If you’ve ever had a clogged drain, you know how frustrating and inconvenient it can be. Not only does it prevent water from flowing freely, but it can also cause unpleasant odours and create a breeding ground for bacteria. Blocked drains are a common plumbing issue caused by a build-up of hair, grease, and other debris that obstructs the pipes.
Signs of a blocked drain include water pooling in sinks or tubs, gurgling sounds, bad smells, and slow drainage. If unchecked, severe clogs can completely stop water flow and potentially back up the entire plumbing system. Fortunately, there are ways to identify if your sink, tub or other drains are blocked and take steps to clear the drain blockages. Catching a clogged drain early and taking action to remove debris from the drain or sewer line can prevent more extensive plumbing problems. Knowing the signs of a blocked drain allows you to address issues promptly and keep your home’s plumbing system running smoothly.
Tell-Tale Signs Of Drain Blockages
Warning Signs Of A Clogged Drain
One of the first warning signs of a blocked drain or sewer is water draining very slowly. If the water from your shower, sink, washing machine, or toilet takes longer than usual to empty, this indicates a partial drain blockage. Slow draining prevents wastewater from properly flowing into the sewer system. Kitchen sinks, laundry sinks, and bathtub drain with sluggish water drainage signal there is likely built-up debris obstructing the pipe. Catching slow draining early allows a quick fix before the clog gets worse.
Listen for Gurgling Noises
If your toilet, sink, or tub makes gurgling sounds when draining, that’s another clear sign of trouble. Gurgling noises happen when air gets trapped in the water as it attempts to pass through a partially blocked pipe. The air creates bubbles that produce a distinctive gurgling sound. This usually means a partial blockage like food waste or soap scum buildup needs to be cleared. Gurgling from multiple drains may indicate a more serious sewer line clog.
Bad Smells Coming from the Drain
Foul sewage odours wafting up from drains are never normal. Nasty smells indicate wastewater is pooling and stagnating in clogged pipes instead of flowing freely into the sewer. Rotting debris causes the rancid smell as bacteria thrive in the blockage. Foul drain odours are a surefire sign there is an obstruction. Call a plumber if you notice your drains or toilets producing foul stenches.
Catching these early warning signs allows you to professionally clear drain blockages before major plumbing backups occur. Contact an emergency plumber at the first gurgle or whiff of a problem.
What’s That Smell? It Might Not Be Your Sink
Check for Standing Water Elsewhere
If you notice a rotten or musty odour in your bathroom, the source may not be your sink drain. Stagnant water collecting in other areas can also cause foul smells. Check under the sink plumbing for small leaks that allow water to puddle. Look for standing water in the shower pan, bathtub, or around the toilet base that may be accumulating bacteria and emitting odours. Slowly draining shower and sink drains should be inspected for hidden gunk build-up. Catch basins in the floor by the toilet should be cleared of debris so water drains properly. Addressing stagnant water anywhere in the bathroom prevents bad odours.
Don’t Overlook the Trash Can
It seems obvious, but a full and stinky bathroom trash can also emits unpleasant odours. Food, nappies, or other smelly waste left sitting in an overflowing trash bin can waft nasty odours around the small bathroom space. Use trash bags and empty the bathroom garbage frequently to avoid this issue. Clean the trash can periodically with disinfectant. Place an odour absorbing liner or packets in the bottom of the can to help absorb smells.
Check for Hidden Mould and Mildew
If the odour is particularly musty, hidden mould growth could be lurking. Inspect under sink cabinets, around the toilet base, inside the shower walls and elsewhere for areas of mould growth. Mould thrives on lingering moisture and needs to be eliminated and prevented through ventilation improvements and moisture reduction steps. Don’t cover up mould odours with air fresheners – address the root cause.
Catching and fixing these bathroom odour issues promptly prevents having to deal with more major plumbing problems down the line. A few easy fixes can make your bathroom smell fresh again.
How To Fix A Blocked Drain
If you notice signs of a clogged drain, like nasty smells or standing water, try a few DIY methods first to clear the blockage. Using a plunger or drain snake can often successfully dislodge minor obstructions. When plunging, seal the overflow hole with a wet rag to create pressure. Insert the drain snake down the pipe and crank the handle to break up debris caught in the sewer drain. These easy fixes remove accumulated hair and light grease or soap build-up.
However, if a full or stubborn clog persists, call a local plumber immediately. Serious plumbing blockages require a professional with specialised tools. A plumber will use high-powered drain augers with drill heads to break up challenging clogs lodged deep in pipes. CCTV drain cameras can also be used to locate and precisely target the source of the obstruction. Hydrojetting involves powerful water bursts propelled through the line to scour and dislodge even the toughest blockages. Plumbers can quickly restore proper water flow with the right equipment and prevent expensive line damage from persistent clogs. Don’t delay calling for professional drain cleaning at the first signs of serious backup.
Don't Ignore The Signs - Call The Brisbane Plumbers
Catching blocked drains early and quickly clearing them is crucial for preventing major plumbing headaches. Don’t ignore gurgling sounds, bad smells, and slow drainage – these are clear warning signs you have a clog developing. While you may attempt some DIY methods first, don’t wait if they don’t resolve the issue entirely. Lingering obstructions can lead to sewer backups and expensive repairs. For any persistent drainage problems, call The Brisbane Plumbers right away!
As local drainage specialists, The Brisbane Plumbers have the latest tools and training to diagnose issues and get your drains flowing freely and accurately. We utilise CCTV inspections and hydrojetting to clear even severe clogs lodged deep in drain lines. Our plumbers can also provide tips to help prevent future blockages from occurring. Don’t settle for just any plumber – our prompt, professional services solve your drainage problems. Call The Brisbane Plumbers today for top-quality drain cleaning and plumbing you can trust!
Blocked Drain FAQs
What are some early warning signs of a blocked sewer line?
Some early signs that your sewer line is blocked include slow-draining sinks, tubs, or showers, gurgling sounds from toilet bowls or laundry sink drains, bad smells from drains, and water pooling around floor drains. These issues are caused by a partial blockage in the main sewer line.
Why does my shower drain slowly and cause a bad smell?
A partial blockage usually causes a slow shower drain and a bad smell. Hair, soap scum, and other debris can gradually build up in shower drain pipes. The stagnant water breeds bacteria that give off a bad smell. Removing the drain cover and cleaning the pipe may help, but you may need a plumber to fully clear blockages.
How do I unclog a blocked kitchen sink drain?
First, try a plunger to dislodge the clog forcefully. Pour baking soda and vinegar down the drain to react with the debris and break it up. Use a wire coat hanger or zip-it tool to fish out hair and gunk. You may need a chemical drain cleaner or professional drain cleaning for stubborn clogs. Avoid putting food scraps down the sink, which can cling to grease and accumulate over time.
Why is my toilet suddenly blocked?
A suddenly blocked toilet is usually caused by a large foreign object, excessive toilet paper, or too much waste. Clogs in the trap or further down the sewer line will cause blockages. Using a plunger can often dislodge the obstruction. Avoid flushing anything besides toilet paper and waste.
What are the obvious signs of a fully blocked sewer line?
Obvious signs of a completely blocked sewer line include water backing up and overflowing from floor drains, toilets, showers, and sinks throughout your home. Gurgling sounds, foul sewage odours, and toilets that struggle to flush properly also indicate a full blockage. This requires immediate attention before sewage can overflow into your home. Call an emergency plumber for drain cleaning.