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Finding out how to unblock a stormwater drain is a smart move if you suspect you have blocked stormwater pipes around your home.

A stormwater drainage system in your property consists of gutters, downpipes and stormwater drainage pits. Altogether, this system collects rainwater and sends it to the stormwater drainage network in your street or area.

In this article, you’ll get to know why you have a blocked stormwater drain, how to unblock it, and how you can prevent future occurrences.

How Do I Detect Blocked Stormwater Pipes?

There are various signs that can indicate that your stormwater drain is blocked. A few of them include:

  • Overflowing roof gutters would mean your downpipes or underground pipework could be blocked
  • Water pooling or boggy areas in your backyard means water isn’t escaping into the drainage system, so there could be a blockage or just inadequate stormwater drainage
  • Water overflowing from the base of your downpipes indicates a blockage in the stormwater system

Once your stormwater drain or pipe gets blocked, it tends to overflow quickly. This is because stormwater drains usually handle a large amount of water. As such, blocked stormwater pipes can cause serious problems, including:

  • Damage to your property and surroundings: A blocked gutter can cause water to flow into your house. It can pass under doors and damage your floors.
  • Mild health risks: Rainwater that sits around may attract more mosquito breeding or lead to algae growth which can become a slip hazard. If rain cannot get into your stormwater drainage system, water can back up onto your roof, which in turn leads to leaks into your home and possible mould growth.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure that you do all you can to prevent a stormwater drain blockage. This will save your home from a possible flood and the resulting damages that come with it.

Let’s look at some things that can cause a blocked stormwater drain.

What Causes Blocked Stormwater Pipes?

There are various causes of blocked stormwater pipes which include:

Thirsty Trees

The number one cause of blocked stormwater pipes on the Gold Coast is root intrusion from plants and trees. During the long dry winters, roots go looking for sources of water and often find their way into the drainage system. They can grow into the drains for many months, sometimes years, before a problem is noticed.  

We recommend an annual CCTV drain camera inspection of your stormwater system to ensure it’s not compromised during heavy downpours on the Gold Coast in the summer months.

Damaged Stormwater Pipes

The second most common cause of blockages is crushed or broken stormwater pipes. As stormwater drainage isn’t laid very deeply in the ground, it is possible as the ground compacts and vehicles are driven over it, that the stormwater pipes become squashed and broken. This narrows the area for the water to escape and can lead to stormwater drain blockages.

Environmental Matter

This includes materials like leaves, dirt, sand, sticks, small pebbles, mulch and bark from the garden. Usually, water picks up anything on its path and takes it down grates and pipes, especially during storm season on the Gold Coast. There, these materials will accumulate and, with time, cause a blockage.

After heavy rainfall, it is wise to check your stormwater drains. This is to avoid consolidating environmental matter in your drains to prevent a blockage.

Rubbish and Debris

If you do not dispose of your refuse properly, they will compound and cause a stormwater blockage. Refuse lying around the environment can be carried by the rain into your stormwater pipes, and this can cause blockages.

Incorrect Connection

If your stormwater pipes are not correctly connected, then expect to have stormwater drains that are blocked constantly. If you discover that the stormwater pipe on your property is improperly connected, contact a good plumber immediately. 

Often stormwater pipes have not been connected to anything and just come to an end in the ground which can lead to blockages. Occasionally stormwater pipes have been connected into the sewer which is actually illegal and needs to be rectified by a plumbing and drainage expert immediately.

These are the major causes of stormwater drain blockages. But how can these blockages be prevented?

How Do I Prevent Blocked Stormwater Pipes?

The common saying that “prevention is better than cure” is true and definitely also applies to stormwater blockages. It’s better to prevent clogging of your stormwater pipes than to begin clearing blocked stormwater pipes.

Prevention is cost-effective, less stressful, and safer for you, your environment, and your pipes. So, here are some ways to prevent your stormwater drain from blockage.

Regular Cleaning

You should have your drains cleared out by a storm drain cleaning service at least once a year. They will rid your drain of debris and other materials that have built up over time.

This way, you can efficiently ensure that a complete blockage does not occur. It is a good method that will save you money and effort.

Allow a Professional To Do Your Plumbing

You should only let a licensed plumber carry out the installation and maintenance of your household stormwater pipes.

Don’t try to do it yourself! Use an experienced professional with many years of drainage solution experience to ensure you will get a quality result. You don’t want to be revisiting these stormwater issues every year or risk making everything worse.

Recognise the Warning Signs

It is always better to detect a blocked stormwater drain early. When this happens, it will prevent more drastic damages from occurring.

Certain warning signs tell you that your stormwater drain is about to block up or is blocked. These signs include:

  • Water gushing out of your downpipes or roof gutters
  • Flooded grates during downpours
  • Slowly draining water
  • Flooded property

Contact a professional plumber to check out your stormwater drain when you notice any of these signs. Clearing blocked stormwater pipes early will prevent further damage, saving you time and money.

Have Gutter Guards and Stormwater Grates

Guards and grates are an excellent way to prevent blockages. When you install them, they are there to stop debris and leaves from entering the drain. Clean the guards and grates regularly, so the debris does not accumulate. 

Also have your gutters vacuum cleaned by a professional at least once a year and more frequently if you have a lot of shedding trees close to your property.

Plan the Structure of Your Property Carefully

If, for instance, you plan to have a garden on your property, be intentional about where you plant the trees on your property.

Since tree roots and leaves can cause stormwater drain blockages, ensure that you plant trees a reasonable distance away from your stormwater pipes.

How Can I Go About Clearing Blocked Stormwater Pipes?

There are natural, chemical, and technical ways of unblocking blocked drains and pipes. However, if your stormwater drain is blocked, the best thing to do is contact a plumbing and drainage expert to help you unblock the pipes.

It is not advisable to try to unclog your blocked stormwater drains by yourself. This is because, unlike other drainage systems, stormwater drains connect pipes from the roof to channels that then discharge water into the water table or kerb in the street.

It can be challenging to know how to unblock a stormwater drain yourself, so you will need to contact a professional. 

DCM Plumbing and Drainage offers storm drain cleaning services on the Gold Coast that are perfect for every stormwater drain situation. Using the best tools, we will get rid of dirt, leaves and debris from your stormwater drains. We will succeed in clearing your drains in situations where other conventional methods won’t work.

Is your stormwater drain blocked on the Gold Coast? Don’t hesitate, call us at (07) 5576 5305 or contact us online and book your expert plumber today. 

One of the most frustrating experiences to have in your home is not knowing how to clear a blocked drain. From the water that refuses to drain out to the foul smell it produces, blocked drains are a nightmare.

So, if you’ve been racking your brain on how to clear a blocked drain, you’re in the right place. We’ll not only tell you how to unblock drains, but we’ll also tell you how you can prevent clogged drains in the future.

Now, there’s no way to avoid getting a clogged drain completely. However, there are preventive measures that can help reduce the chances of having one.

But if you still end up with a clogged drain, there are things you can do to clear it up.

How Do Drains Get Blocked?

You can get a clogged drain in the kitchen sink, bathtub, and toilet. And by knowing what causes these clogs, you can avoid having to unblock drains all the time. So, here are a few things that cause clogged drains.

Grease or Cooking Oil

Grease or cooking oil isn’t just bad for your heart, it’s also bad for drainage pipes. Due to its sticky nature, cooking oil can attach itself to the sides of the pipe when washed down, eventually leading to a drain clog.

Avoid pouring grease and oil down your drain altogether but if you must dispose of it in your kitchen sink, run very hot water down first with dishwashing liquid. Keep the hot tap running while you pour the fats down the drain, so they don’t solidify.

Hair

Having a few strands of hair going all over the place when washing your hair in the shower might seem inconsequential. However, when these hair strands get into your drain without any obstruction, it can become a problem.

That build-up of hair in a drain will most likely eventually cause a blockage. To prevent this, there are several products that you can use as a filter to stop hair strands from finding their way into your drain.

Toiletries

Many people often think that flushing toiletries such as baby wipes, nappies or toilet paper do not have any adverse effect. Unfortunately, this isn’t completely true.

For instance, flushing excess amounts of toilet paper can cause a clogged drain. This is because the pieces of paper can cling to anything in the drain resulting in a blocked drain. The same happens when you flush baby wipes.

Also, flushing nappies is always a bad idea. In fact, it’s almost impossible for you to flush a nappy successfully. Those stinky items can retain water and expand as a result.

When it expands, it becomes difficult for it to flow down the drain easily. So, we understand you can’t wait to get rid of those nappies, but you may just get a clogged drain as a result.

Food Scraps

If you force food scraps down the sink, then you might need to unblock drains frequently. Food scraps can accumulate over time, eventually causing a blockage. As such, you should use a basket waste or sink strainer plug to stop food scraps from entering the sinkhole.

Trees and Leaves

Having plants around your house has its environmental benefits. However, you need to find a way to control the leaves and the branches falling off the trees. This will ensure that they do not end up in your drain. The accumulation of leaves and twigs in your drain can cause a clogged drain.

Tree and plant roots are the most common cause of blocked drains on the Gold Coast. This happens when thirsty plants and tree roots go looking for water and find a way into your underground pipes via a joint or crack in the pipework.

Mineral Build up

Calcium can build up in your pipe. This typically happens when you have hard water, i.e., water with a high mineral content from calcium, magnesium, or potassium. The hard water will usually build up in pipes and may eventually cause blockages.

Cat litter

Allowing cat litter to wash into the drain can lead to a clump. This clump can completely block a pipe or drain.

Clearing Drain Blockages

Now that we know what could cause blocked drains, let’s find out how to clear up a clogged drain.

There are various methods you can use to unblock drains. These procedures are, however, not foolproof. Depending on the extent and cause of the clogged drain, they may not work.

In cases like that, it’s always best to reach out to a professional drain plumber that provides blocked drain services. You don’t want to turn a messy (and most likely stinky) situation into an even messier one.

So, here are some tips to help with minor blockages.

Boiling Water

One of the simplest ways to unblock drains is to use boiling water. Using this method requires pouring the boiling water into the sinkhole, toilet bowl, e.t.c. Boiling water can break down most clumps made up of items like soaps and food scraps.

For more effectiveness, you can mix the boiling water with detergent. However, if you have a PVC pipe, then you should opt for hot water rather than boiling water.

Natural Cleaners

To unblock drains, you can also use bicarbonate soda and vinegar. Mix these items into boiling water for more effectiveness, and then flush the mixture down the drain.

This method will not be effective if a plastic object or a twig is the cause of the blockage.

Caustic Cleaners

You can unblock drains by using a caustic cleaner, but you would have to be extra careful. This is because of the chemicals contained in these cleaners. When using a caustic cleaner, you will need to pour it into the blocked drain and leave it for a specific time. Then flush with cold water.

Caustic cleaners can dissolve tougher materials such as hair. You should avoid using a caustic cleaner if you have a PVC pipe, old pipes, or pipes with glue in their makeup. It’ll do more harm than good.

Plungers

Plungers are one of the most common ways to unblock drains. All you need to do is to get a plunger that properly seals around a drainage hole, ensuring pressure.

Then press the plunger up and down over the drainage hole. Doing this will create an air-based force enough to clear obstructions.

Wire Hanger

You can use a wire hanger to unblock drains. You only need to unbend the hanger and make a small hook at one of its ends. You can then insert it into the drain to fish out any object causing a blockage. However, this method is only effective for minor blockages.

Contact Us for Expert Blocked Drain Services

Unclogged drains are a pain, especially when you’ve done everything you can to unblock them. What happens then? You call DCM Plumbing & Drainage if you’re on the Gold Coast!

As professional plumbers, we’ve been clearing blocked drains on the Gold Coast for almost 20 years. And we not only have the skills and experience, but we also have state-of-the-art technology to clear up even the most difficult of clogged drains.

No blockage, no matter how deep, can stand the power and precision of our high-pressure jetters. So contact us today and let us help you clear your blocked drain.

All homeowners will experience a blocked drain from time to time. If you call out a plumber to help, the chances are they’ll use a camera to locate the blockage and figure out exactly what is causing it. If you’d like to know more about drain cameras, their benefits, and their costs, carry on reading.

Drain camera inspections are a very necessary service to ensure the integrity of your pipes after they have been cleared which is why we offer free drain camera inspections with every high-pressure jetting job.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A FREE DRAIN CAMERA INSPECTION?

Thanks to advancements in technology, cameras are an effective way to determine what’s causing a blocked drain. Whether there is debris stuck in your drain or the blockage is being caused by a broken part, a camera will help identify the cause.

THE BENEFITS OF USING A CAMERA INCLUDE:

  • Speed: Drain cameras are the quickest way to assess the condition of your pipelines and drains. Not only will this get to the bottom of what’s causing your blockage fast, but it can speed up the repair process too.
  • Accuracy: Thanks to the camera, the repair and replacement process is much more accurate. Plumbing professionals will be able to see exactly what the problem is instead of making an assumption and potentially carrying out repair work that causes even more damage.
  • Cost: Attempting to clear a blocked drain yourself requires a lot of guesswork and may only be a temporary fix. With a camera, you get to the bottom of the issue straight away, preventing blockages from reoccurring and costing you more money in repair work down the line.

Factors to consider

There are several factors that influence a drain camera inspection. Some factors that should be taken into consideration include:

Ease of access

If your drain is difficult to access, it’s worth bearing in mind that ground excavation may be necessary to access the pipework. Also, in some instances, a toilet may need to be removed to access the drain.

Size of your drains

If you’ve got a bigger house, chances are your drainage system is larger too which can increase the time it takes to complete the inspection.

REASONS YOU MAY NEED A DRAIN CAMERA INSPECTION:

If you notice any of the following in your drains, we strongly recommend you book a drain camera inspection:

  • Water coming back up
  • Unpleasant odours
  • Water draining away slowly
  • Gurgling sounds
  • Frequent blockages

If you’d like to know more about unblocking your drains and the process of having a drain camera inspection after your drains have been unblocked, don’t hesitate to contact our team at DCM Plumbing and Drainage Pty Ltd by giving us a call on (07) 5576 5305.

It’s around this time of year when we’re entertaining more and often have friends and family drop in for a visit, and the last thing anyone wants is a toilet that won’t flush. Trying to figure out the problem can be frustrating if you don’t know what you’re looking for. There are three common reasons for a toilet not being able to flush, and in most cases you should be able to fix these problems yourself.

Most households will come across problems with toilets flushing at some point or another, but the solutions can be more easily fixed than you first might think.

Here are the top three reasons your toilet won’t flush and how you can try to fix it yourself.

  • blocked toilet
  • The water level is low
  • The flushing valve or button is broken

A BLOCKED TOILET

This is something that can happen regularly if anyone in your household is flushing items that shouldn’t be flushed. The problem can be as simple as too much toilet paper, or flushing sanitary items, baby wipes, or even toys. Yes, when little ones are around, you’d be surprised at what plumbers have found flushed down the toilet causing a blockage.

The solution is to firstly use a toilet plunger to try and create suction that will dislodge paper and any waste that has built up. The suction movement will push and pull the blockage until it dislodges and moves further down the pipe. Once the waste has moved past the first bend of the pipes, it will often flush more easily. If you’re discovering frequent blocks, you might want to try flushing more frequently on full flush and making sure there is a toilet bin where people can throw away sanitary items.

THE WATER LEVEL IS LOW

Take off the top of the cistern and check the water level. The water tank level should be around one inch below the tanks overflow level. If it’s lower, then it could be a sign that there is a leak or that the water valve has been turned off.

The solution is to check the water valve tap, which is the tap next to the toilet base. Check that it hasn’t been accidentally turned off. If this is on and there is pressure, the other reason could be a worn-out valve, causing the water that is refilling the cistern to leak into the bowl. Or it could be a faulty inlet valve. Both of these valves can be easily replaced, and you can buy them at a hardware store.

THE FLUSHING VALVE OR FLUSHING BUTTON IS BROKEN

In most modern toilets, the outlet flushing valve and the flushing button are made from plastics that can become brittle or broken over time. The button which lifts the outlet valve to flush water down the cistern can become detached, stuck or broken from continuous use and may need to be replaced. Depending on the make or model of your flushing valve it can have plastic tabs that lock it into place which may have become broken or the entire valve system may need replacing. Luckily replacing these is not expensive. A flush button can be as little as $10-15, and an entire dual valve outlet kit can be as low as $40-60 depending on the make and model.

When in doubt, call a professional plumber!

While these three situations are the most common reason for a toilet not flushing properly if you’ve tried to solve the problem yourself and still having no luck, give us a call at DCM plumbing. Sometimes even the best intentions of fixing a plumbing job yourself may result in still needing a professional to come out and help get your toilets flushing once again.

DCM Plumbing and Drainage are members of the Master Plumbers Association of Queensland and fully licensed with QBCC (Queensland Building and Construction Commission) to carry out all repairs and replacements for toilets.

For complete peace of mind and fast, courteous service, call DCM Plumbing and Drainage on (07) 5576 5305.

The question of the day: are flushable wipes truly safe to flush? It wasn’t that long ago that the good people of Australia were going crazy over toilet paper along with the rest of the world. The start of Covid-19 saw a time when loo paper was looking rather valuable, while some opted for other wipeable options as shelves emptied.

The problems caused by these, now used, ‘flushable’ products, however, have been going on long before the recent toilet paper panic buys of 2020. Yet, more individuals believe that the labels of such flushable products are correct and are proceeding to flush the actually-non-flushable wipes down the toilet.

First off, even if a product plainly states that it’s ‘flushable’, think twice before endangering your pricey sewage system, as well as, the environment! Secondly, it was back in 2017 that a Water UK report outlined the dangers that flushing wipes bring to sewage systems and the environment. Thirdly, just because the product says ‘flushable’ doesn’t mean it is suitable for every toilet. Every toilet is different, and when applying your common sense, you’ll be able to see that these one-size-fits-all flushable wipes do not fit every toilet type and system and therefore can’t possibly be flushable.

In this blog, we look to prove once again that the only thing that is to be flushed down your toilet is loo paper. Throughout this blog, the professional voice of the plumber is heard in attempts to convince home dwellers never to believe what’s written on a label and rather to save their toilets from problems by sticking to good old fashioned toilet paper. By the end of this blog, you’ll know how safe flushing “flushable” wipes down the drain is for your home sewage system.

CAN I FLUSH THESE WIPES?

According to the Washington Post, the labelling of flushable wipes as “flushable” is not false advertising – you can flush these wipes, but our question is whether you should. Tim Carter (the author), makes an excellent counterpoint regarding this statement. Various objects such as cell phones, golf balls, toys, you name it, are flushed – but, of course, doing this is highly ill-advised.

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE PROBLEM?

The wipes that we are looking into a little more closely are wipes that are labelled as “flushable” and “septic-safe”. When it comes to marketing, we know to take everything in with a pinch of salt. Even though these wipes do break down eventually, they take a longer amount of time to do this compared to toilet paper. Because the breakdown of this product isn’t as immediate, blockages and clogged pipes occur more frequently as a result. By flushing these wipes, you are putting your home’s plumbing at risk for serious clogs. This increases the likelihood of accumulating some hefty plumbing bills.

EVEN IF THE LABEL PROMISES SAFE FLUSHING, IT’S STILL NOT SAFE

As mentioned, it’s a common strategy for the manufacturers of these products to make it seem like these wipes are super easy to dispose of. However, after these wipes are disposed of in this way, they can get caught up with other items that are in your sewer line at the same time. Other commonly-flushed items that contribute to backups and clogs include toilet cleaning pads, sanitary pads, dental floss, cotton swabs, paper towels and thick toilet paper.

Another reason to not flush wet wipes down the toilet is its biodegradability. Many products that are also flushed down the toilet are done so because they are labelled as ‘biodegradable’. Many consumers don’t investigate it that much but what this means is that the wipe will break down into smaller pieces. The product doesn’t entirely decompose. The consequence of this is the release of millions of microfibers into the surrounding ecosystems and the formation of fatbergs (flushed non-biodegradable solid matter that forms a mass in a sewer system).

To sum up all of the above; even if a product plainly states that it’s ‘flushable’, think twice before endangering your pricey sewage system, as well as, the environment!

For more advice, check-ins and plumbing solutions, contact DCM Plumbing & Drainage today. Stay tuned for more tips, answers, preventative measures and solutions from Gold Coast plumbing experts.

Blocked drains are a major inconvenience and something you want to take care of as soon as possible. Letting it go too long can lead to more costly plumbing work and may interfere with your ability to use your drains.

One of the leading causes of blocked drains is putting something down that shouldn’t go down. However, there are other causes of blocked drains and knowing what they are can help you prevent the problem and here at DCM Plumbing and Drainage, we can help.

HAIR
When you shower or bathe, you naturally lose some hairs that go down the drain. Hair tends to collect in the drains and over time can build up to the point that you end up with a blocked drain.

Hair can also bind with other items that have gone down the drain, preventing it from being flushed down properly. Use a guard in your drain to collect the hair and prevent the issue.

FOOD WASTE
Even with a quality garbage disposal unit, some things shouldn’t go down your kitchen drain. Fat and grease tend to coat the pipes, trapping other items that go down, leading to a blockage.

Rice and pasta absorb liquid and get bigger while coffee grounds and eggshells collect other debris and turn into globs that can easily block your drains. It’s best to put all food waste in the rubbish bin instead of the kitchen sink.

SMALL OBJECTS
The leading cause of blockages, as mentioned above, is putting things into your drains that don’t belong there.

This can be because you don’t realise it’s a bad idea or because you have children who are experimenting in the drains. Either way, you can prevent a blockage by not flushing anything down the toilet except human waste and toilet tissue.

In the sink drains, avoid putting large amounts of dirt, pebbles, toys, stickers, and other small items down.

TREE ROOTS
You don’t have a lot of control over this issue, but tree roots are one of the leading causes of blocked drains on the Gold Coast. If you have any kind of leak or crack in your pipes, large or small, it can lead to root build-up that can block the pipes and cause overflow in your drains.

Clearing those roots is a job best left to the professionals and we’re happy to help you get it done right.

If you have a blocked drain, call DCM Plumbing and Drainage for help right away. We can deal with it as an emergency if required.

Need our help?
Get in touch today!

We would love to hear from you and be able to fix your plumbing and drainage problems. Please fill out the form and we will get back to you shortly to book an appointment!

One of our friendly staff will be in touch as soon as possible.

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