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.


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.


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 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.

This is an update for our customers regarding Queensland Health’s latest COVID-19 announcement.

The City of Gold Coast has been included in the latest lockdown. This will affect many businesses and individuals in different ways.

We would like to reassure our customers that plumbers, drainers and gas fitters remain on the essential workers list and are able to continue working as usual. We are able to attend to all plumbing emergencies. Our office is available by phone and email to accept your bookings.

Please see this fact sheet provided by the Master Plumbers Association of Queensland for further useful customer information.

Please be assured we take every precaution to keep you and our staff protected at all times by using PPE, practising social distancing as well as good hygiene.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to give us a call on (07) 5576 5305 or drop us an email using our contact form here.

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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