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May 29, 2024
drainage problems at home

On frequent occasions, homes across Melbourne call on plumbing experts to deal with a wide range of drain problems. Some of these problems occur more often than others. In this article, we will present some of the more common drain problems in homes and suggest solutions to them.

Common Water Leaks

From bathroom and kitchen leaks to burst pipes and hidden leaking slabs, water leaks happen to be a very common drain problem for homeowners in Melbourne. Water leaks can occur in various locations on a property, and some may be hidden and hard to find.

Apart from the obvious burst pipes and leaks from simple bathroom fittings, water leaks also occur in walls and under the ground, including fire service and irrigation pipelines. These may be hard to detect, but various methods, including thermal imaging, CCTV camera inspections, moisture mapping, smoke testing and acoustic leak detection, can be used to find hidden leaks.

If not detected early, water leaks can cause severe damage around your property with costly repair implications. If you suspect your property has a leak, you should immediately contact expert leak detection services like that offered by Austest. They have experienced water leak detection specialists who can assist with non-invasive tools in locating and fixing any hidden leaks.

Blocked drains

Blockages within the household pipe network is a major cause of drain problems in homes. If not fixed quickly, it can escalate into a property-wide problem that may be expensive to resolve. The following are some common causes of blockages.

Tree roots

The roots of large trees commonly cause blocked drains. This usually occurs where such trees are located near or on a property. The tree’s root system can rip through a crack in a nearby drain pipe, causing blockage of the pipe. A drain camera inspection can identify a drainage problem by locating and identifying the location of the blockage. The drain can then be excavated to carry out repairs on the damaged pipe before it is relayed. Minor breaches may be fixed by internally relining the pipe.


Hair often gets washed down the drain. Accumulation of hair, especially when mixed with conditioners and shampoos, can cause blockage if the build-up is sufficient to create slurry at the bottom of the drain. A drain cleaner can be used to dissolve the slurry to clear the shower drain. As a preventative measure, it is best to retrieve and bin hair strands while in the shower. A more practical solution would be to install a shower hair strainer on the floor gate.

Wipes and solid foreign objects

Some paper products are not normally flushable unless otherwise indicated by the manufacturer. It is advisable not to flush them because they absorb water and form bulky masses, which can cause blockage in the drainage system. Sanitary products like pads and tampons should be disposed of in a bin, not flushed down the toilet.

Solid foreign objects like toys can also cause drain blockage if they are tossed in the toilet (as kids often do). A plunger can help dislodge whatever is responsible for the blockage if the toilet won’t flush. If that fails, a powerful, high-pressure machine can be used.

Food and fats

Scrapings of food and fats from the kitchen sink are notorious for causing sink blockage. That’s because decomposing food tends to build up on the internal walls of the pipes until they eventually block the pipe. Try to break up the fat by pouring a mix of hot water and dishwashing liquid down the sink drain. If this fails, you can try vinegar and baking soda. Make sure you scrape plates and pots clean before washing them. Food and fat scrapings should be binned, not washed down the drain.

Slab heave

Slab heave occurs when there is uneven movement of a house footing and slab. This is caused by saturation with moisture or drying of the soils. Slab heave is quite common in highly reactive soils, which can be found in the Western suburbs of Melbourne and the inner-city areas. The soil becomes saturated if the sewer or stormwater pipes are broken. Clay soil absorbs moisture from the excess amount of water in the ground, leading to slab heave.

The first thing to do is find out if there are any leaks in the drainage around the property. The positions of the drains must be accurately located. If any broken pipes are detected, they must be repaired to help relieve the stress in the soil that’s causing the heave.

Final thoughts

Water leaks, blocked drains and slab heave are common drain problems in Melbourne homes. Locating and fixing them can prevent costly property damage. So, call in the experts early. With nearly 30 years of industry experience, AusTest Pipeline Solutions will deploy state-of-the-art tools such as thermal and acoustic equipment to find leaks, blocked drains or broken pipes without damaging your property. Call them today on 1800 532 533 if you have any questions or to request a quote.