Blocked drains in apartment blocks can cause significant property damage, health hazards, and costly repairs if not addressed quickly. In this article, we will discuss the top issues that apartment owners need to consider, and how DJS Plumbing and Gas can help keep your home safe.
What Causes a Blocked Drain?
Drains can become clogged over time due to hair, soap, and other debris such as foreign materials, broken pipes, back falling, and incorrect drainage installation.
A blocked drain can lead to slow water flow or even complete blockage, which can cause water to back up and overflow into your bathroom, kitchen, or even your bedroom.
How Do I Know My Drains Are Blocked?
There are several signs that your drains may be blocked, including:
1. Water Backing Up
If water is backing up in your toilet, sink, shower, or bathtub, it could be a sign that your drains are completely blocked.
2. Slow Draining Water
If you notice that water is draining slowly from your toilet, sink, shower, or bathtub, it could be a sign that your drains are partially blocked.
3. Gurgling Sounds from the Sink or Toilet
An example would be hearing a gurgling sound just after using the sink, or when flushing the toilet. If you hear gurgling sounds coming from your pipes, it could indicate a partial blockage where air is trapped in the pipes. If this issue is not fixed quickly it could lead to a completely blocked drain.
4. Bad Smells From Drains
If there is a foul odour coming from your drains, it could be a sign that food, hair, soap scum or other debris is stuck in your pipes. Also, if a bathroom isn’t used for several weeks your drains could start to smell.
5. Overflowing Toilet
If your toilet water level is up higher than normal, won’t go down, or is overflowing, it could be a sign of a blockage in the toilet or sewer line. This indicates a blockage inside the actual toilet S bend or downstream inside the drainage system is blocked.
6. Dangerous Gas Leaks Through Unsealed Toilet
When water disappears from the toilet bowl after you flush it, this is a sure sign that you have a partially blocked drain. Your toilet has water in the bottom of it to seal dangerous gasses from the sewerage system to enter the building and if the water disappears completely this allows the sewer gasses to escape into your bathroom.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to call DJS Plumbing as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your plumbing system.
Who Is Responsible for Blocked Drains in Apartments?
Blocked drains in Brisbane apartment blocks can cause significant issues with flooding and water leaks that can spread across the floor and down through lower ceilings and service ducts.
The responsibility for blocked drains in apartments will depend on these factors:
- It’s an emergency repair requiring immediate help from a 24 hour plumber
- If you own or rent the property; and the
- Body corporate or building management policy for plumbing repairs within apartments and throughout the common property
If the blockage is caused by a tenant or owner’s actions, such as flushing inappropriate items down the toilet or pouring grease down the drain, then this person may be responsible for the cost of clearing the blockage. There could also be unwanted costs if water and sewerage leak into other apartments.
On the other hand, if the blockage is due to a structural issue or a problem with the building’s plumbing system, then the responsibility may fall on the building owner or the landlord.
It’s important to consult the lease agreement or building management policies to determine the specific responsibilities for maintenance and repairs. If you are unsure about who is responsible, you can contact your building management or a licensed plumber to assess the situation and provide guidance.
What Do Plumbers Use to Clear Blocked Drains?
Clearing a Drain Using a Drain Eel
A common term used is a plumber electric eel or a drain snake. These tools typically have been around in the plumbing industry for decades and are still used today.
High Pressure Jet Drain Cleaning
In more recent times, plumbers use high pressure water pumps to blast away tree roots, grease, fats, foreign objects, and anything that is causing the blocked drain.
High pressure jetters have special stainless steel heads that attach to the end of a high pressure hose. The heads have tiny holes specially located to cut, blast, and spin whilst in the drain for a fast, effective way to clear stubborn blockages.
CCTV Camera Drain Inspection
DJS Plumbing also uses special closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras to take a closer look inside sewer drains.
CCTV plumbing inspections allow plumbers to clearly see why the drain has been blocked. These special cameras provide apartment owners with detailed videos, reports and solutions to fix the blockages.
Most sewer line cameras are fitted with an above ground sonar that allows the plumber to identify where the drain is blocked. This technology provides the plumber and the customer with a pinpoint location and depth of the drain.
This vital information leads to better problem solving, reduces the amount of exploratory digging, and provides more cost effective options to repair the sewer or water blockage.
Thermal Cameras Find Water Leaks and Blocked Drains
One of the most important tools in a plumber’s kit is a thermal camera. Thermal cameras are a vital tool for quickly finding water leaks and for identifying blockages in drains.
Thermal cameras work by detecting changes in temperature. Quality plumbers are trained in thermography and can read thermal imaging scans to detect abnormal hot spots.
When foreign material blocks a drain, it can cause waste material to flow back up a pipe into an apartment. Waste water and sewerage can then leak into cavities between apartment floors and through service ducts.
Blocked drains and damaged pipes can be difficult to find using traditional methods. A thermal camera helps a plumber quickly pinpoint the source of the blockage. These cameras also reduce the need for invasive work inside apartment floors, walls, and ceilings during the investigation and repair phases.
Importance of Plumbing Maintenance
Regular plumbing maintenance is crucial for ensuring that the apartment block’s plumbing system is functioning correctly and could prevent flooding inside your home.
A poorly maintained plumbing system can lead to significant problems like water leaks, burst pipes, and even water damage. Routine plumbing maintenance can help prevent these issues by identifying potential problems before they become serious. For example, check flexible hoses under your sink and basins for rust spots that lead to burst water events inside your home.
Regular plumbing maintenance helps extend the life of your apartment block plumbing system, saving you money in the long run. By catching and fixing minor issues early on, you can avoid costly repairs and replacements down the line.
Quality Body Corporate Management Team
One of the most important ingredients in keeping an apartment complex’s plumbing running smoothly is a body corporate and strata management team who represent the best interests of owners and investors.
A quality strata manager works with residents and has a reliable team to fix issues quickly to ensure common property areas are maintained. Long term maintenance is also important to ensure critical services such as sewer, water, gas, electricity, and internet connections are well maintained and upgraded when needed.
DJS Plumbing and Gas Services is fortunate to work with a range of building managers including Johnson Hung from Harmony Living, Queensland Investment Consulting Group’s building management arm. Johnson manages three residential apartment blocks in Teneriffe and one complex in Auchenflower.
“Reliable plumbers and ongoing building maintenance are critical in large apartment complexes.
“For over ten tears DJS has provided quality support for Harmony Living’s apartment building clients. David Sfettina and his team maintain the plumbing systems, fix system water leaks and blocked drains, and offer 24 hour emergency plumber call outs when needed.
“DJS Plumbing has saved my clients thousands of dollars with quality workmanship that has kept our apartment complexes running smoothly”, Johnson Hung, Building Manager at Harmony Living.
DJS Plumbing – Your Trusted Blocked Drain Specialists
DJS Plumbing and Gas Services are master plumbers. We specialise in blocked drain maintenance, repairs, and new installations for Brisbane apartment blocks.
If you have a blocked drain, call DJS Plumbing.