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How Do I Know If My Sewer Pipe Is Blocked 

We’ve all been there, you’re washing the dishes, and the water just doesn’t seem to be draining as quickly as it should. Or perhaps you’ve started to notice an unpleasant smell from your drains.
Don’t ignore these signs, as they could be hinting at a blocked sewer pipe. And trust us; you’d rather spot these red flags sooner rather than later.

The good news is we’re here to give you the lowdown on what to look out for. In this article, we’re going to guide you through the telltale signs of a blocked sewer pipe.
We’ll cover everything from slow drainage to unusual noises and, yes, even those foul odours. You’ll learn how to spot these issues quickly and take action before they cause more damage.

blocked sink

Signs of a Blocked Sewer Pipe

You might notice your drains are taking a little longer to empty, or you might get a whiff of a bad smell coming from your sinks. These are some of the common signs that something is off with your plumbing.

You could even be finding it hard to flush the toilet, with the water level in your toilet bowl not going down as it should. If you ignore these signs, you might end up with a bigger issue like extensive damage to your sewer pipe.

You might also notice that your backyard has become a bit of a swamp, with wastewater surfacing on your property. It’s definitely not the kind of issue you want in your backyard.

It’s crucial to pay attention to these early warnings.
More often than not, these sewer blockages are caused by tree roots, cooking grease, paper towels, or non-flushable sanitary items caught up in your sewer pipe.

Remember, the sooner you catch these issues, the easier and less costly they’ll be to fix. So, keep an eye out, folks, because prevention is always better than a cure when it comes to blocked sewer pipes.
Remember, the sooner you catch these issues, the easier and less costly they’ll be to fix.

Frequent and Persistent Blockages:

One of the first signs that your pipes may need relining is the occurrence of frequent and persistent blockages. If you find yourself dealing with recurring clogs despite attempts to clear them with traditional methods like plungers or drain cleaners, it could be an indication of underlying pipe damage.
Older pipes are particularly susceptible to cracks and fractures that can result in blockages due to the accumulation of debris. If the cracks are minor, an older pipe can be saved with pipe relining. The pipe will be cleared out and the damaged area fixed to stop the repeated clogs happening.

Slow Draining:

Does water take a long time to disappear down the drain? If your sink, shower, or bathtub is exhibiting sluggish drainage, it could be a red flag indicating pipe damage.
Normal drainage is swift, and the water level in your sinks or showers should go down almost immediately. But if you’re experiencing slow drainage, it might mean that your sewer pipe is has the starting of a clog.
Cracks or fractures in the pipes can obstruct the smooth flow of water, causing it to back up and drain slowly.

Gurgling Sounds:

These noises often occur when there’s a blockage or damage in the pipes, causing air to get trapped and create those peculiar sounds. It’s a sign that something is amiss in the plumbing realm.
Toilet Bubbling is also a sign of a potential toilet blockage.

Bathroom Drains3

Foul Odours from Drains

If you notice a persistently foul smell wafting from your drains, it’s a strong sign that your sewer pipe might be blocked.
The smells are a result of blockages that prevent wastewater from properly flowing away, causing it to sit and stagnate.
In some cases, you might notice these smells even before you see issues with your drains. So don’t just brush it off as a one-off event.

So if you’re picking up foul odours from your drains, it’s time to consult a licensed plumber. After all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, right?

DIY Drain Cleaning Techniques

When faced with a clogged drain, it’s natural to want to take matters into your own hands. After all, who wants to deal with the inconvenience and expense of calling in a plumber is you can sort the problem out yourself?
Luckily, there are a few do-it-yourself drain cleaning techniques that you can try before calling in a plumber and these can be effective methods that you can use to tackle a small blockage

Boiling Water

Pouring boiling water down your drains is a great way to maintain a drain that can have grease or soap scum build up.
To try this method, Boil kettle of water. Carefully pour the boiling water down the drain in a slow and steady stream. Repeat this process a few times, allowing the hot water to work its magic between each pour. This method may not be work for all clogs. If it does not resolve the clog you will need to try another method. Also note that too much boiling water poured down PVC pipes can soften the pipes. You can do this as a monthly maintenance and it is great for kitchen sinks where fat and oil can easily build up.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Another popular and effective DIY drain cleaning technique involves the use of baking soda and vinegar. These two household staples, when combined, create a powerful foaming reaction that can help break down stubborn blockages. To begin, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain. Next, follow it up with a cup of vinegar. The mixture will fizz and bubble, which is a good sign that it’s working. Allow the mixture to sit for about 30 minutes, then flush the drain with hot water.
This method is particularly useful for clearing minor clogs and or neutralizing bad smells


Every home should have a plunger.
They are inexpensive to buy and work well for small blockages. You can use them in the toilet, sinks and the shower. You may want to purchase a couple so you have a separate toilet plunger and a separate sink plunger.
If the plunger does not clear it OR you are having to use the plunger often to get the drain moving, you will need to call a plumber.

Multiple Drains Draining Slowly

Having multiple fixtures draining slowly is a strong indicator that there’s a blockage in your main sewer pipe. DIY methods are going to work.
It’s more complex than unclogging a kitchen sink with a plunger. You will need to call in a emergency plumber to investigate further.
They’ve got the right tools, like cctv cameras to pinpoint where the blockage is, what is causing it and how to fix it.

You don’t want to wait to see if this will resolve it’s self. It will only get worse and you will end up You don’t want to end up with a fully blocked pipe or a backyard full of raw sewage, or worse, harmful bacteria making its way into your home. That’s a mess no one wants to deal with, not to mention the health risks.

So, if you notice that your sink drain, shower drains, or other fixtures are consistently not draining as quickly as they should, don’t ignore them. It’s time to get your sewer pipe checked out by a professional

It’s important to act on these signs quickly to prevent more serious damage to your sewer pipe.

Steps to Resolve a Blocked Sewer Pipe

You will need to get in touch with a drainage plumber. Believe it or not , not all plumbers unblock drains. It requires specialised equipment so you will have to find one who fixes blocked drains.
Once you’ve got your qualified plumber on the scene, they’ll likely use a range of tools and techniques to identify and resolve the blockage. This will could include CCTV cameras to pinpoint the problem and then high-pressure water jetting.
In some cases pipe relining will also be needed if there is a break in the pipe that is contributing to the blockage.

drain cleaning

Some FAQs 

What are the common causes of sewer pipe blockages?

Sewer pipe blockages in your Australian home can often be caused by cooking grease, hair, wet wipes, baby wipes, soap scum, and tree roots. Even toys or nappies accidentally flushed down the loo can cause a real mess.

What can be done to prevent such blockages in the future?

Did you know about 75% of Australians don’t maintain their sewer systems regularly? To avoid nasty blockages, ensure regular pipe inspections and cleaning. It’s a simple task but could save you a heap of trouble.

How frequently should sewer pipes be checked or cleaned to prevent blockages?

You should check your sewer pipes every 18-22 months. Regular cleanings can help prevent nasty drain blockages. Consider getting a professional plumber to do the job for peace of mind.

Get to know the exact blockage location and have your plumbing issues fixed at reasonable costs! Call Plumbmaster Plumbers today for all your blocked drains and sewer issues.
We work through western Sydney and The Hills District.

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