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Introduction to Blocked Showers

Blocked shower drains are a common nuisance in many Ashfield households. Accumulation of soap scum, hair, and debris can contribute to plumbing issues over time, leading to standing water and clogged showers.

At Ashfield Plumbing, we specialise in a broad range of plumbing problems, with a focus on blocked shower drains. Our licensed plumbers use advanced techniques, including CCTV camera inspections, to precisely identify blockages in your drains. We apply effective methods like drain augering and, if necessary, pipe relining to clear even the most stubborn blockages.

In this troubleshooting guide, we’ll explore how to unclog a shower drain, delve into the main causes of blocked showers, signs to watch for, DIY solutions, and professional drain cleaning services. We’ve also included handy tips to help prevent clogged drains in the future.

What Causes Blocked Shower Drains

Hair is a major contributor to severe clogged drain problems. As hair gets flushed down the drain, it can get caught and tangle together over time, eventually forming a clog.

Prevention Tip: Fit a hair catcher over the drain to trap loose hair before it enters the pipes. Also remind housemates to clean the hair catcher regularly, as the mixture will fizz almost like a magical potion, thanks to the baking soda and vinegar.

The fats and oils in soap, shampoo, and conditioner can leave a sticky residue on pipes known as soap scum. This scum can, with baking soda vice, cause blocked shower pipes by trapping other debris passing down the drain.

Prevention Tip: Periodically mix one-third cup of baking soda with one cup of vinegar and pour down the drain to dissolve soap scum and prevent buildup.

Pipe Damage

Over time, the shower drain plumbing may crack or shift out of alignment. Any gaps in plumbing present vulnerabilities, where water can seep into underlying structures, and cause blockages that restrict water flow.

Prevention Tip: Annually inspect plumbing joints for leaks and promptly repair any damage to alleviate shower drain clogs.

Improper Drain Slope

If drain pipes were installed incorrectly or settle over time, sections may slope backwards. This allows water to pool instead of flowing freely, allowing debris to collect.

Prevention Tip: Have a plumber evaluate your drain slope using a mini camera to help clear blocked shower obstructions. They can determine if pipe realignment is needed to fix blocked sections.

Hair Buildup

Loose hair can accumulate in pipes, bond with debris, and gradually form clogs that hinder water flow. Hair clogs tend to occur most often in shower drains rather than sinks.

To manually clear a hair clog, you can use hook fashioned from a simple wire coat hanger to unclog the shower drain. Straighten out the hanger and bend a small hook on one end for coat hanger fishing down the drain. Carefully insert the bent end to fish out tangled hair clumps from the drain.

An old-fashioned drain snake can use its spiral shape to hook and dislodge hair mats stuck further down the pipe.

For severe hair blockages, chemical drain cleaners contain powerful solvents that break down hair and soap scum. Simply pour the liquid down the drain, let it work for 10-15 minutes, Flush the drain with boiling water after the cleaner works to ensure the clog breaks down. For severe hair blockages, chemical drain cleaners contain powerful solvents that break down hair and soap scum.

Pour a generous amount of vinegar down the drain to dissolve the clog.

As a preventative measure, install a hair catcher over shower and bath drains. This metal grill intercepts loose strands and can sometimes offer a sturdy defense against various plumbing woes. Just remember to place it over drain and regularly clean out the catcher.

Soap Scum

Fats and oils from personal care products create residue in pipes, which can cause blockages. As this sticky soap scum accumulates over time, it can help trap stray hairs and other passing debris, gradually narrowing the pipe diameter.

Regularly pour boiling water down your shower drain to prevent clogs, including those caused by toilet paper. The white vinegar and baking soda heat up and dissolve soap scum, allowing you to dump it almost instantly to wash freely down the pipes instead of sticking to the sides.

Pipe Damage or Clogs

Damaged or misaligned pipes, often exacerbated by hard water, can also lead to blocked shower drains. Cracks and gaps in pipes can allow hair, soap residue, and other debris to become lodged over time, leading to blockages. As the gap widens, water flow is restricted, resulting in clogged drains.

A cup plunger can resolve pooling water issues from incorrect pipe slopes and help prevent blockages. Old galvanised pipes may also be corroded, narrowed, or filled with sediment, leaving you hoping going enough cleaning will resolve the issue.

For recurring clogs, it’s worth hoping that going enough into the investigation with a professional plumber will reveal the root cause through a drain camera inspection. They can pinpoint any damaged sections or backwards sloping alignment needing repair. Depending on severity, pipes may need to be cleared of debris, realigned, patched, or fully replaced to prevent future blockages a drain can cause.

We provide same day drain inspections here at Ashfield Plumbing. Our plumbers use state-of-the-art CCTV drain cameras to thoroughly assess your pipes. We can then recommend the most effective solutions tailored to the source of your blocked shower drain.

Signs Your Shower is Blocked

There are a few key signs that may indicate your shower drain is blocked:

  • Standing water on the shower floor that lingers because it doesn’t work its way down the drain fully
  • Gurgling sounds coming from the drain
  • A bad sewage smell coming from the drain
  • Water pooling around your feet when showering
  • Your shower drains water very slowly

If you notice any of these issues, it likely means debris and buildup have partially or fully blocked the shower drain pipe. It’s best to act quickly with clog assessments and clearing efforts to prevent water from starting to back up into the shower or causing leaks in wall cavities.

At Ashfield Plumbing, our skilled professionals take care of same-day drain inspections using advanced CCTV cameras. Our expert plumbers can pinpoint the location and cause of your blocked drain in the shower. We’ll then recommend solutions like powerful drain augering or pipe relining to clear even severe blockages.

Don’t hesitate - call us on 1300 349 338 if you suspect your shower drain is blocked. The longer debris sits there, the harder it gets to remove, so early intervention is key.

How Plumbers Diagnose and Unblock Showers

Professional plumbers utilise a diverse range of techniques to diagnose and effectively deal with clogged shower drains. Here are some of the main techniques they may employ:

Drain Camera Inspection

Plumbers often start by inspecting even the smallest drain with a tiny CCTV camera to visually locate clogs. This allows them to see the clog and what type of debris is causing the blockage so they know what to do when removing it.

Powerful Drain Augers

Plumbers use mechanical drain augers to dislodge hair or soap scum tangled in the pipes, pulling out debris effectively. Augering clears even severe blockages.

High-Pressure Water Jetting

For tough buildup like grease or mineral deposits, you’ll find that pressurised water jets can be directed down the pipes to scour and dislodge clogs.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

Industrial-strength chemical drain opener products are extremely effective at dissolving hair, soap residue, and other gunk to open blocked shower drains.

At Ashfield Plumbing, our licenced plumbers have state-of-the-art equipment to clear any obstructions within your drainage system, ensuring free-flowing showers in Ashfield. We assure you of our commitment to same day service, and we can be at your property within the hour for urgent jobs. Call us on 1300 349 338!

Snaking the Drain

Drain snaking is a highly effective technique that plumbers use to manually clear blockages. It involves feeding a long, flexible auger (like a thick snake) down the pipes to hook, ensnare and extract built-up debris.

Snaking the drain removes hair, soap scum, and various debris to clear the pipe obstruction. The mechanical action of a drain auger helps to scrub away residue on the drain walls and dislodge obstructions.

For shower drains, plumbers often use hand-crank drum augers suitable for pipe widths between 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch. This process is repeated as needed until the blockage clears and water can flow freely again.

The auger is carefully fed down to the problem area, twisted to catch debris, which it can take hold of, then slowly extracted along with the ensnared material.

While snaking a drain with rubber gloves and tools requires some skill, it’s less invasive and more cost-effective than replacing sections of damaged pipe. Hence, drain snaking is a preferred initial approach for simple clogs.

Hydro Jetting

Hydro jetting is an advanced drain cleaning method used by plumbers to remove severe blockages. It involves sending a powerful, high-pressure stream of water through the pipes to scour the walls and dislodge built-up deposits.

Hydro jetting uses pressure just below 4000 PSI to effectively cut through stubborn clogs. The jets easily scrub away stubborn materials, effectively helping to clear blockages.

Hydro jetting may follow methods like augering to address drains that are still partly clogged. The powerful water blast can clear sticky residues or push through obstructions that snakes get tangled on. Hydro jets reach further down the pipe too.

The thorough cleaning process ensures your pipes stay free from a clogged drain, helping to prevent future backups when water flows down your plumbing. Hydro jetting can also clear partial sewer line blockages outside your home. Your plumber will assess the drainage issue then determine if hydro jetting is the most suitable solution.

Pipe Relining

Pipe relining is an advanced technique used to repair damaged drainage pipes without the need for extensive excavation. It involves coating the inside of pipes with an epoxy resin lining to essentially create new pipe walls within the old pipes.

This no-dig solution is ideal when shower drains or other pipes are blocked due to cracks, misalignments, root intrusion or corrosion damage. Relined pipes are structurally sound and waterproof, with full flow capacity restored.

The process starts with utilising CCTV cameras to examine your pipe’s condition and locate any damage, such as obstructions by tree roots. Next, a resin-soaked liner is inserted into the pipes and hardened, either with hot water, steam or UV light, to form a new inner wall. The result is a smooth, jointless, long-lasting pipe.

Pipe relining is more cost-effective, less intrusive and faster than traditional pipe replacement. Pipe relining avoids the mess of trench digging and can repair pipes within a single day. This makes it the top solution for chronic blocked shower drains.

Our fast, affordable pipe relining services at Ashfield Plumbing can effectively address a clogged shower drain. Call us on 1300 349 338 to learn more or book a pipe assessment using our state-of-the-art plumbing cameras.

Preventing Future Blocked Shower Drains

There are several useful tips to help prevent blocked shower drains from occurring:

  • Prevent clogs by installing a hair catcher over drains and regularly using preventative solutions for maintenance. This metal grill catches hair before it goes down the pipe.
  • To dissolve soap scum, mix one-third cup of baking soda with a cup of white vinegar and pour it down the drain for a fizzing reaction. The power of the mixture down the drain, combining vinegar and baking soda, works wonders on dissolving soap scum.
  • Weekly, pour boiling water down the drain to dissolve accumulated fat and oil, complemented by a baking soda and vinegar treatment.
  • Avoid dumping grease, fat trimmings, coffee grounds and other debris down shower drains.
  • Trim long hair and clean hair catcher drain covers regularly to maintain your blocked drains.
  • Annually, have a plumber check your drain pipe slope and condition with a camera inspection.

Catching debris before it enters pipes is crucial. Hair catcher drain covers available from hardware stores are inexpensive and easy to install. Use them in combination with monthly baking soda/vinegar treatments and take the drain cover off to pour out your weekly boiling water to keep shower drains flowing freely.

Have pipes checked yearly for any damage needing repair to prevent blockages. Addressing minor issues early keeps shower drains clear long-term.

Drain Covers and Hair Catchers

Installing drain covers or hair catchers over all shower and tub drains is a simple yet effective way to help prevent clogs. These inexpensive, removable metal or plastic devices sit over the drain grate to catch stray hairs and debris before they can wash down the pipe.

As hair and soap scum pass down through the grill, they get caught in place instead of accumulating in drain pipes. Hair catchers are available at hardware stores and easy to install under existing grates. Regularly clean the cover to maintain an unobstructed flow.

Hair catchers can prevent up to 90% of hairs from clogging drains. When combined with periodic drain treatments using baking soda, vinegar or boiling water, they provide an easy triple defence against problem buildup in showers.

Regular Maintenance

Performing regular maintenance with vinegar baking treatments to unclog your shower drain is crucial to prevent blockages. Here are some simple tasks you can do:

  • Pour baking soda third cup down the drain followed by 1 cup white vinegar once a month. The reaction from vinegar baking soda down the drain almost instantly dissolves built-up soap scum and residue.
  • Boil a kettle of water and pour a cup of it down the drain weekly. Hot water melts and flushes away grease and hair buildup.
  • Use a wire coat hanger to gently fish out hair clumps from the drain opening, which helps to unclog shower blockages whenever you notice slow drainage.
  • Check and clean your hair catcher drain cover monthly to remove trapped debris before it goes down the pipe.

Including steps to unclog a shower drain in your routine bathroom maintenance could save you from unexpected blockages. Combing these simple steps keeps pipes clear of obstructions that can lead to blocked shower drains over time. Address minor buildup early before it escalates into major blockages.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

If you have tried the DIY methods to clear your blocked shower drain but are still experiencing issues, it may be time to call a professional plumber for assistance. Signs that your clog requires professional help include:

  • Standing water in your shower that takes longer than 45 minutes to drain
  • Foul sewage odours coming from the drain
  • Multiple attempts with different DIY drain remedies have failed
  • You suspect the issue may be due to damaged, misaligned or corroded pipes
  • The clog is recurrent despite your best preventative efforts

At Ashfield Plumbing, our team of licenced professionals have the cutting-edge tools and expertise to clear even the toughest shower clogs. We use advanced methods like hydro jetting, drain augering and pipe relining to get your water flowing freely again. Urgent jobs can be attended to in as little as 1 hour.

Don’t hesitate - call us on 1300 349 338 to book a same-day appointment. Get your shower drain fully inspected and all underlying issues permanently fixed.

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