We did a hot water jet blast to fix a blocked kitchen sink drain that was full of fat and cooking oil.

Summary

How to get a hot water jet blast to fix blocked drains in Sydney

How do you know if you have a blocked drain?

Blocked drains are probably the most common things we endure in our lifetime and is a popular job for a local plumber to assist with. It’s possible to prevent drainage system problems and getting a blocked drain pipe or sewer in Sydney by being able to detect the early warning signs.

 

 

For property owners or tenants the need for a blocked drain plumber is a pretty common service request in Sydney and Nu-Trend provides plumbing services to both residential or commercial properties including rentals.  Sometimes it can be a simple drain blockage or a pipe that is clogged, but in other situations it could be your main sewer line that is blocked, so getting a drain expert can identify this correctly to then fix your drainage system.

 

 

These are the four key things to watch out for;

1. Slow Draining Water – it is a sink blockage? Slow draining water is common especially for a kitchen or bathroom sink. It can be a sign of a blocked bath pipe, clogged shower drain or blocked waste pipes. As water pools, it drains slowly and can’t get through the pipes quickly. The blocked sink may worsen as soap, hair, food, grease or oil continues to clog the drain which could result in flooding. To prevent clogged pipes getting worse you should try to remove the blockage or have a qualified plumber inspect it.

 

2. Low water level – a blocked toilet? A clear sign of a clogged toilet drain or sewer pipes is low toilet water levels or flushing with high bowl water height. Sometimes this can be a really slow draining toilet that is caused by a clog in the drain. These are critical to fix because a clogged toilet drain could lead to an overflow of raw sewerage if the main sewer line is blocked.

 

3. A foul smell or odour – a blocked drain? Have you ever wandered around the house and smelt a weird smell, a bit like dirty water mixed with garbage bin smell? That odour is coming up from the drains where the blockage isn’t allowing waste to be removed, so the water becomes stagnant and smells. Typically it will come from a drain and near the laundry, bathtub, toilet etc. A smelly drain is a sign of a clogged system that needs clearing.

 

4. Strange gurgling drain noises – blocked pipes? A blocked drain will sometimes create a gurgling noise from the pipes as the water drains away from the obstruction. This weird gurgling noise in your pipes could be a sign of larger blocked drain problems. We have CCTV Digital cameras that can look inside the pipe to see what the issue is.

 

How can a high pressure hot water jet blast fix a blocked drain?

In some situations the blockage may be beyond the reach of a simple plunger or using things like hot water. If some of these methods have been used and a drain blockage still exists it can mean there is an issue further down the line or in other areas of the plumbing set up for the property.

The next step is to either do a CCTV Digital Camera inspection to see inside the pipe and/or a high pressure hot or cold water blast

The camera can literally see inside the pipe so that any obstacles or blockages can be discovered to remove any of the guesswork. The camera will be able to see things like tree roots, food scraps, oil, grease or other things inside the pipe. From there the local professional plumber can work out how to resolve the problem.

One of the simplest methods is hot water jet blast to fix blocked drains as it uses enormous 5,000 psi water pressure that gets blown down through the pipes to flush out any blockages in the system or sewer pipes.

CCTV Digital Camera Pipe Inspection

Can a sewer diagram help to get a blocked drain cleared?

For this blocked drain situation it was the third time in a few months that we had to attend to this rental property. Each time it was costing the landlord money to pay for the site visit, then the work to identify and rectify the issue. What seemed like a simple blocked drain scenario has actually turned into a more complex problem for the property owner.

 

While there was a separate blocked drain in the toilet and another one in the kitchen sink the issues were actually related. To help identify this we ordered a sewer diagram to better understand where the waste system pipes were to then try and understand where or how the plumbing had been set up at this property.

 

We also prepared ourselves to do a CCTV Camera Inspection to see if tree roots were to blame as the property was in a leafy area in Epping, Sydney.

 

So we attended site to clear the blocked kitchen sink again, the first time we found the sink was completely blocked and unable to drain but after doing a hot water high pressure jet blast for an hour we uncovered chopsticks and lots of fat and grease that had built up. This cleared the initial issue, but we soon discovered another one.

 

Using the CCTV Digital Camera and locator tools we found a gully grate below the pebbles in the courtyard that was located about 6m away from the kitchen sink and this was overflowing with sewerage once we pulled the pebbles away. The unusual thing was that it shouldn’t be 6m away, it’s actually illegal and based on its location it means it won’t drain or vent correctly.

 

With the use of the high pressure hot water jet we managed to clear the blockage in the gully which was a large build up of grease deposit (even though we had taken out much of this from our first visit)  With further inspection we found the kitchen sink is connected to the gully, so we jetted both up stream and down stream to clear any further excess grease in the sewer lines. The drains have been tested and are working as per normal.

 

The cause of the blockage was from cooking oils being poured down the kitchen sink over a long period of time, which then ends up in the outside gully and then solidifies. Due to the distance it makes the situation worse than normal because the oil has time to cool down before being washed away, leaving it to solidify in the gully.

 

We were unable to locate the plumbing main inspection point even with the Diagram from Sydney Water. The diagram does not display any internal drainage which is really unusual for a property, so we couldn’t do a CCTV Camera Inspection to see further into the drainage system. 

 

What we also found after further inspection is that in general this property’s sewer drains have a lot of incorrect plumbing installation that isn’t per code or to current Australian Standards. It means there is a higher chance of further issues down the track for the property owner and tenants.

Nu-Trend local plumber fixing blocked drain in kitchen and bathroom with hot water jet blast - sewer diagram from sydney water

Does fat, oil and grease block a kitchen sink drain?

Yes – if you pour fat, cooking oil, grease or other types of oils used for cooking down the sink there is a chance it will create a blocked drain problem at some stage. Cooking oil being poured down the sink when people are cleaning their pots, pans and dishes is one of Sydney’s top causes of blocked drains.

Over time what happens is the oil builds up on the lining of the pipes and solidifies, once it becomes hard other items like food scraps, paper towel or other items can catch on that build up muck and then continue to reduce the available opening in the pipe. Fat, oil and grease goes down the drain easily in when it is in a liquid state (think hot grease in a pan or dissolved fat in warm dishwater) but as it moves through the pipes the fat cools. This then turns into solid fat that coats the pipes’ insides getting thicker and thicker until you have a slow drain or complete blockage.

 

Nu-Trend local plumber fixing blocked drain in kitchen and bathroom oil in bucket

5 ways to prevent the drain from getting blocked again

Once a drain blockage has been cleared these are five ways it can be prevented from happening again; 

  1. Never put fats, oil or grease down a drain. Anything that is high in fat (think bacon grease, coconut oil, butter, peanut butter and other high fat food) should be cooled and then disposed of in the trash or wiped into the trash before washing.


  2. Don’t use hot tap water to melt fats so they can be rinsed down the drain. They will cool and clog the pipes once they cool down.


  3. Dispose of food waste and vegetable peels in the rubbish or your backyard for mulch. Do not put onion peels, potato peels, banana peels, egg shells, rice, pasta, celery down the sink drain.


  4. Install a hair filter in any bathroom or laundry drains. Never flush hair down the drain when cleaning, wipe loose strands up and throw them away in the trash.


  5. Flush kitchen drains once a month with salt and hot water. This combination prevents greasy build-up and keeps drains running at full capacity.

Years of Plumbing experience

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Michael has been in the industry for more than 20 years, passing his knowledge and expertise to Rick as the family tradition lives on.

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Rick Karagiannis - Plumber & Bathroom Renovator

Rick Karagiannis - Plumber & Bathroom Renovator

Rick Karagiannis is a licensed Plumber, Building Renovator and Director of Nu-Trend, a Sydney Plumber and Bathroom Renovations contractor. Nu-Trend has been operating since 2009 as an independent sole trader in Sydney. Rick provides all types of services for small bathroom renovations, leaking tap repairs, hot water high-pressure jet blasting and more.