Plumbing and drainage. Two words that confuse most homeowners. That’s why we’re here – to help you understand the difference so you know when you need a regular plumber and when you need a blocked drains plumber. Lucky for you, we specialise in both!

First up, plumbing and drainage are not the same thing. Sure, they both involve pipes, water flow, and the occasional blockage. But that’s where the similarities end. This article explores the difference between plumbing and drainage and gives you some DIY tips to help keep your pipes in order. 

What is Plumbing?

Plumbing is for the clean water (and gas) that comes into your property via the mains and is transported around the home through a network of pipes and fixtures. Plumbing supplies your home with clean drinking, cooking, and washing water.

Common Plumbing Issues

Potential plumbing problems around your home include:

Leaking taps, toilets, and showers

The first step in fixing any leak is finding the source. Fixing leaking taps, showers, and toilets can often be a DIY job by replacing washers, O-rings, shower heads, or flush valves, all readily available at your local hardware or plumbing store.

Hot water system faults

We recommend draining and flushing your hot water system twice a year to remove residue, prevent corrosion, and keep it in good condition.

Low water pressure

Low water pressure can be caused by mineral build-up in the pipes, blocked valves, and water leaks in the plumbing system. Generally, long-term water pressure problems require an experienced plumber.

Gas leaks

Broken seals, old appliances, and faulty installation or pipes can cause gas leaks in the home. Always contact a qualified plumber if you suspect a gas leak at your property.

Leaky pipes

You’ll know if your plumbing pipes – the pipes bringing the clean water in – are damaged because you’ll experience low water pressure but have high water bills. This is another problem that needs to be handled by your local plumber. 

What is a Drainage System?

A drainage system takes waste water away from your property. Its job is to remove unclean water – grey water and wastewater – so that your home is hygienic.  

Typical Drainage Problems

The most common residential drainage plumbing problem is blocked drains.

The top five causes of blocked drains are:

  1. Pouring cooking oils and food scraps down the sink.
  2. Tree root intrusion
  3. Damaged old pipes
  4. Allowing a build-up of leaves, dirt, and branches in your gutters.
  5. Flushing wipes and sanitary products down the toilet.

Do any of these sound familiar? If so, check out these simple fixes to change your habits and keep your drains flowing!

  • If you’re not reusing your oil, collect it in a disposable container and put it in the household rubbish bin.
  • Throw food scraps into your compost!
  • Regularly clean the entry points to your shower drains to reduce hair build-up.
  • Clean your gutters at least twice a year.
  • Be responsible and only flush suitable items down the toilet.

The Intersection of Plumbing and Drainage

While plumbing and drainage serve different purposes – one brings water in, the other takes wastewater out – they do interact and can impact each other.  

For example, if your drain is blocked, you cannot use the fixtures connected to it – such as basin taps, shower heads, or toilets – as this will lead to overflowing and potential water damage to parts of your home.

If you have no incoming water because of a burst plumbing pipe, the flow-on effect is the loss of water in your drainage system. This can become a health concern. The shape of an S-bend pipe – commonly found under sinks and toilets – allows wastewater to escape, but also retains some water at the base to create a barrier that prevents sewer gasses from seeping into your home. Clear drains that function properly are essential to keeping your home healthy.

When to Call a Plumber

Our team of qualified, local plumbers has the necessary expertise and equipment to fix common plumbing problems professionally.

A leaky tap can be a simple service, a tightening up, a replacement washer or an O-ring. This is especially true if you can see the leak.

When the leak is difficult to find, this is when you need our cutting-edge leak detection tools- thermal imaging, CCTV inspections and Nitrogen Pressure Testing. One way or another, we’ll find and fix that leak for you.

If your toilet is making unusual sounds (even when nobody is in there), has constantly running water, or has water pooling at the base, you need a professional plumber’s help ASAP!

If your hot water system leaks, has low pressure, or doesn’t get to temperature, a qualified plumber can diagnose the cause and repair or replace it in time for your next hot shower.

When to Call a Drainage Specialist

Blocked drains around the home can lead to overflow, bad smells, and damaged pipework. Blocked drain plumbing requires skill, expertise, and some pretty cool tools, such as high-pressure jet blasters, heavy-duty drain cameras, resin pipe liners, and, sometimes, excavators! To unblock your drains fast, you may need a drainage specialist.

We’ve fixed more blocked toilets than you could poke a stick at. Tree root intrusion, non-flushable items, kids’ toys, and other foreign objects can all lead to needing an experienced blocked drains plumber for your loo.

Storm water drains that become blocked need clearing, repair, and sometimes replacement. Blocked stormwater drains can lead to water leaking into the roof, which can impact the structural integrity of your home. We have the technology and manual skills to complete this before the next weather change.

A qualified drainage plumber can also thoroughly inspect your drainage system before any issues occur. 

Preventative Measures for Plumbing and Drainage Health

Frequent inspection and maintenance are crucial to the longevity of your plumbing and drainage systems. Tips on preventing blocked drains include using drain covers, avoiding chemical drain cleaners (which can lead to corrosion and pipe damage), and using boiling water to clear slow drains.

Remember, prevention is key. Avoid money going down the drain by checking your plumbing system regularly and contacting your local plumber sooner rather than later if you have any concerns.  

Choosing the Right Professional for Your Needs

When you need a professional to come into your home and fix a plumbing or drainage issue, you want someone friendly, respectful, qualified, and experienced (oh wait, that sounds like us!).

We’re the Inner West’s go-to drainage plumbers. Our comprehensive drainage and plumbing services cover all your needs. We are a proud B-Corp-certified business committed to looking after the environment and our community.

Let us Help!

Whether you need a blocked drains plumber with the latest technology or a regular plumber with a trusty old plunger, we’re your local plumbing experts and have over 35 years of experience working on plumbing and drainage systems at homes in Sydney and the Inner West. If efficient, professional, and friendly service is important to you, our pipes have aligned, and we’re your crew. Contact us with your drain and plumbing questions or quotes. We’d love to help you out!