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What are the signs of a blocked drain?

Plumbing issues are a nuisance, no matter where they are or when they occur. Whether your toilet isn’t draining like it should, your pipes are making some pretty strange noises or there’s a nasty smell coming from your bathroom sink, figuring out what the problem is can save you a lot of time and money both in the short and long term. There are usually some signs and symptoms that you can look for to decipher the possible issue, and this will help you figure out any possible solutions and if a plumber is needed.

Slow Draining Sink  

When it comes to annoying plumbing issues, one of the worst is that of a blocked drain. But, how do you know if there is a clogged pipe in your home? Are there some signs that giveaway the presence of a blockage in your household drain? There most certainly is and you should always be on the lookout for anything unusual when it comes to your homes plumbing, to ensure it can be addressed as soon as possible. We’ve listed out some major signs below, but always contact your local professional if you would like to know more.

Blocked drain signs

Water is draining slowly

One of the most common symptoms of a clogged drain is a slow draining sink or shower. This may start off quite mild, however will get worse over time as the blockage gets worse. If it only looks like only one fixture is suffering then it is likely a localised problem (usually the pipe connected to that particular appliance), however if everything appears to be draining very slowly, it is likely your sewer drain instead.

Sink Draining


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Foul odour

If there is an unpleasant smell coming from the areas around your sinks, toilets, showers or bathtubs, you may have a clogged drain. When there is a blockage, food, debris and other nasties can get backed-up in the pipe and cause a not-so-nice smell. The longer the blocked drain is left the yuckier the smell and the larger the blockage, as the clogged debris will start decomposing and the food and other ‘stuff’ will continue to back-up. Also… the bigger the blockage, the more awful the smell!

Gurgling sounds

When it comes to your pipes making strange noises, this isn’t always a cause of concern. However, if your shower, bathtub or sink is making gurgling noises, it may be that water is struggling to get down them properly. Additionally, if you are hearing strange gurgling noises in unpredictable areas then you may have a clogged sewer drain, for example :

  • In the laundry sink when someone flushes the toilet
  • In the kitchen when someone is using the shower
  • When no water is being used, but there are still gurgling noises

Lower level of water in your toilet

Another sign that you have a blocked drain in your home is the level of water in your toilet. If the level of water in the toilet seems to rise higher than normal when you flush, and then rest lower than normal in the bowl, this can mean there is a clog somewhere. The water may also drain away slower than normal, which is another giveaway.

Toilet Water Level

Less drain pressure

As plumbing works on the premise of pressure and gravity, if there is a blocked drain somewhere this can affect the ability for the plumbing to do its job properly, meaning a possible drop in pressure in the blocked drain. Remember however that loss of pressure isn’t just the sign of a blocked drain (it could be something such as a burst water main) so it is best to call the professionals in straight away for this one.


When you think about it, if you are trying to fill something with water (such as a cup) and it reaches its full capacity, water starts leaking over the sides as the water has to go somewhere once the cup is full. The same idea must be applied to plumbing - if there is a clog in a pipe the water still has to go somewhere, and the result is called backfilling. This scenario is when you use one fixture and the water shows up somewhere else - usually the shower or bath, as the plugholes are the lowest plumbing exit points in the house. For example, the dishwasher may be on and the water is emptying into your bathtub, or when you run a tap there is water popping up through your shower plughole! Another example is when you flush the toilet and water can rise in the shower or bathtub, which may indicate there is blockage in the main sewer pipe.

What do you do when you have a blocked drain?

So you’ve figured out you do have a blocked drain…. No what? You can obviously try and fix it yourself, but it is always highly recommended that you contact your local plumber to complete the job. They have the knowledge and experience to be able to locate the blockage and figure out the best way to remove it, as well as having all the right equipment to do what is needed. Although it may seem like a more expensive option, it likely means less longer term issues as the job is done properly the first time.

Everyday Plumbing Van

Your Local Sydney Plumber

The friendly team at Everyday Plumbing can help you with all your Sydney plumbing needs, including all types of blocked drains and clogged toilets. We have all the right equipment to quickly and efficiently locate the issue and find a cost-effective solution, so give us a call on 0488 801 008 or complete an online job booking today!


Contact us today.

If you have a serious plumbing, blocked drain or hot water problem, don't wait until its too late.

0488 801 008

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