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Common Signs and Symptoms of Blocked Drains

There are several common signs that may indicate a blocked drain in your home, including:

  • Water draining slowly from sinks, showers, baths, or toilets
  • Overflowing water, a clear indicator of a blocked drain
  • Gurgling sounds coming from drains
  • Unpleasant sewage odours coming from drains
  • Wet patches where water can pool around drains
  • Increased insect activity around an outside drain, often a red flag for professionals

These symptoms usually indicate a partial or total obstruction in your plumbing system, obstructing water flow and leading to potentially damaging back-ups. Quick action is crucial to prevent water from flooding your property.

Determining how to unblock a drain is crucial, as accumulations of hair, soap, and other residues frequently lead to blockages. An experienced plumber can troubleshoot the exact location of the clog and clear it, preventing issues that can cause more serious problems down your drainage system.

DIY Methods to Identify Blocked Drain Issues

Homeowners can use several straightforward DIY methods to diagnose potential blockage issues before enlisting the help of a professional plumber:

Baking Soda and Vinegar Test

Use this method if there’s a partial blockage. No reaction suggests a fully clogged drain.

Pour one cup of bicarb soda down the sink, followed by one cup of vinegar to naturally clean and tackle blockages. The resulting fizz can break down substances that might block your drains, indicating a partial blockage if bubbling occurs.


Use a heavy-duty plunger or a DIY drain snake to dislodge debris from your sewer drain. This action can often break down and dislodge debris trapped near the opening. Avoid applying too much force which can undermine your plumbing system.

Boiling Water

Pouring boiling water from your kettle into the drain can dissolve fat build-ups, often a blockage source. Exercise extreme caution to avoid burns.

While these DIY solutions may temporarily alleviate small clogs and can effectively handle moderate build-up, they’re insufficient for complex blockages in sewage pipes. For serious obstructions, hydro-jetting and professional interventions become necessary. If DIY attempts fail, contact a licensed plumber to comprehensively address the blockage.

When Should You Call a Professional Plumber?

There are several scenarios where it is wise to contact a professional plumbing service like Coogee Plumbing rather than attempting DIY drain clearing solutions:

Significant Blockages

When multiple fixtures, including the bathroom sink, in your household are significantly clogged or not draining, this typically signals a blocked sewer drain.

Attempting to clear a significant clog, particularly in a blocked sewer, with drain snakes or caustic cleaners, can be risky and potentially worsen pipe damage. Professional plumbers, equipped with industrial-grade water jetters, effectively remove longstanding build-up.

Persistent Clogs

There are times when you notice signs of a blocked drain such as recurrent blockages indicating it’s time for a professional assessment. There may be an underlying issue affecting older pipes, such as pipe corrosion, misaligned joints, tree root invasion or a collapsed pipe.

Indoor Backups

Sewage backing up into domestic sinks, bathtubs, or toilets requires urgent plumbing intervention. Our Coogee emergency plumbers are available 24/7, helping to protect your property from the risks of contaminated backflow.

Using Drain Cameras to Detect Blockages

A camera inspection, also known as a CCTV drain survey, is an invaluable tool for identifying the exact location and cause of blocked drains. A specialised camera is inserted into the drain line via cable to ensure your live video feed is clear, essential for assessing a blocked drain’s interior condition.

This method is ideal for dealing with blocked pipes that other detection approaches can’t pinpoint. It enables examination of drains and sewers in areas inaccessible to the eye. The images gathered can identify breaches, fractures, tree roots infiltration and determine if pipe relining or other repair methods are necessary.

Drain cameras afford plumbers a direct view of obstructions to determine the most effective clearance method. They also reveal early structural issues that may be causing blockages, forestalling expensive future repairs.

Yearly CCTV drain inspections with cameras are advised to check for recurring issues and guide maintenance decisions. Professionals should carry out these inspections for accurate diagnoses.

At Coogee Plumbing, our licensed technicians conduct detailed drain camera inspections with cutting-edge equipment, precisely locating blockages and recommending appropriate repairs.

How Plumbers Technically Assess and Clear Blocked Drains

Professional plumbers utilise several advanced methods to accurately locate the source of drain blockages and safely clear them. These technical approaches leverage specialised plumbing equipment to thoroughly inspect, diagnose and address drainage issues.

Hand Augers

A drain auger, also known as a hand auger or plumbing snake, has one end as a long, flexible metal cable with a spiral tip used to dislodge clogs, including foreign objects.

Manually inserted into the drain, hand augers dislodge blockages and are available in sizes suitable for sinks, toilets, and main sewers, capable of clearing obstructions deep within pipes.

Electric Drain Machines

Electric drain cleaners, also called plumbers snakes, often use cold water propulsion to enhance the effectiveness of spinning cables, propelling them deep into pipes to reach and clean out distant blockages. The spinning motion effectively captures solidified grease and waste in shower drains. These machines enable plumbers to clear drains up to 100 feet long.

Hydro Jetters

Hydro jet cleaners use high-pressure water to effectively clear blockages through home drains. These high-pressure jets of water are adept at flushing out build up that could otherwise damage your plumbing over time. Hydro jetting can thoroughly cleanse your entire sewer lines in a single session.

With an arsenal of mechanical tools and high-pressure water propulsion, plumbers tackle all types of blockages. Each drainage problem is carefully evaluated to find the optimal solution for restoring free-flowing pipes.

Preventative Measures to Avoid Future Blockages

There are several routine maintenance tasks homeowners can perform to help prevent drain blockages:

  • Utilise drain strainers to catch food waste, hair, and debris before they go down the drain
  • Regularly pour boiling water mixed with baking soda and vinegar down the drain to dissolve grease and keep pipes clear
  • Avoid pouring fats, oils or grease down your sink drain and use drain maintenance practices to limit buildup
  • Clean gutters and eliminate leaf litter annually before winter to prevent clogs in your stormwater drain system
  • Prevent clogs that could damage your home by ensuring items that shouldn’t be flushed down toilet, like excessive toilet paper, are disposed of properly
  • Install outdoor drain screens, like drain mesh, to prevent the entry of leaves or animals into your plumbing
  • Have your plumber conduct an annual CCTV drain inspection to pinpoint potential pipe faults early

Locations such as Coogee face heightened risks of blockages due to leaf drop, sand intrusion, and saltwater corrosion. Preventive actions reduce the likelihood of severe drain complications that could require costly emergency repairs.

Coogee Plumbing is ready to offer guidance on effective drain maintenance tailored to local conditions, like those on the Gold Coast. Call us at 1300 349 338 for help in keeping your drains healthy.

Knowing Whether to Attempt DIY Solutions or Call the Experts

Tackling blocked drains or severe plumbing problems requires assessing the clog’s severity, your skills, and the risks involved.

While minor clogs from hair, soap scum, or loose debris can be managed by the homeowner, significant blockages best handled by a plumber should be referred when basic techniques fail.

Clearing critical main sewage lines of serious or extensive obstructions is a task for qualified plumbers to avoid damage or sewage backups. If DIY efforts repeatedly fail, it signifies the need for professional equipment and expertise.

Potential warning signs that necessitate contacting plumbing services like Coogee Plumbing include:

  • Complete clogs with multiple affected drains/fixtures
  • Foul sewage odours emanating from drains
  • Backed up water flooding sinks or tubs
  • Unsuccessful attempts using DIY methods
  • If blockages recur after clearing, it’s time to call a plumber immediately

Our professionals employ advanced cameras and hydro jetting, superior to DIY methods, for revealing deep-seated blockages and build-up. Prevent unnecessary risks; call 1300 349 338 for expert drain assessment and cleaning.

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