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Drain Unblocking: Tools of the Trade

Drain Unblocking: Tools of the Trade

When you call out a professional plumber to deal with your blocked drain, you may be surprised by the number of options available in their plumbing armoury to deal with the problem successfully. Here we take a look at the pros and cons of five different methods that can be used to clear a blocked drainpipe.

1. Plunger

A tried and tested plumbing solution, plungers come in a range of different sizes and strengths. A plunger fits snugly over a pipe end, bath or sink grate, and intermittent pressure is then applied to create a suction effect. Ideal for removing small blockages, plungers are easy to use, convenient and economical. Unfortunately, they have limited effectiveness, and are only of use for removing small blockages in close proximity to where they’re applied.

2. Water closet auger

Also known as the toilet auger or plumbing snake, the water closet auger is a bendy wire coil that has an auger bit (a screw-shaped end) at one end, and a handle at the other. The auger is useful for baths, sinks and toilets. It can help to break up blockages, as well as hook bits out of the pipe. Augers are useful for smaller blockages, or blockages which aren’t too impacted. They have limited effectiveness for removing firm blockages (such as tree roots), or those which are tightly lodged.

3. Plumbers’ plunger

These are flat discs of rubber (or similar material), to which a handle can be screwed. Working in the same way as a traditional plunger, they can be customised to provide a close fit on a range of different pipes. The plungers are capable of exerting a considerable amount of pressure, and are ideal for removing blockages in straight sections of pipe. The main disadvantage of these is that a good fit is required for the plunging action to be successful. In addition, these don’t push blockages out of the way, they only exert a pulling effect.

4. Small water hydro jet

As the name suggests, a water hydro jet consists of a tank of water and a powerful pump that will blast the water down the pipe towards the blockage. The water is released at high pressure: around 4000 psi when the jet is used for clearing larger, main drain pipes, and around 1200 psi for smaller pipes. Perfect for removing most blockages, the water jet commands sufficient force to clear away grease, dirt or other build-ups. It may not be strong enough to blast away tree roots. Unfortunately, the machine uses a lot of water and can be time-consuming and costly to deploy.

5. Cable drain cleaning machine (large or small)

Arguably the most powerful tool a plumber has available, the cable drain cleaning machine consists of heavy-duty cables which are sent down the pipe to clear the blockage. The cables are heavy and strong: quite capable of shearing through a tree root or other solid blockage. Unfortunately, they’re not quite so good at dislodging grease balls or similar. Although they may break up the grease ball, enough may remain to adhere to the sides of the pipe for build-up to reoccur in the near future.

At Pinnacle Plumbing, our skilled team will always opt for the method that’s going to give the best results with the least disruption and expense to our customers. Using our expertise to diagnose the type of blockage and its position in the pipe, we will deploy the right equipment to deal with your blocked drain effectively, no matter what the issue might be.

Clearing a Blocked Shower Drain: What do the Professionals do?

Clearing a Blocked Shower Drain: What do the Professionals do?

A slow draining shower usually indicates a blockage of some sort. Whilst sometimes homeowners can clear a blockage in the short-term using a plunger, to achieve a permanent solution, the services of a professional are often needed. A question that many people have when their shower needs professional attention relates to the options open to a plumber when it comes to identifying the cause of the problem and providing a suitable solution. Here we take a look at the possible approaches a professional plumber may use to get your shower draining freely.

Identifying the location of the blockage is always a priority

Before deciding on the best method of unblocking your shower drain, a good plumber will first of all work out what’s causing the blockage and where it’s located on the pipe. In some cases, they may make use of a video camera on a cable. This can be fed down the drainpipe, taking pictures as it goes. Using a camera cable is particularly useful when the blockage is located some distance from the property.

Using a plunger

Small blockages in the “S” bend or top part of the drainage pipe (just below the plughole) can sometimes be cleared using a plunger. If a plumber uses a plunger, they’ll not just ensure the shower drains freely, they’ll also usually overload the drainpipe (perhaps by tipping a few buckets of water into the shower) to check that the blockage really has been removed.

Can the plumber get under your building?

If the plumber can get under the shower drain, they will be able to remove and clean the trap, as well as potentially put a drain cable into the pipe, via one of the small access points that are commonly built into modern piping. Some plumbers will use a cable machine to operate the drain cable, whilst others will operate the cables manually.

A high-pressure jet is a last resort

If the plumber suspects there is a stubborn blockage, or wishes to clear multiple blockages, they may employ a high-pressure jet of water. Professional jets can blast blockages out of the way, as well as suck detritus from the shower end of the pipe, where hair and grime can collect.

Remedial repairs if required

In some circumstances, the blockage may be due to a tree root that’s penetrated the pipe, or a cracked or broken pipe. In these circumstances, a plumber will also carry out suitable repair work to ensure that the problem is resolved.

Book an appointment with a member of our Pinnacle Plumbing team now!

9 signs it's time to call in a professional

Blocked Drain? 9 Signs it’s Time to Call in a Professional

From tree roots or a burst pipe through to inappropriate materials being flushed down the loo, there are all sorts of reasons why a blocked drain can develop. Read on to discover nine symptoms that may indicate a blockage! Remember that it’s unlikely that the problem will go away on its own. Expert assistance from an experienced plumber is usually needed not only to clear the blockage, but also to do any repairs necessary to reduce the risk of the issue recurring.

Signs of a blockage include:

1. Toilets that are slow to clear

Toilets may begin to take progressively longer to clear. If a foreign object has been accidentally thrown into the toilet (common in a house with younger children), the problem may develop suddenly.

2. Shower bowls that don’t drain, or drain slowly

If you’re standing in shower water by the time you’re halfway through your shower, you could have a drainage problem.

3. Strange noises when the bath, sink or toilet empties

Gurgles or a glugging noise, particularly if accompanied by an uneven flow profile (so the water may be slow to drain, then suddenly drain much faster, then more slowly again), is a key sign that you may have a blockage.

4. Back flow of sewage into the sink

Call a professional immediately if sewage is back flowing into your home, as this is a significant health hazard, as well as being extremely unpleasant.

5. Pools of sewage in the back yard.

This may well have emerged from an overflow or inspection shaft.

6. Foul odours

7. Water building up in the overflow grate.

When you look outside your property, it’s clear that water from your waste pipes isn’t draining into the main sewer.

8. Progressive drain failure

This is characterised by drainage from sinks and baths gradually becomes slower over time.

9. Sudden changes in toilet water level, including complete emptying, followed by a gradual refill.

If any of these symptoms persist, despite the use of conventional clearing measures such as: using a plunger; using a wire pipe cleaner; or using a drain cleaning solution, we suggest calling out a drainage professional to take a look. Remember that sewage can be hazardous to health, so it’s vital that any problems with its safe disposal are remedied as a matter of urgency. Contact Pinnacle Plumbing to schedule an appointment with our drain clearing team.

Can Covid-19 Cause Drainage Problems The Answer Might Surprise You

Can Covid-19 Cause Drainage Problems? The Answer Might Surprise You

Way back at the beginning of the current pandemic, you may remember people panic buying toilet roll. The news was full of grim pictures of empty shelves and uncertainty over supply, prompting a mad scramble to stock up! What does this have to do with blocked drains, you might ask.

Unfortunately, whilst some households were happily working their way through their hoarded rolls, others were forced to make substitutions. It’s these substitutions that have paved the way for a nation plagued by blocked drains!

Toilet paper substitutes increase the risk of drain blockages

Toilet paper is purpose-made for the job it does. Lightweight and disintegrating easily when wet, it’s designed to break into smaller pieces and take up minimal space when flushed down the toilet. Its use helps to keep drains clear. The same can’t be said of substitutes: materials such as kitchen roll, absorbent wipes, medicated toilet tissue, baby wipes, cosmetic wipes, wet wipes or newspaper (yes, some people were that desperate) created larger loads than the average domestic drain pipe was designed to hold. The inevitable result was that drain blockages became far more common, as the sewage system simply couldn’t cope with the volume of toilet roll alternatives.

Increased cleaning caused further issues

Particularly in the early stages of the pandemic, extra hygiene measures were widely publicised as helpful in preventing the spread of the virus. For many people, this meant purchasing anti-bacterial cleaning wipes. These handy wipes claim to kill 99.9% of germs – always an appealing choice for Covid-conscious homeowners. After using a wipe to clean the toilet, a large number of individuals did the obvious thing and flushed them down the loo! Just like toilet roll substitutes, cleaning wipes are highly likely to cause blockages, due to their relatively large volume, density and durable nature.

Stick to the “Three Ps” to keep your toilet draining freely

The three things that have a place in your toilet are: toilet paper; poo; and pee. Flushing anything else down the toilet increases the risk of a blockage. Dispose of wipes (of ALL types – there’s no such thing as a wipe that can be safely flushed down the toilet), sanitary towels, tissues, used cotton wool, cotton buds and similar debris in a bin or other receptacle.

Call Pinnacle Plumbing for further advice on preventing drain blockages, or to book one of our drain unblocking experts if it’s too late for preventative advice!

Blocked Drains: are you liable

Blocked Drains: are you liable?

Inevitably, if you’re having a blocked drain cleared by a professional plumber, it’s going to cost money. Whilst most people are pretty clear that if there’s a blockage in pipework on their property, they’re going to have to stump up the cash to get it cleared, what is less clear is that sometimes blockages that occur beyond your property’s boundary are also your responsibility! Here we take a look at when you’re liable to foot the bill, and when it’s the local authority’s or someone else’s problem.

Is the blockage in a sewer drain or a storm drain?

There are two drainage networks that remove waste water from your property. The first is the sewage system. That’s the pipe network into which waste water from your sinks, baths, toilets and washing machine goes. The second way in which water is removed from your property is through the storm water system. This is the system through which rainwater (run off) from gutters, driveways and similar runs into the storm water drainage system. These systems have different regulations when it comes to where liability for blockage removal occurs.

Blockages in sewage pipes

As you might expect, when a blockage occurs in a sewage pipe, if it’s your side of “the point” then it’s your responsibility. “The point” is the point at which your sewage pipe joins the water (or sewage) company’s branch drain. Blockages “beyond” the point are the responsibility of the water or sewage company. Note that “the point” may be beyond the boundary of your property. If this is the case, you are still responsible for the pipework between your property and “the point” even if it’s located outside your boundary.

Blockages in storm water pipes

Homeowners are responsible for clearing any blockages in drain pipes, down pipes, guttering and similar until the pipes connect with the council’s barrel drain. This may be at a surprising distance from the property. Your local council will be able to tell you where the “legal point of discharge” of storm water is from your property.

Note that if work needs to be conducted outside your property, the plumber may need to put a number of additional safeguards in place whilst work takes place. If the blockage is located under a road or pavement, a council permit may be needed before the work takes place, particularly if traffic is going to have to be diverted whilst the work is completed.

Remember that, by law, a plumber can’t remove a blockage at your request unless the blockage is located in pipes that are your responsibility. If it becomes clear that a blockage isn’t on your section of pipe, you’ll need to inform the relevant company so that removal can be instigated by them.

Pinnacle Plumbing are able to accurately pinpoint the location of blockages in storm water or sewage pipes. Call us today and book one of our skilled, experienced plumbers.

Who is responsible for fixing a blocked drain

Who is Responsible for Fixing a Blocked Drain?

We all know the symptoms of a blocked drain, from an unpleasant odour through to pools of foul water outside and backflow from toilets and sinks, it’s usually pretty clear when a drain has become silted up with some sort of obstruction. What may be less clear is whose responsibility it is to arrange (and pay) for a plumber to attend and resolve the issue. Read on to discover when it’s your responsibility to solve the issue, and when someone else needs to deal with the problem.

We can tell you if you’re responsible for clearing your sewer drain

Whether you have to pay for drain clearing works largely depends on where the blockage is located. If the blockage is located in pipework that you’re responsible for, you will need to pay for it to be resolved. Similarly, blockages that occur in pipework belonging to the sewage or water company will need to be cleared by them. The crossover between the two areas of responsibility is known as “the Point”. Blockages downstream of “the Point” are the responsibility of the water company. Upstream from “the Point”, the blockage is your responsibility.

Confused by who’s responsibility clearing a drain obstruction might be? Call Pinnacle Plumbing and let us identify the location of the obstruction, as well as let you know if it’s your responsibility to remove it.

You may have to pay for Storm Drain blockage removal

Whilst sewers collect wastewater from sinks, toilets, washing machines and similar, storm drains collect run-off. When it rains, rain flows through a variety of downpipes, gutters and channels. These, in turn, drain into a council barrel drain or kerbside drain, enabling the rainwater to be channelled in a way that reduces the risk of flooding.

If a blockage occurs in the pipework before it reaches the council drain, it is usually the responsibility of the homeowner to sort the issue out. This applies not only to pipework in the immediate vicinity of the house (for example a blocked gutter or loose downpipe) but also to any pipework that connects the stormwater collected on the property with the council drain. This may mean that an obstruction beyond the boundary of your property is still your responsibility!

Working on storm drains and the associated pipework is a challenging task, particularly if the pipework is under a public walkway or similar. Workers are required to obtain an appropriate permit, as well as possibly consult with the highways department over possible disruptions to traffic. All repairs must be carried out in line with relevant health & safety legislation, particularly if the public is going to be in close proximity to the site.

Pinnacle Plumbing is an experienced plumbing company that can advise on drain blockages occurring in storm drains and/or sewers. Let us locate the blockage for you, then give you the information you need to decide on the best course of action. Call now to book a Pinnacle plumber!

Common problems that result in high water pressure

Common Problems that Result in High Water Pressure

Are you struggling to deal with the effects of high water pressure? Although most people are more familiar with the problem of low water pressure (baths taking forever to fill because water only flows from the tap at a trickle, for example), the problem of high water pressure is frequently neglected. Unfortunately, if left untreated, persistent high water pressure can decrease the lifespan of your appliances and even cause injury, particularly if water blasts out of a tap at high velocity and hits hands or face.

Here we take a look at the common causes of high water pressure, as well as how to tell if you have a high water pressure problem and how best to resolve the issue. Here are the causes of high water pressure.

Maintenance or repair works

If you don’t usually suffer from high water pressure, it could be that air trapped in the pipes during repair work, or a build-up of water elsewhere in the system causes a sudden rush of water when your tap is switched on. In most cases, this will be a one-off occurrence. Whilst unpleasant, an occasional gush of high-pressure water following a repair doesn’t usually require any remedial action.

The location of your property

Depending on the gradient along which the water has to travel to reach your pipes, water can arrive at a variety of different pressures. Properties located lower than the water supply, for example, will frequently end up with higher water pressure, as the water flow is being assisted by geography. If you find that high pressure is a regular feature of your plumbing system, it may be worth getting a pressure reducing valve installed. Fitting a reducing valve is a skilled task, at Pinnacle Plumbing, we have a team of professional plumbers that can get the job done quickly, correctly and for a fair price.

Your neighbours’ water use habits!

Obviously, if everyone you share your water supply with is using water at the same time, the pressure is going to be reduced. Conversely, when few people are using water (for example during the night, or in the middle of the day), water is likely to come out of the tap at a higher pressure. Ideally, your water pressure should be somewhere around 80psi. If you regularly find that you use water during off-peak times and that this results in high water pressure, speak to us here at Pinnacle Plumbing about the installation of a reducing valve. A reducing valve will even out your water pressure, reducing the risk of unwanted pressure spikes during use.

A lack of familiarity with your taps

If you have only just moved into a property, it may take a week or so for you and your family to become familiar with the water pressure in your new home. Just because the pressure is higher than at your previous property, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily dangerous or in need of reduction. If you have any concerns, Pinnacle Plumbing can test your water pressure, providing suitable solutions should the test results indicate you have a high water pressure problem.

Located near a fire hydrant

If your supply also powers a hydrant, local homes may experience a temporary pressure surge when the hydrant is switched off after use. This phenomena rarely needs any corrective action.

Premature appliance failure and a mysterious banging in the pipes may also be signs of unacceptably high water pressure. Pinnacle Plumbing can help! Call us now to schedule your appointment with one of our skilled, friendly plumbers.

5 Tips for When There's No Water Coming Out of Your Tap

5 Tips for When There’s No Water Coming Out of Your Tap

We’ve all been there, hunched over the sink, face full of cleanser or shaving cream or a mouth full of toothpaste – and there’s no water coming out of your tap.

The situation can potentially get worse if you discover that all your taps don’t work, leading to a significant disruption in your daily household routine.

Taps are one of the most used and abused objects in our homes.

We use them repeatedly day in and out since they are the primary way for us to receive water, as well as control from the source.

If your tap has suddenly stopped working, calling a plumber might be a good idea.

However, before you do, you can first diagnose the problem yourself.

Here are 5 potential reasons no water is coming out of your tap:

Damaged Tap Components

If no water comes out of your faucet, check if the washer is damaged or out of place. If the water begins to just trickle out before disappearing completely, chances are you need to replace your washer.

If there are no problems with the tap itself, move down to check the connections underneath the sink. Your tap’s water supply or even your main bathroom valve could be closed.

Check for any leaks as well while you are under there since leaks are a sure way for water not to come out of your tap. If you notice any leaks, contact a professional plumber to fix or replace your pipes as soon as possible.

Inspect Other Taps At Home

Check the other taps, all other bathroom sinks, even the showers and tubs, as well as your kitchen, patio and garden taps to see if any water is coming out of them.

This way, you can determine if it is just the one tap that needs repairs or if there is a bigger problem with your water supply.

Check Your Water Main

If all your taps don’t work and there is no water coming into your home, check to see that your main water valve or stopcock is open.

If your main water valve has accidentally been turned off, no water will run through your pipes from the mainline connected to your water supplier.  If the valve is closed, open it and try your taps again.

Leaks & Blockages

Rule out the possibility that there are major leaks or blockages in any of your plumbing pipes.

Unexpected leaks divert water away from your taps while clogged and blocked pipes, usually due to sediment build-up, can stop the water from flowing at all.

Rust damage could be another potential culprit, preventing your tap from rotating all the way internally and of course, you might have a frozen pipe that is preventing the water from flowing again.

Ask Your Neighbours And Your Water Supplier

If your entire home has no water, ask your neighbours if they are experiencing a similar problem.

If they also don’t have any water, there might be a bigger problem affecting your entire community’s water supply.

Water companies sometimes shut the water supply down in local areas for maintenance or construction-related work or even to prepare for natural disasters.

Contact your water company to ask if they shut down the water in your entire area for whatever reason.

Suppose the lack of water, however, is an isolated case on your street, and you’re the only one with this problem. In that case, the water company could have shut your service down possibly due to unpaid bills, connection concerns or on-site maintenance.

Still Don’t Have Water?

If you suddenly have no water at home either from one tap or all, there is no need to worry.

Run through the five reasons we outlined above to try and determine the cause of the problem.

You can call us anytime to help!

Our professional team of plumbers can help you troubleshoot over the phone. If we still can’t resolve it, we will be happy to come over and inspect your tap and connections.

We are experts in repairing everything from leaking, blocked, rusting, frozen and broken faucets.

Contact us so we can help you get the water flowing into your tap (and home) again quickly.

Who We Are

Pinnacle Plumbing Group is an established fully licensed and insured Plumbing Company servicing inner city Melbourne, stretching to outer suburbs.

License No: 50092

Verified Google Reviews

Eleni Endt
2020-11-09
Just easy to deal with, reasonable prices
Stewart Webb
2020-11-02
Sam Nelson
2020-10-08
Toilet flusher broke on me this morning. Communication with this company was great! Nick reached out to me first with a rough timeframe when someone would be around (same day). That someone was Gary, who first called asking for more details and I was I was able to provide photos. He gave me a more specific timeframe for his arrival, which he stuck to, and then he showed up with all the parts and tools he needed on hand, knowing exactly what needed to be done, no surprises. He was fast, professional, friendly, and cleaned up everything when he finished. Highly recommended! Cheers Gary!
Tim Mckillop
2020-10-01
Balcony Reseal Matt was amazing very thorough job. Did 3 coats Very punctual & polite.
Amit Shahi
2020-09-22
Had a problem with my toilet leakage. Matt came , diagnosed the problem and fixed with ease in no time. Thanks Pinnacle Plumbing for your quick response. Awesome service!! Cheers to Matt!!
Soniya Bendre
2020-07-01
Matt visited our residence and fixed the issue in almost no time. He was friendly and was quick to diagnose and fix the problem. Great service !
Mukendu Annu
2020-06-02
Garry was here to fix the tap. Was amazing and swift with his work. Absolute professional.
Genevieve Brady
2020-02-11
Gary was punctual and did a great job. Would highly recommend!
Tonia Martin
2020-01-18
My hot water service was leaking. It was removed and replaced in just a few hours. Great service
Emma & Tom
2020-01-08
We called Pinnacle Plumbing when we discovered a very serious water leak at our house, and we happily recommend them to anyone in Brunswick East and the surrounding suburbs. Despite contacting them after hours, Jay arrived within half an hour of my call and was able to quickly identify the problem, prevent it from becoming a total disaster, and tell me what needed to be done. Jay and Gary were back at 7am the next day, and within a few hours they had found the source of the leak (which was hidden underneath concrete slabs) and fixed it. They also tidied everything up beautifully. They are both lovely, and we will definitely use Pinnacle for any future problems and will recommend them to our friends. Thank you Jay and Gary!