qualified plumber to put their blockage clearing equipment down the shaft towards The Water Corporations sewer. If this doesn't unblock the drain, the problem is in the Mains and falls under The Water Corp’s care. For us personally at The Plumbing Co. we will not charge you for the drain clearing if this turns out to be the case, we will instead notify The Water Corp on your behalf.
Toys and Rocks For some reason, children love putting toys and rocks into pipe grates, and a surprising amount of these objects enter drains and cause a blockage. These items are either flushed down the toilet or enter through a disconnector gully outside. It's at the disconnector gully that rocks and toys typically end up blocking drains. All houses have an overflow relief gully outside that protects their house if a blockage occurs anywhere further downstream in the city's main sewerage. As this is slightly lower than the internal piping of your house various objects will gather here. In some cases if you are able to locate the disconnector gully and have a long arm you can reach in and remove the obstruction after removing the cap. If you do attempt this make sure to use a rubber glove, otherwise a professional tool should be used. You can prevent children from putting things down drains by siliconing on the black grate so they cannot lift it off, but can still easily be cut and opened by a plumber should we need access.
Sanitary pads Ever wondered why we can't flush Sanitary pads? Well after flushing they absorb water and become too heavy to move and just sit at the bottom of the drain pipe. Then when the flow of water stops they dry up and become like velcro to any future items that pass through until eventually, a blockage occurs. This is why we put them in the waste instead.
Cement and Plaster Cement and plaster blockages are typically found on building sites, new homes or renovation sites. These are some of the hardest blockages to clear and often require part of the pipe being dug up and replaced. A Professional drain machine called a Snake machine is the best tool to use when trying to break up concrete. Don't try putting acid down the drain as this will eat at the piping before the concrete/plaster.