Unblocking the Flow: Solving the Mystery of the Blocked Sewer Pipe

Signs of a Brisbane blocked sewer pipe typically arise out of nowhere. You might notice slow drainage, gurgling sounds from drains or toilets, foul smells, or worse still, water pooling around the sewer point. Not only can a blocked sewer cause wastewater to back up into your home posing health hazards and property damage risks, it can also result in expensive repairs if left too late.

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Clogged Drains? Disaster Could Be Just Down the Pipeline!

If you have a blocked drain or sewer it is a high priority. A damaged, broken or blocked sewerage system is a health and safety issue for your family, neighbours and the environment and needs to be attended to immediately. That is why at Salmon Plumbing we provide a prompt response and an effective solution for clogged drains.

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Put the store-bought drain cleaner down and back away slowly.

Listen, we know that a clogged drain isn’t fun or friendly. If you’ve got blocked drains, leaving them can turn to disaster.

Whether it’s a monster hairball, uneaten veggies, a failed bread-making project, coffee grounds or something else entirely, we know you just want to get rid of it ASAP.

But the truth is, those fast-acting, grease-battling, life-changing drain cleaners are actually doing more damage to your home or business’ plumbing system than good – and here’s how.

Continue reading “Put the store-bought drain cleaner down and back away slowly.”

Introducing the latest and greatest service from Salmon Plumbing… Pipe Relining!

The team at Salmon Plumbing are adding a new service to their bank of offerings – Pipe relining!

Pipe relining isn’t exactly new on the plumbing scene, but it has been gaining a lot of popularity recently. Mostly due to its ability to help homeowners improve the overall health and life of their plumbing systems.

So, how exactly does pipe relining work? And what are its advantages over other popular plumbing techniques? Well, we’re going to tell you!

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3 ways to clean clogged hair and other gunk from your shower drain

At Salmon Plumbing, we’re familiar with the stress of a clogged drain during a nice, hot shower.  

We also know the frustration that can follow when wrestling with the mass of hair, soap scum and other gunk that’s blocking your water flow just isn’t working!

This is a pretty common problem, so we’ve decided to put together three proFISHional tips from the team at Salmon Plumbing to help you clear blocked drains and avoid any upset.

Alternate baking soda, vinegar and plunging

It’s often a surprise when our customers haven’t heard of this one – it’s in every mother’s homecare cookbook! Please note that baking soda may be helpful to unblock a shower drain but can cause build up – so, as always, if it doesn’t work the first time, call in your favourite Brisbane plumbers!

For this, you’ll need one cup of baking soda, one cup of vinegar, plenty of boiling water and a cup plunger.

Then you simply follow these steps:

  • Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain.
  • After that, pour a cup of vinegar down the drain (this should create a chemical reaction that will cause fizzing in your drain).
  • Once the fizzing has died down, wait five minutes and boil some water.
  • Next, pour the boiling water slowly down the drain.
  • Finally, run some water down the drain and start plunging.

The baking soda and vinegar will break up any hair and gunk, and the boiling water helps to pass this waste through the drain, removing the blockage.  The plunging ensures that the blockage is completely dislodged and out of your system. If the shower drain keeps getting blocked, then step back and call the plumber, there’s a bigger problem down there!

Remove the drain stopper and use pliers to extract the hair and gunk

This is certainly the hands-on approach most want to avoid, unfortunately, sometimes it’s necessary if your shower drain is very clogged. There’s nothing worse than dealing with a chunk of hair and soap scum, we feel you. But if you’re facing a “no showers” situation, get out the gloves!

For this, you’ll need a screwdriver, rubber gloves, a torch and needle-nose pliers.

Then, you simply follow these steps:

  • Remove the shower grate from your drain, this is where you may need your screwdriver.
  • Once you’ve got a clear opening to the drain below, shine your torch in it.
  • You should see the hairy culprit sitting in the drain.
  • Put the gloves on and use the needle-nose pliers to pull out the mass in your drain.
  • After removing the gunk, run some hot water down the drain.
  • Finally, reinstall the grate and ensure everything’s working properly.

Drain Cleaners – The Last Gasp

We know that a lot of people don’t like the supermarket drain cleaner option because of the chemicals that are often found in drain cleaners. We don’t really like them either as a lot of them can hurt our fishy brothers and sisters in the ocean!

Luckily, we’ve found a plumbing pipe cleaning product that contains no harsh chemicals. It’s called the CLR Power Plumber.

It essentially works the same way as a plunger, except without the mess!

To use it, run the water in your shower and allow some water to pool. Then, submerge the cap of the CLR Power Plumber can and place it over the drain opening. Then, press firmly down. This should expand the gas in the can and push the blockage down and out. Then Hey Presto – No more clogged shower drain!

Red flags your DIY shower drain cleaning isn’t working!

The problem with cleaning a shower drain pipe yourself is that a hair-clogged drain could be a bigger problem than first meets the eye. Hair tends to grab passing particles and can form large blockages in a relatively short time. If you try to clear your shower drain but the problem keeps coming back, you could be forcing hairballs deeper and deeper into your shower drainage pipe. If you clear the blockage you can see, get all the hair out of the drain and then it blocks again, do not keep attempting to unblock it yourself.

Get on the phone and call your local plumber to sort it out for you.

The team at Salmon Plumbing are available at our North Brisbane site around the clock to support the Brisbane region with their plumbing problems and enquiries.

If you need help, simply dial 07 3862 2600 at any hour of the day and our team will pick up the phone and organise the assistance you need.

For more at-home plumbing tips, or to learn about Australia’s plumbing history, click here to read the Salmon Plumbing blog.

What Causes a Leaking Roof?

A leaking roof often becomes noticeable when the ceiling has a notable watermark in the plasterboard. Or the cornice is warped due to the moisture.

Heavy rain, hail, storms and wet weather events like cyclones can put your roof to the test.

It can be difficult to identify where the leak is coming from and often requires a bit of investigation work by an experienced roof plumber.

There are a number of causes for a leaking roof. But here are some common ones and solutions for each.

Common causes for a leaking roof:

Blocked gutters

Gutters full of leaf matter and debris can not only block your downpipes, it can force the water to overflow back into the roof through the eaves. This type of water damage can be avoided through regular maintenance, and ensuring adequate storm water drainage is in place to remove rainwater away from the roof.

Blocked down pipes or storm water pipes

If the gutters are clear, but the down pipes or storm water pipes are blocked, the water will backflow through the gutters and overflow into the roof space. Always ensure down pipes and storm water pipes are free flowing. You can use a garden hose to test them to see if water comes back up through to the gutters.

Broken or missing tiles

Often hail or a falling tree branch can break roof tiles. Gail force winds can whip old tiles, which can allow water through the roof. If you have a tiled roof and suspect a leak, you will need a specialised roof plumber who has experience with tiled roofs.

Rusted ridge capping

Ridge capping is where the roof edges meet at an angle. If the ridge capping is rusted out, it will let water into your roof cavity. There is no quick fix for this as it will need to be replaced.

Rusted or blocked gulley

Roof valleys are the ‘V’ shaped metal channels that running through the folds of the roof. Valleys will catch leaf debris and much like gutters, if this debris is not removed, rainwater will find its way into your ceiling.

Rusted roof

This is a given that a rusted roof will allow water through rusty holes. The only solution is to get the roof replaced.

Faulty flashings

Flashings will be used around the edges of the roof or around penetrations like vents and skylights. If the flashing hasn’t been well made or moulded around the penetration, water will find its way into your roof.

Incorrectly installed roof sheets or roof flashings

Incorrectly installed roof sheets and roof flashings can result in roof leaks. Although you may not be aware of a leak until a big storm, persistent rain or strong winds and rain from a certain direction allow water into the roof, causing water damage to the ceiling.  In this case, replacement of the roof and flashings will be needed and silicone is only a temporary fix.

Salmon Plumbing has experience with metal roofs, including Colourbond. If you have leaking metal roof which needs inspecting and replacing, give the team a call on 3862 2600.

What Kids Need To Know About Plumbing to Prevent an Unexpected Call Out

Kids are curious creatures. The simplest of activities like throwing a rock or filling a bucket with sand is a natural part of their play and necessary for their growth and development.

They love to explore and experiment, test boundaries and push all the buttons, eager to see what happens next.

So it’s vitally important we teach our kids about plumbing. There are buttons and pipes and grates and spouts around the home (and even in the extended community like parks) that need to be used with care. Your child may be curious to play with these or use them as part of their play. But it often ends in disaster resulting in an unexpected call out to a plumber, which wasn’t part of the family’s budget for the week.

Here are some things kids need to know about plumbing to prevent an unexpected call out. Most plumbing issues caused by kids can be preventable. These tips as are also important in keeping your child safe.

Teach kids about grates and open pipes outside

The external area around your home will have storm water grates, rain water tanks, downpipes, hose taps and overflow relief gullies.

Down pipes and rainwater tanks are not playground equipment to be climbed on. Any weight on downpipes can disconnect them from gutters.

Grated drains outside like storm water pits or over flow relief gullies (ORG) should not have their grates removed and filled with rocks or garden debris.

Overflow relief gullies are a sewer trap which ensures any blockages on the main sewer line, don’t back up into your house. It’s important these stay clear so they can do as their name suggests, overflow. Any blockages in an ORG, can cause a backup of waste water to the fixtures in your home, like the sink and basins.

Salmon Plumbing has tools to retrieve rocks or foreign matter thrown down the ORG. Sometimes, the rocks can flush down the line requiring high-pressure drain cleaning equipment to blast the blockage away. Teach kids not to lift grates and throw anything down an open pipe. It will cause a blockage and you will need to call a plumber to remove it.

In the local community, there are often creeks or waterways with open storm water pipes.  It’s important to teach kids not to swim or wade in these waters – especially in summer during heavy rainfall. Water can travel fast down these pipes, sucking any solid matter or objects with it. Teach kids to keep away from flooded drains at all times to prevent a fatal accident.

Teach kids what should and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet

Only the three P’s should be flushed down the toilet. Poo, pee and toilet paper. No toys, no wipes, no playdough, kinetic sand or slime. And only a few pieces of toilet paper at a time – not the whole roll!

Sometimes the toilet can be seen as an automatic rubbish bin, flushing away whatever you don’t want. But our sewer system network is not designed for these items. Any plastics or broken toys should be recycled, donated or put in the bin, not flushed down the toilet.

Teach kids to turn the tap off after every use

Overflowing taps can happen. Even adults can be notorious for multitasking and forgetting to turn a tap off, resulting in an unexpected flood. Teach kids to focus on the job at hand and turn the tap off after use. This can ensure no drips, which can be a drain on your water bill.

Tap spouts aren’t monkey bars

A tap spout is not a monkey bar. It’s self-explanatory, but anything that juts out from the wall can often be viewed as something to climb on or swing from to a child.

Keep fingers away from a draining bath

It’s not common, but it does happen when little fingers get caught down the bath drain. To prevent kids getting their fingers stuck, take them out of the bath BEFORE you pull the plug. Also, place little kids away from the plug end of the bath, to prevent the plug being pulled during wash time.

We love kids, and they truly make the world a better place, but their curiosity can cause unexpected plumbing problems.

If your child has been a bit over-eager with the plumbing in your home, and you need some items retrieved or fixed, give Salmon Plumbing a call.

Top Home Tips for Unblocking Drains

Woman Using Plunger In Sink - unblocking drains brisbane
Woman Using Plunger In Sink

One of the most common – and most unpleasant – home repairs everyone will endure at one time or another is a clogged drain. When left unattended, a clogged drain can cause nasty odours and even flood your home. The good news is that in many instances you can unblock the drain yourself and at little to no expense. One of the first and easiest solutions is to use hot water.

1. The Boiling Water Method

One of the simplest methods of unblocking drains, this method works best for light or small blocks, and it should only be used on metal pipes (if you have PVC pipes, the hot water may melt or soften the joints in your pipes, resulting in unwanted leaks).

The best way to do this is to take a kettle of boiling water and pour it down the sink. Give it a moment or two and then run water from the tap to see if the clog has been removed.

2. The Vinegar and Bicarb Soda Method

The next easiest method of unblocking drains is using something to dissolve the clog. Before buying a commercial drain cleaning product, try making your own with vinegar and bicarb soda.

Take half a cup of bicarb soda and dump it directly into the drain and as far down as you can. Then add half a cup of vinegar to the mix. This will result in a fizzing effect which will help eradicate any grease that may be blocking your drain.

3. The Plunging Method

For this solution, you’ll need a cup plunger and, depending on where the clog is, some duct tape.

If the clog is in the sink or bathtub, take a strip of duct tape and stick it over top of the overflow drain (this prevents the air or water from escaping and sends it instead towards the unwanted clog). Fill the sink with a bit of water and then use the cup plunger to apply steady pulses until you think the clog is removed or when you feel the pressure changing inside of the pipe.

When To Call a Plumber

There is a wide selection of chemical products on the market which are supposed to help unblock drains. But they may be unfriendly to the environment, and can be hazardous to use. They can even make your clogged drain issue even worse.

If none of the above methods helps you remove the clog, it’s a good idea to call the Salmon Plumbing team in Brisbane. Our team of fully qualified and insured plumbers have the equipment necessary to assess the issue and to take care of the clog for you as quickly as possible.

Contact us online or give us a call at (07) 3862 2600.

The Most Common Causes of Blocked Drains and Pipes

As a homeowner or tenant, there are few sights more terrifying than a sink or toilet beginning to back up as the water level inside it rises. But while water rising and overflowing into the room is the common result, the causes of the problem are more varied. Let’s look at some common causes of blocked drains and pipes, and some of the warning signs to look out for.

Warning Signs

By knowing the early warning signs that a drain or waste pipe is on its way to becoming blocked, you should be able to get on top of the problem early and call a plumber before it gets worse. As always, a little prevention is better than a lot of cure!

A sink that drains a lot slower than usual is usually a sign that something might be amiss further down the line. Similarly, gurgling noises that weren’t there before, or knocks and thuds after a lot of water is drained after washing dishes or when the dishwasher or washing machine is draining, are also early warnings to listen out for. An abnormally draining toilet where the water rises first (where it didn’t do this before) or any “washing back” of flushed material is also a warning sign.

Causes of Blocked Drains and Pipes

The two most common causes of blocked drains in Brisbane are tree roots and collapsed drains.
In many of the older areas of Brisbane a lot of the drain lines are old earthenware, or clay pipes. Some of these pipes can be up to 80 years old.

Foreign objects flushed down the toilet can also be the cause of blockages. While toilet paper is obviously dissolvable and fine to go down toilets, there is a far wider range of things being flushed than that.
The most common foreign object to cause blockages is the wet wipes, that are growing in popularity as an alternative or as a supplement to toilet paper in residential and office bathrooms.

blocked drains

Because of their high durability and materials used in them, wet wipes do not dissolve or disintegrate over time, even when wet. That means that when flushed, they clump together at bends and joints in the drain and slowly build up into a dam-like blockage. Other things like sanitary items can also cause problems if they are used and flushed in conjunction with wet-wipes.

In Queensland, an estimated 120 tonnes of wet wipes and debris are removed from sewage systems each year. In Sydney, local councils have been forced to spend over $8 million fixing blockages of this nature.

In the kitchen, food scraps and other solids mixed with grease and oil (which solidify at lower temperatures or when mixed with other substances) are a main culprits of blockages. Kitchen pipes are often much smaller in diameter than other pipes, which means that much smaller amounts of material are needed to cause problems.

Preventing Rather than Fixing A Blockage

If you have seen a slow draining sink or toilet, or have been hearing noises in the pipes, like gurgling or knocking, then you would be well served by calling a plumber to check things out and take a look before a minor cost becomes a major bill. Our friendly, experienced team of professionals at Salmon Plumbing in Brisbane are on hand to inspect your pipes to ensure that they have a clean bill of health!