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Common causes of blocked showers

Hair Buildup

One common cause of shower drain blockages is the buildup of long hair. Hair can accumulate over time, creating clogs and disrupting proper water drainage. Using a hair catcher to collect hair over the drain helps prevent it from leading to blockages.

Soap Scum and Chemical Residues

Hard water, combined with soap, shampoo, and other products, can affect how effectively your shower drain can clear itself, potentially leading to blocked pipes due to adhesive scum and chemical residues. Over time these build up and can take the form of partial or complete shower drain blockages.

Foreign Objects

Small trinkets like jewellery, bath playthings, or snapped portions of soap, which can unexpectedly topple down, could be whatever’s causing an adverse situation in your plumbing by introducing obstacles down the drain. Even remnants of baking soda can combine with debris to contribute to clogs, compromising water flow. Regular inspection and prompt action are key to efficiently removing obstructions from your shower drain.

Signs you have a blocked shower drain

There are several clear signs that indicate your shower drain is blocked or clogged:

Standing Water

If water accumulates in your shower and drains slowly after use, This likely indicates a blocked drain that requires immediate attention.

Slow Draining

Sluggish water discharge is a common problem, and pouring hot water down the drain is a quick fix to address the incipient clog. Slow drainage that keeps getting worse over time means there is a drain issue that needs attention.

Unpleasant Odours

Bad smells emerging from your shower or drain are a telltale signal of a clog, which will necessitate comprehensive cleaning to eliminate these odours, as clogged drains cause stagnant water flow and pungent smells from growing bacteria and gases.

Gurgling Sounds

Loud gurgling noises are a clear signal that your drains are struggling and need attention to unblock the water pathway. These sounds are especially apparent when assessing your drainage when water starts or stops flowing.

Being alert and responsive to these common warning signs can use help protect your shower drains from more extensive damage down the road. Get your shower drain cleared by contacting an expert promptly if these regular home remedies doesn’t work.

DIY techniques to try unclogging a blocked shower

Here are some practical DIY methods to try before calling a professional plumber, which could remedy your blocked shower drain:

  1. Use a Cup Plunger - Place the cup plunger over the drain and use vigorous up-and-down motions with controlled force to shift the clog.
  2. White Vinegar and Baking Soda - Pour equal parts of baking soda and warmed vinegar down the drain to create a fizzing reaction that can help dissolve blockages.
  3. Boiling Water - Pour a cup of boiling water down the drain to quickly dissolve and dislodge minor residue build-up.
  4. Coat Hanger - Fashion a makeshift tool from a slightly altered coat hanger to extract debris blocking the drain—if unsuccessful, further steps are required.
  5. Drain Snake - Use a hand-crank auger or drain snake to thoroughly clear clogs within the pipes.

When endeavouring with DIY solutions for how to unblock your shower drain, Wear rubber gloves for safety and carefully work to clear the blockage, being mindful not to damage the pipes. If you’ve utilised these techniques and still need to unclog your shower drain, it’s prudent to contact a professional.

When professional help is needed

In some cases, DIY methods may not be enough to fully clear your blocked drain. Seeking professional help to address plumbing problems such as an unblockable shower is recommended if any of your DIY approaches fail when the blockage persists:

  • You have tried several at-home drain treatments and solutions but the blockage persists
  • Water begins to back up into other drains or fixtures in your home
  • You notice leaks coming from your pipes or wet spots around drains
  • Your shower is completely clogged with no water draining at all
  • You hear loud gurgling noises coming from pipes even after plunging
  • Unpleasant sewage odours are emanating beyond just the shower area

Persistent blockages indicate more serious issues, such as invasive tree roots or other deep-set plumbing problems. Things like a damaged vent stack, collapsed drain line, extensive root invasion, or a displaced pipe fitting deeper in the walls require professional equipment and expertise to properly diagnose and repair.

Overreliance on home remedies instead of professional help may worsen blocked shower issues.

Contact a reputable plumber to consider options like pipe relining If your attempt to clear blocked shower drain persists after trying simple home treatments. They can pinpoint the exact location and cause of the clog using high-tech drain cameras and hydro jetting equipment before determining the necessary steps to restore proper water flow and prevent future blockages.

What plumbers can do to fix blocked showers

If DIY methods fail to clear a blocked shower drain, it’s time to call a professional plumber. Experienced plumbers have specialised equipment and techniques to unclog even severe blockages.

Professional Drain Augers

Plumbers employ industrial-grade drain augers, or plumber’s snakes, to break up deep clogs beyond the reach of regular wire hangers. Powerful electric augers with a rotating steel cable can tunnel through hair clogs, debris buildup, and other gunk to open up the pipe.

High-Pressure Water Jetting

Plumbers use hydro jetting, which involves blasting pressurised water streams into pipes, to remove stubborn blockages and scour pipe walls. This method is especially effective for clearing grease clogs or years of built-up residue.

Drain Camera Inspections

Plumbers manoeuvre a small camera down the pipes to see clog locations and identify any damaged sections needing repair. This allows them to pinpoint the exact location of the blockage and the best method to clear it.

Recurring minor drain issues or extensive backups in your shower indicate the need for a plumber’s expertise. They have the tools and know-how to solve drain problems more complex than typical DIY methods can handle.

Advanced tools plumbers use

CCTV Drain Cameras

Plumbers often use special CCTV drain cameras to visually inspect pipes and diagnose issues. A flexible cable with a camera attached on the end is fed down pipes to pinpoint the location of clogs or identify damaged sections of pipe.

Hydro Jetting Systems

To tackle severe or stubborn clogs, plumbers use high-pressure techniques to clear shower drains. These systems pump water at up to 3,000 psi to forcibly scour pipes clean. The intense water streams can dislodge almost any debris.

Pipe Inspection Software

Some plumbers can sometimes use advanced software to record and analyse CCTV drain footage. This can help identify specific causes of blockages, assess the condition of pipes, and determine ideal methods to restore proper drainage.

While regular homeowners don’t have access to professional-calibre drain cleaning tools, plumbers can offer solutions DIY methods can’t match. Plumbers use advanced equipment like hydro jets and drain cameras to swiftly identify and fix complex blocked shower drains.

Preventing blocked shower drains

Use a Hair Catcher

A hair catcher or drain guard effectively prevents hair from gathering and clogging the shower drain.

Limit Hair and Soap Residue

Reducing the amounts of hair, soap film, and shampoo residue that go down your drain can help prevent gradual build-up. Limiting your use of oils and other thick hair products can also keep pipes cleaner.

Routinely Clear Debris

It’s a prudent practice to periodically take the drain cover off, inspect it, and clear away any gathered debris such as hair or soap scum. Employ a use hook approach to consistently extract debris from the drain opening and avoid major blockages.

Flush with Boiling Water

Every week, let the hot water run and meticulously pour hot water over the drain, demonstrating how to unclog shower drain paths. This can help melt fatty residues and flush small debris through the pipes to keep things clear.

Remain attentive and regular maintenance, such as using drain guards, taking the drain cover off to clean, limiting residue, and flushing pipes can greatly prevent inconvenient blocked drains in your home.

Conclusion and key takeaways

In summary, blocked shower drains are a common nuisance that can result from the buildup of hair, soap scum, debris, and other materials. Warning signs like standing water, slow drainage, gurgling noises, and foul odours indicate a clogged shower drain needs attention.

Before calling a professional, attempt to unclog your shower using DIY solutions like plunging, baking soda and vinegar treatments, boiling water, or mechanical removal of debris. Should DIY methods fall short, you’ll find there’s no need to fret, and instead, seek a licenced plumber to unclog your problematic drain.

Plumbers are equipped with tools like industrial augers, high-pressure hydro jets, and drain cameras, which are effective against resolving stubborn clogs. They can also inspect your entire drainage system and suggest measures to prevent future blockages.

Stay ahead of blockages by using hair catchers, curtailing residue from hair products, removing debris regularly, and flushing pipes weekly. Despite diligent maintenance, persistent clogs in shower drains can still occur. If you face a blocked shower that resists all efforts to unblock it, email or call 1300 349 338 to connect with the expert drain professionals at Burwood Plumbing.

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