drainage problems kitchen sink

How to Identify, Prevent & Fix Drainage Problems in Your Home

Drainage problems are sleeping time-bombs. One inconspicuous blocked drain can quickly escalate into a costly and damaging property-wide issue. With plumbing, prevention is always better than a cure. Recognising the signs of poor drainage and potential ‘red flags’ will help you catch the problem early on and prevent minor issues developing into major expenses.

Common Causes of Drainage Problems:

In order to identify drainage problems around your home, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are there any odours or damp spots?
  • Are there any signs of soil erosion?
  • Are there cracks in the house foundations?
  • Does rainwater struggle to soak into the ground, forming puddles?
  • Is there any water run off and, if so, where is it heading?
  • Is water run off coming from other homes into your property?
  • Are the gutters free of debris, in good condition, and allowing water to escape?
  • Is the water from your downspout being taken away from your property?
  • Is your bathroom shower, bath, basin, kitchen sink, or laundry trough struggling to drain?

How to Identify External Drainage Problems:

Some drainage problems can be a bit more difficult to determine and fix. Simply surveying your home and garden area is the best way to identify issues. The best time to inspect is post-rain, although some problems may be sporadic or vary with the amount of rainfall.

You may notice that your house’s landscape features are actually preventing water from draining away from your property. For instance, 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. This 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.

Paved areas of the yard may also be creating run off water that comes towards your house rather than away from it. These issues often require assistance from a professional plumber such as Tunnel Vision to install foundation drains to ensure that the water is channelled away from your property and towards the street.

Common Causes of Drainage Problems:

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 cause of blocked drains, and how to avoid them occurring in your home.

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!


  • Never wash greasy or fatty liquids down your kitchen sink. If you do, the grease will build-up on the internal walls of the pipes until no water can get through. 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, and definitely one of the easiest to prevent.


  • Hair getting washed down the drain will happen. However, do try to collect and remove hair from shower drains or baths when you can. If enough begins to build-up in the pipes, it can result in some serious pipe blockage damage.

How to Unblock a Blocked 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 will lead to severe foundational cracks in your property, requiring major plumbing work to fix.

In order to prevent serious damage occurring to your home, try to unblock your drain.
Below are the three main steps to unblock a drain:

  1. Carefully lift the drain’s inspection cover. If the drain is rusted shut, a screwdriver may be required to scape 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.

If you’re struggling to unblock your drain, contact a blocked drain specialist like Tunnel Vision!

What to Do If You Can’t Identify the Drainage Problem:

If you have identified a potential drainage problem in your home are not sure of the best way to fix it, an experienced plumber should be able to assist.

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 technology pipe liner to repair any pipe cracks. The best part is that we can do all this for you without digging up a thing!

Tunnel Vision has been helping Perth homeowners fix drainage problems quickly and affordably for almost 20 years. We are licensed and experienced plumbers employing the latest plumbing technology – contact us or call 1800 631 799 to arrange a quote!

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