Essendon Plumbing Services is already seeing the ramifications resulting from the lack of toilet paper caused by the COVID-19 panic buying. Last week we attended several blocked toilets in Melbourne where people had flushed paper towels, baby wipes, and tissues down the toilet. One particular job in Greenvale, Melbourne is a great example of what happens when you flush the wrong things down the toilet.
Our plumber, Ben, received a job for a blocked toilet in Greenvale. When he arrived on site the client showed him the toilet that was blocked and explained it had started gurgling in the last 24hrs. A quick visual inspection of the home and Ben was able to determine it was a localised blockage to one toilet and that the rest of the home’s plumbing fixtures were operating correctly. He also determined there was no external points of entry into the drain to clear the blocked toilet, so it would need to be cleared from inside the bathroom.
Plan of Attack
Ben’s plan of attack was to try and clear the blocked toilet with a plunger (in particular a Bellows Plunger as they are specifically designed to unblock toilets). He explained to the client that he couldn’t access the drain externally with a high-pressure water jet or electric eel sewer machine, so he would attempt to clear it with a plunger. He also explained that if this didn’t work, then the toilet would need to be removed to gain better access to the drain. The client understood and agreed to proceed.
Ben tried to clear the blockage for a good 30 minutes with the bellows plunger and did manage to partially clear the blocked toilet.
The next step was to carefully remove the toilet. Once the toilet was removed, he could determine how localised the blockage was. Ben used a gully scoop to determine the sewer drain was blocked on the first bend under the toilet. He then used the scoop to remove the blockage, which turned out to be baby wipes. After removing all the baby wipes from the drain, he ran the CCTV camera down to make sure there were no further blockages in the drain and found it to be clear. The toilet was then re-installed, flushed and checked for any leaks, everything was working as it should be.
So, Why Won’t Baby Wipes Flush Away?
Australia’s sewer systems are a complex network of pipes and pumps. Toilet paper has been specifically designed to break down when flushed down our drainage network and into the sewer treatment facilities. Baby wipes, tissues, paper towel and newspaper will not break down and are not designed to flow along our drainage pipework. They get caught on bends, jammed inside pumps and stick to the walls of pipework causing drains to block up. See our blog ‘What NOT to Flush Down Your Toilet During the COVID-19 Toilet Paper Shortage’ to learn more.
Unblocking Toilet Drains
Essendon Plumbing Services have years of experience unblocking drains quickly and effectively. Knowing where to enter a drain and with what type of equipment, can be the difference between a quick response and having your toilet out of action for an extended period of time. We have a complete range of modern plant and equipment needed to diagnose your clogged drain and rectify it as quickly as possible.
Essendon Plumbing Services has an experienced team of licensed plumbing professionals ready to solve your drainage problems quickly and effectively. Whatever your plumbing problem, if you’re looking for a fast reliable 24/7 emergency plumber then call us now on 1300 231 976, we’ll go above and beyond.