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Gurgling water, toilets that won’t flush…..

Sinks that fill with water after the plug’s been pulled and nasty smells are all symptoms of a blocked drain. But, the $64 million question is: what’s causing the problem? Here’s your guide to blocked drains and what you can do to prevent them.new drainage runs

The pipes have had it

Today’s PVC pipes are pretty tough. However, the same can’t be said for those built 40 years – or longer – ago. Not only do they suffer wear and tear, they’re also not made of materials that are especially resistant to breakage. All kinds of forces can cause pipes to wear out or crack – from nearby construction to tree roots to soil movements – leading to restricted flow and blockages. In Sydney, where so many homes were built before the 1980s, malfunctioning pipes are a common problem.

What do you throw down your drain?

If your pipes have the all clear, the next question to ask yourself is, what have you – or your family members – been putting down your drain? If the answer is food scraps, rubbish, nappies, baby wipes, paper towels and/or liquids that can transform into solids – like melted butter or oil – then you’re asking for trouble. Over time, these substances can build up, causing major blockages. The same goes for materials that might be heading down the drain unintentionally. One of the biggest causes of blockages in bathrooms is hair, for example.

Intrusion of tree roots

Every now and again, a tree’s growth can get out of control, leading to roots that force their way through your pipes. This often happens in combination with corroded or damaged pipes, which aren’t strong enough to withstand the tree. Another plant-related problem is leaves. These can accumulate all too easily – especially during autumn!

What can you do to prevent blocked drains? 

A little regular maintenance goes a long way. For a start, make sure every sink in your house is fitted with a filter to prevent unwanted debris going down the plug hole. Secondly, flush boiling hot water, chased by cold water, down all drains once a week. Thirdly, once a month, do a more thorough clean out, by pouring a good handful of baking soda, followed by the same amount of vinegar, into all sinks. These steps won’t stop every issue, but they’ll certainly help!

In addition, it’s important to be vigilant. Rather than waiting for a catastrophe, keep an eye out for subtle symptoms, which might point to an underlying problem. If you notice dripping taps, running toilets, leaking tanks, wet spots where they shouldn’t be or sinks that take an age to drain, get in touch with a plumber as soon as you can. It’s easier – and cheaper – to diagnose a problem early than to suffer the consequences at a later date.

The same goes with concerns about trees – if you’re worried that any of the plants in your garden are positioned to cause plumbing problems, get in touch with a professional.

Give Ruttley Plumbing a call today, we can clear and repair blocked drains fast.