4.9-Stars based on 231 Reviews

24/7 Emergency

Introduction - The Risks of Blocked Drains

A clogged drain can cause a range of issues that escalate into serious problems if left untreated. This article explores the mechanics behind blocked drains and how they often result in leaks and other plumbing emergencies. We’ll cover the causes of drain obstructions, prevention strategies, potential health implications, and steps you can take to mitigate damage.

As a homeowner or your property manager, it’s important to understand these risks. Blocked drainage puts pressure on pipes, leading to cracks and water seepage into walls or floors. Contaminated water also invites mould growth and pests.

We’ll outline solutions from temporary drain clearing to professional drain repairs, emphasising that early intervention is key to protecting your drainage from expansive deterioration.

Continue perusing our comprehensive guide to make sure you garner deep insight into maintaining clear drainage and spotting signs of distress early on. With some diligence, you can take care of your plumbing health to prevent the havoc backed-up drains can wreak.

How Blocked Drains Lead to Water Leaks

Blocked drains can lead to water leaks through several mechanisms.

Debris accumulation in your pipes impedes water flow and can redirect it, potentially causing leaks.

Can your clogged drain also cause water to pool and back up. This stagnant water can easily hasten corrosion, silently advancing into the pipe material.

Corrosion spreading throughout the piping system increasingly jeopardizes its integrity and elevates the risk of leaks.

Catching a blockage quickly is key to preventing the damage a drain can cause leak to occur, including leaks. Be aware of indicators such as gurgling drains, an unpleasant smell emanating from the sewer, and water leaks near drains or toilets upon flushing. Adopting proactive measures can prevent the dangers blocked drains pose, or enlisting a professional plumber can swiftly solve existing issues.

If you suspect a blockage, act right away.

Proactive prevention strategies are essential to maintain your home’s drainage system and prevent blockage-induced leaks. To maintain a clear drainage system, dispose of fats and solids correctly, and install screens to catch debris. Look after the drains to ensure the health your plumbing maintains and its structural stability.

Standing Water and Pipe Corrosion

Obstructed drains can force water to pool and stagnate, creating conditions where leaks could result. Over time, corrosion eats away at the metal piping, which can result in weakening its structural integrity.

Different water pipe materials degrade at varying rates upon exposure to stagnant water. Copper pipes corrode more slowly than steel due to their natural corrosion resistance. However galvanised steel drainage pipes corrode rapidly when stagnant water sits for prolonged periods.

PVC plastic pipes are also quite resistant.

According to industry research, galvanised steel loses around 20 microns per year to uniform pipe wall corrosion under normal conditions. But in areas with stagnant water buildup, corrosion rates can accelerate by 10 times or more. This situation can cause water leaks in 25 years or less with galvanised steel drainage pipes.

The impact of standing water highlights the importance of clearing blockages quickly. Drainage pipes already have a typical lifespan of 50 years. Accelerated corrosion shortens this longevity, requiring earlier replacement.

Increased Water Pressure

A blocked drain causes water to back up before the obstruction, leading to increased pressure upstream. This results in increased water pressure in pipes preceding the obstruction. This elevated pressure, indicated by a decrease in water discharge, places additional stress on vulnerable elements like joints and seals, which may lead to leaks.

Ongoing stress from such pressure can eventually force pipe fittings apart, creating potential for cracks or small leaks. This situation is especially concerning since they might already be weakened by corrosion. The intense pressure speeds up the erosion process, creating pathways for water escape akin to a drain blockage disaster in waiting.

This underlines why we highlight food scraps and oils as typical culprits for clogged drains. As they gradually accumulate, these blockages narrow the drainage opening, which is often what causes low water pressure to rise. Tree roots infiltrating pipes are an issue which can restrict the flow water, eventually leading to blockages that limit drainage space.

It’s crucial to have a professional plumber address blocked drainage issues throughout your home to avoid worsening problems. Clearing away debris promptly restores normal water flow and helps prevent the formation of leaks. Maintaining free flow in the drains your home features is a good move to sidestep the concerns that arise from blockages, forestalling undue strain that curtails your plumbing system’s longevity.

Common Causes of Drain Blockages

There are a few primary causes for drain blockages that can lead to leaks:

  • Grease, oil, and food buildup - Fats, oils, and food scraps washed down the drain accumulate over time. As they coat pipes, they attract further debris and narrow openings.
  • Hair - Strands latch onto passing debris, then adhere to the pipe walls, merging with soaps and oils already coating your shower drain.
  • Tree roots - Roots infiltrate pipe joints seeking moisture. As they proliferate, they obstruct water flow and crack pipes.
  • Silt and grit - Particles like sand and dirt settle out of the water passing through. They gradually restrict flow, causing pressure spikes.

Catching blockages early allows quick clearing before leaks result. Stay vigilant for gurgling sink/tub drains or foul sewage smells. Immediate drain inspections can help pinpoint problems for timely solutions.

These suggest partial obstructions.

Grease and Food Buildup

In your sink, grease, oil, and food particles are some of the most problematic sources of drain blockages. As hot water carries food items down the drain, grease coagulates and sticks to pipe walls. Successive layers trap passing debris, slowly narrowing the drainage pathway.

Typical culprits include meat fats, cooking oil, butter/dairy fats, sauces, and small food scraps.

These clingy substances coat the inside of drain lines. Left unchecked, they can completely clog drains. These clingy substances coat the inside of drain lines.

To help avoid a blocked drain can occur from food and grease, refrain from pouring oils or fats down sinks. Use sink strainers to catch particles, and consider installing a grease trap. Keep your pipes clear by regularly flushing them with hot water, or use enzyme cleaners to actively break down grease.

Consider composting vegetable peels/scraps to end up with beneficial garden material instead.

Detecting minor buildup promptly simplifies drain clearing, but don’t hesitate to call professional help if needed. However, if foul sewage odours or water stagnant in the air come to your notice, it’s time to call a professional. They can hydro jet pipes to dislodge years of accumulated greasy gunk before it causes leaks or overflow damage.

Hair Accumulation

Hair accumulation is another common culprit behind blocked drains. Strands of hair that are washed down the drain can get caught on pipes and merge with existing grease or soap buildup lining the pipes. Over time, large hairballs form that narrow or even fully block drainage pathways.

To help prevent hair clogs in your drain, install drain catchers and regularly remove built-up hair. Use a drain catcher to prevent hair from clogging the shower drain, effectively clear clog-causing strands after bathing or styling.

Monthly drain maintenance with hot water, baking soda, and vinegar helps break down grease and residues.

Professional inspections and clearance of your pipes before significant blockages occur can thwart issues that cause leaks or inflict water damage.

Natural Debris and Tree Roots

Outdoor elements like leaves, plants, and tree roots often find their way into drainage pipes. As they accumulate over time, they can cause major blockages. Leaves and debris settle in pipe bends, while vigorous root structures infiltrate cracks and joints seeking moisture.

These natural interferences are among the most common reasons for the congested drainage your pipes endure. A single tree’s roots can extend astonishing distances, penetrating tiny pipe defects. As roots and debris amass, they restrict water flow, leading to leaks and backed up drainage.

Preventing natural debris blockages involves actions that protect your family, like sealing pipe cracks, installing root shields, and performing seasonal drain cleaning. Catch basins sieve debris like leaves, while drain screens capture root clusters, helping to avoid obstructions without resorting to DIY attempts. Taking proactive measures deters problematic clogs that could otherwise affect your house.

Preventing Blocked Drains and Leaks

There are several key steps you can take to help prevent blocked drains and subsequent leaks:

  • Use drain screens and baskets to intercept hair, food, and debris before they enter the plumbing system.
  • Avoid pouring fats, oils, and grease down the drain. Let them solidify and dispose in the rubbish bin
  • Conduct regular drain maintenance by flushing with boiling water, baking soda, and vinegar to dissolve buildup.
  • Use enzyme drain cleaners monthly to actively digest accumulated grease and soap scum
  • Trim overhanging trees and shrub roots that may infiltrate exterior drainage pipes
  • Seal pipe joints using protective sealants to block root growth and debris entry points
  • Inspect drainage pathways annually and clear any minor blockages before they escalate

Catching small clogs early and performing routine maintenance keeps your drains free-flowing. This avoids excessive strain and water pressure from major obstructions that lead to leaks. Contact a professional plumber at the first sign of trouble for assessments and solutions.

Identifying and Fixing Leaks

There are a few key signs that a blocked drain may be causing a leak in your home:

  • Water spots or damp areas on walls or ceilings
  • Soft, spongy your walls floors around plumbing fixtures
  • A musty "sewage" smell coming from affected areas
  • Gurgling sounds from drains
  • Backed up water around floor drains after using fixtures

If you suspect water leak warning signs, such as damp patches or musty odours, they likely indicate water escaping from pipes into surrounding structural cavities. Act soon possible to minimise potential damage. Turn off the water supply to the affected fixtures and call a licensed plumber if that’s because you suspect a water leak, ensuring that the issue is accurately located and repaired.

Consider what you can do before the plumber arrives, like containing the water with buckets, as attempting to fix major pipe leaks yourself risks further deterioration. However, you can take immediate steps like setting out containers to catch dripping water and removing furnishings or valuables from leak sites.

Professionals possess the expertise and tools required to identify leak origins, eliminate blockages, and permanently close cracks and cavities, mitigating harmful effects blocked drainage. They can also delve into your pipe systems and assess the full extent of erosion and mould risks. This thorough method helps avert the detrimental effects blocked drainage your dwelling might succumb to, meanwhile protecting health.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

If you suspect a blocked drain is damaging your plumbing, it’s imperative to contact a professional plumber immediately. Attempting DIY repairs risks exacerbating issues and structural deterioration.

Our experienced licensed plumbers at Balmain Plumbing are informed about common issues, capable of locating leaks, clearing drain obstructions, and conducting comprehensive repairs. We offer comprehensive plumbing services in the Balmain area and wider Sydney, available 24/7 for emergencies.

Signs requiring urgent plumber intervention include:

  • Water dripping from ceilings
  • Wall/floor dampness
  • Backed up drains
  • Sewage odours

We have all necessary equipment to find leak locations, hydro jet blockages, replace damaged pipe sections, prevent mould outbreaks, and permanently solve issues. Our solutions protect your health while preventing expensive repairs down the line.

For emergency assistance or appointments call Balmain Plumbing on 1300 349 338 or email jobs@balmainplumbingservices.com.au

Risks to Health and Home

Blocked drains can create serious health and home risks if leaks result. Contaminated water from pipe damage encourages toxic mould proliferation within your walls and ceilings. Spores enter airways, potentially exacerbating health issues like asthma.

Raw sewage also harbours harmful microorganisms, meaning bacteria can thrive and lead to infections and illnesses upon contact.

Unchecked leakage and the resultant damage can undermine building integrity over time, necessitating extensive repairs.

It even heightens collapse dangers with expanding decay and erosion undermining load-bearing elements.

Another concern is infestations.

The stagnant water and mould that clogged drains can cause attract pests like termites and cockroaches. These creatures can rapidly proliferate once they make their way into your home, damaging insulation, woodwork, and wiring. Rodents are likewise drawn to moist areas, creating further nuisance and hygiene issues.


As outlined, blocked drains can lead to leaks and water damage through increased water pressure and pipe corrosion. Understanding the appropriate actions for a blockage ensures swift clearing to prevent escalating problems. Stay vigilant for gurgling sinks or foul odours which indicate drainage issues.

Implement preventative strategies like installing screens, avoiding grease/oil disposal down drains, and performing routine maintenance. Seek professional assistance immediately at any signs of blockage or leakage to mitigate health risks and structural deterioration.

Timely intervention provides holistic solutions to safeguard your home’s drainage flow, fix damaged pipes, and prevent future issues. Prioritising plumbing health preserves property integrity over the long term.

News & Information

Break Common Myths Unblocking Drains
Break Away From Common Myths About Unblocking Drains

Many myths exist around clearing blocked drains. Store-bought chemicals may seem convenient but often damage pipes, while DIY methods like boiling water rarely solve the underlying issue. Get the facts on what causes blockages, why they persist and the professional methods to effectively unblock drains.

Blocked Drain Leaks?
Can A Blocked Drain Cause Leaks?

Blocked and clogged drains are a common problem that can lead to leaks, flooding and water damage if left unchecked. When pipes back up behind the blockage, water can leak through seals and caulking. Get your drains cleared to prevent leaks, protect your home and improve drainage flow.

’ involved gas line repair?
What’s involved in a gas line repair?

A gas line repair involves a licenced gas fitter locating and sealing any leaks, replacing damaged sections of pipe and reconnecting your gas supply to get appliances working again. Call our emergency plumbers 24/7 for gas leak repairs.

Do you need a Balmain plumber?



Balmain, 2041 NSW

Contact Our Plumbers

We will call back as soon as possible.

Call Now!