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What are the signs of a blocked sewer pipe? The plumbing system is a maintenance priority for property owners. Unfortunately, most people give little thought to their home plumbing system until an emergency arises. When you have a blocked outdoor drain, the flooding of your home can be catastrophic. Knowing how to spot the early signs can prevent serious damage to your property.


Foul smell

The most common cause of odorous fumes coming out of your drain is a blockage. If you notice a funky smell from your drains or sink, there could be a blockage in your sewer line. This prevents waste from flowing away as it used to.

What to do: Try using a plunger to unblock the drain. This old-school method is cheap and effective. Fill the affected area with water, then plunge up and down for about 30 seconds to remove small blockages. You can also use around 1 litre of (almost) boiling water mixed with a tablespoon of dishwashing detergent. Pour the mixture into the drain and repeat if needed. If these home remedies don’t work, try cleaning the P-trap. Doing this regularly should keep your drain clear and free from food particles that mostly block sink drains. However, if you’ve tried everything and the smell persists, it’s time to ask for professional help. The blockage might be deeper in the plumbing system where only an experienced and plumber can work.

Low draining sinks

Slow draining (or not draining at all) sinks, bathtubs, and toilets are commonly caused by accumulated food scraps, grease, or hair. When dirt or hardened cooking grease accumulate, this compromises the vents making it hard for the water and air to pass through the drains.

What to do: Clear the drains using home unclogging tools like a drain snake or plunger, cleaning the P-trap under the sink, or use hot water and dishwashing detergent. If you notice multiple slow draining sinks at home, the root cause could be more serious. Make sure you call a licensed and certified plumber.

Dark water backing up from drains

Water backing up from drains could be due to different reasons but is one common sign of a main-drain clog. Unlike leaks, the discoloured water can pose health hazards because bacteria breeds in the sewer lines and the clogs.

What to do: An obstruction in the vent pipes or sewage backup issues could be the cause of the water coming up your bathtub, sink, or drain. This can be remedied depending on the cause which can be determined by technically skilled and licensed plumbers through CCTV drain inspection Sydney. Unlike leaky pipes, the dark water is stinky and could become a source of illnesses and pests infestations. Do not wait for your home or family members to get sick because of clogged drains, let a blocked drain plumber Sydney specialist like Plumbing by Daniel & Co get the job done for you.

Recurring clogged drains

One way of telling your sewer lines are blocked is a clogged drain. Bathrooms and kitchen sinks happen to be the most common areas of recurring clogged drains due to food scraps, hair, soap scum, grease, and cooking oil. Thus, it is always good practice to clean the drains regularly to keep these grates from accumulating.

What to do: Apart from DIY drain cleaning, you can schedule a drain cleaning service from a professional to remove the grime and grease and smell.

Clogged plumbing fixtures

All your plumbing fixtures are connected, so if an issue in one specific area isn’t fixed, the issue will eventually affect all areas. From one slow draining sink, your drains might stop working altogether. This time, DIY and home remedies might not work and the only solution is a professional plumber to clear the clogged drain for you.

What to do: While it’s possible to clear small clogs yourself, most homeowners lack the equipment, tools, and technical skills to diagnose the issue. Since the majority of clogged sewer lines can be fixed by identifying the main cause, and using cleaners and equipment that most homeowners do not have, the best thing to do is call a licensed professional.

How to avoid blocked sewer lines

  • Refrain from throwing used cooking oil in the kitchen sink drain. Do not drain food scraps like potato peel, eggshells, or thick food particles as all these are contributing factors to drain blockages. Rice, pasta, coffee grounds, bones, fruit pits should be thrown directly into your bin.
  • Watch what you flush down the toilet. Do not flush used tissue, paper towels, baby wipes, Q-tips, gums, menstrual products, or anything that would tend to cause blockages.
  • Have a regular sewer drain cleaning service at least once a year.

Following these easy steps on how to avoid clogs in your sewer lines will reduce costly repair and replacement of plumbing fixtures.

Extra tips on what to do while waiting for a plumber

After getting in touch with an emergency professional plumbing service, follow these steps to prevent further damage:

  • Release the pressure by turning off the main water supply. 
  • Check the sewer cleanout line, unscrew the cap to access the main sewer line. You might be able to take out the clog manually while waiting for professional intervention.
  • Inspect other areas and plumbing fixtures at home like the toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and showers.
  • Run a plumber auger to take out the blockages and debris. But then again running a plumber auger is not a guarantee that it will fix the clog. The same goes if you will try snaking your sewer line.