Blocked drain in Perth Australia. Kitchen sink that needs its drain unblocked

Home Drainage Problems: Symptoms, Causes and Solutions

We've found that blocked drains are one of the most common plumbing issues found in Perth households. If not treated properly, blocked drains can very easily escalate into a costly and damaging property-wide issue.

At Tunnel Vision, we believe that prevention is always better than a cure - and as a business that specialises in unblocking clogged drains, we want to help. Let’s take a look through the symptoms that signify a blocked drain, some potential causes of the drainage problem, and the possible solutions available to you.

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How Can I Tell If I Have a Home Drain Blockage?

There are a variety of different reasons as to why you are experiencing a blocked drain within your home. Due to this, it can be difficult to determine what exactly is causing the issue or where it is located within your home drainage system without consulting a specialist drainage plumber.

However, there are a few simple steps that you can take to help you identify whether there are drainage issues on your property. 

Simply surveying your home and garden area is the best way to first identify whether you have an issue with your main drain line. The best time to inspect is post-rain, although some problems may be sporadic or vary with the amount of rainfall.

When surveying your home, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are there any damp spots?

  • Are any bad smells emitting from your drains or stormwater system?

  • Are there signs of soil erosion throughout the property or near any tree roots?

  • Does the home’s foundation have any cracks?

  • Are puddles forming on the ground where it’s supposed to be soaked in?

  • Is all the stormwater flowing in the correct manner?
  • Is there any excess water runoff? If so, where is it flowing?

  • Is any water runoff flowing from neighbouring properties onto yours?

  • Is the gutter system in a good condition with water able to flow correctly?

  • Is the water from your downspout being taken away from your property?

  • Are any shower drains, sinks or other basins in the home having trouble draining?

  • Is your septic tank full or nearly full?

Some of these drain problems can not only be harmful to your property, but also to you and others. If your garden has a lot of bare soil - particularly clay-based soils that do not absorb moisture easily - and little vegetation, this can create excess surface water. 

Stagnant and dirty water is the perfect breeding ground for germs and harmful bacteria which puts anyone who comes in contact with it at risk of becoming sick. This means that being outside on your lawn or in your backyard becomes a risk.

Why is My Home Drainage System Blocked?

One of the easiest ways to prevent drainage problems is to monitor what you’re sending down your pipes. If you’ve been flushing the wrong things down, you’ve set yourself up for a messy and unpleasant time. Here are a few of the most common causes of blocked drains, and how to avoid them occurring in your home’s sewer system.

Bad Installation

Setting up something poorly initially can cause headaches later on. Incorrect water flow, blocked sinks and fractured pipes are often the result of poor plumbing installation and a poor drainage plan. Errors made while installing your system can lead to costly drain blockages. In the long run, it’s always best to get licensed plumbers to install your pipes.

Broken Pipes

Pipes can break because of general wear and tear or from tree roots seeking moisture. Fractured pipes become more susceptible to blockages, while any full breaks will need to undergo a full pipe replacement.

Tree Roots & Garden Debris

Tree roots are one of the most common causes of drainage problems in Australia. In an attempt to reach a water source, the roots will often work their way into pipes and cause blockages. If you have drain vents outside, be sure to remove leaves and other garden debris as it can cause issues if too much gets into the pipes. If applicable, use drain guards.

Foreign Objects

Anything that shouldn’t be down a pipe in the first place is bound to cause a blockage. Introduce a few rules about what goes down the toilet and enforce them – they’re not general disposal units. Especially be on your toes if children are concerned, you never know what they might try to flush!

Flushing objects down toilets or drains that don’t belong there will eventually lead to a blockage. Nappies, baby wipes, bars of soap and toys all find their way down drains for a variety of reasons. Disposing of items in the bin and keeping an eye on small children can save your drains from foreign objects.

Food and Grease

Scraps of food and grease from the kitchen sink are common culprits for drain blockages. The grease waste created from the decomposing food will build up on the internal walls of the pipes until no water can get through. This built-up layer is surprisingly difficult to remove and will eventually block the pipe completely.

Always be sure to scrape pots and plates clean before you wash them up and remove any grease with a paper towel. This is one of the most common causes of drainage problems, but is also one of the easiest to prevent.


Hair getting washed down the drain will happen. However, if enough begins to build up in the pipes, it can result in some serious pipe blockage damage.

While sometimes simple to remove, it can contribute to other materials becoming clogged in the drain pipe and creating a worse blockage. If possible, it’s always better to remove any hair from the drain before it travels further down the pipes.

How Do I Clean My Drain?

Once you have identified a blocked drain, it’s important to act as soon as possible before the issue escalates. If you don’t act fast enough, water will seep from your blocked drain to down below your property, resulting in a build-up of pressure.

This heightened pressure could lead to severe foundational cracks in your property or a burst water pipe, which would absolutely require major plumbing work to fix.

When it comes to major problems with plumbing, hiring a professional plumbing service is your best bet. However, if it is only a minor blockage, you may be able to clear it yourself. The main steps you can follow to unblock a drain are:

  1. Remove the drain’s inspection cover. If the drain is rusted shut, a screwdriver may be required to scrape away any rust before you can proceed.

  2. Take a rod that has a plunger-type attachment and work the blockage free.

  3. After the blockage has been dislodged, flush the drain completely with water in order to wash away any remaining debris.

These issues often require assistance from a professional plumber to install foundation drains to ensure that the water is channelled away from your property and towards the street.

What Do I Do When I Need Drainage Assistance?

If you’re struggling to unblock your drain, contact Tunnel Vision - a blocked drain specialist like no other in Western Australia! We have been helping Perth homeowners fix drainage problems quickly and affordably for almost 20 years. 

Tunnel Vision uses drain cameras, so we can identify what the drainage problem is immediately, and deal with it appropriately. If it’s hair, grease, or something foreign, we can blast it out with our hydro-jetting technology.

If your drain is blocked from a tree root invasion, we will sterilise the roots (without hurting the tree) and then use our state-of-the-art Nuflow pipe relining to repair any pipe cracks. The best part is that we can do all this for you without digging up a thing!

We are licensed and experienced plumbers employing the latest plumbing technology – contact us or call 1800 631 799 to arrange a quote!

However, there are a few simple steps that you can take to help you identify whether there are drainage issues on your property.

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Do You Suspect You Have a Home Drainage Problem? Contact Tunnel Vision Today!

Call us on 1800 631 799 or book online