Here Is What You Need To Know!
Blocked drains are one of the most common problems plumbers are called out to fix. There are a few DIY interventions that may assist temporarily, but a major blockage will require the expertise of a plumber to rectify. What’s more, an experienced plumber can offer advice to ensure you don’t experience a blockage again.
Blocked drains in Sydney are caused by a number of factors, including the city’s colonial history and the types of pipes laid in different building eras. There are also a few ‘do’s and don’ts’ to keep in mind if you want to avoid blocked drains in your Sydney home.
History of drainage pipes in Sydney
It’s hard to imagine, but back in 1850, sewerage used to flow from an outpipe straight into Sydney Harbour, right where the Sydney Opera House is located. When the tide came in, it brought back what everyone had for breakfast, lunch and dinner (literally). The harbour would have been nothing like the beautiful landmark we know today, and people quickly become sick. The end of the 1800s saw the beginning of Sydney’s modern sewerage system installed to prevent the nastiness that washed up on shore.
Fast forward 100 years, and houses and other properties in Sydney had waste points plumbed directly to the main sewer in the street. Sewerage would then be carried to a plant, where it would be treated, much like today.
The types of pipes used to remove waste have changed, from clay or earthenware to metals or plastics. PVC is the most common pipe material installed to carry waste water away from properties in Sydney.
While the current sewerage system is an innovative solution compared to what once was, it doesn’t come without its headaches. Here are some of the causes of blocked drains in Sydney, and a few helpful solutions.
Reasons for blocked drains in Sydney
There are 3 main reasons for blocked drains in Sydney:
1. Tree roots that grow into pipes
If a house has not had its original earthenware pipes replaced, cracks can occur and these openings allow for tree roots to grow into the pipes, causing major blockages. PVC pipes can also break, but this is generally only caused by major earth movements, such as heavy vehicle traffic, rather than normal ‘wear and tear’.
A broken pipe can’t direct flow, and therefore becomes the cause of a blockage. An unknown broken pipe may not be detected for many years, until tree roots find their way through a crack and need to be pulled out.
2. Hot fats and expandable food poured down sinks
Fat congeals when it goes cold and this can cause a blockage in your drain. Rice and other food that retains moisture and expands can also grow to fill a space, compacting together with other materials. This is made worse if your pipes are old, or if you’re living in the inner city where the network of pipes is under extreme pressure. Ensuring you dispose of food responsibly is one way you can help to prevent blocked drains at your Sydney dwelling.
3. Unknown objects entering the sewer system
Plumbers would be able to tell you many wild and wonderful stories of unknown objects that have caused major blockages to properties owned by Sydney residents. The most common culprit is ‘flushable wipes’, which don’t disintegrate in the water like toilet paper, and can wreak havoc on our sewerage system and treatment plants. This is not a problem only found in Sydney, of course, but a higher population always increases the risk of plumbing problems, particularly in high traffic areas or apartment buildings.
When you combine ‘human error’ with the fact that some of Sydney’s plumbing infrastructure is amongst the oldest in Australia, it makes sense that blocked drains are a common occurrence in Sydney. Give your local Sydney plumber a call to learn more about what you can do to get the best out of your plumbing system. If you’re building in Sydney, take the opportunity to get the plumbing ‘right’ from the outset. Ask your plumber how!
If you experience a blocked drain in Sydney, be sure to contact the team at Gladesville Plumbing. Our experienced plumbers have ‘seen it all’ in Sydney and will be able to assist you to get things moving again.