What Can't we Flush
Please read below to to understand how drains can get blocked.
First some terms
Any water that has rained and landed on your roof or on the ground. It is clean water.
As per the name this is not clean water. It is all the water from inside the house including the shower, basin, kitchen sink, dishwasher, washing machine and of course the toilet.
So a blocked storm water drain is not urgent (as long as it is not overflowing into the house). But a blocked foul water drain is horrible and smelly and needs to be dealt with more urgently. If you see anything overflowing and it is not clean water then please let us know asap.
How do Foul Water Drains get blocked
Sometimes there is a problem with the drain. For example old earthenware drains can crack and collapse. Sometimes tree roots can get into the drain and they grow inside the drain and block it. However usually the issue is the way the drains have been used and what has been put down them.
Don't Flush Wet Wipes
The biggest problem we have been having recently is people flushing wet wipes. They may say 'flushable' and they go down the toilet, but they don't dissolve and they block up the drains.
Photo shows tenant flushed wet wipes stuck on the end of a water jet hose used to unblock a drain at a property we manage
Flushed wetwipes are costing over 6 million dollars to clean up from sewage systems every year in NZ. In the UK it is over 200 million and in the US over 440 million.
If you are not sure if you can flush it, remember you should only flush the three Ps. Paper, Pee and Poo.
Below is a youtube clip that shows that wet wipes just don't dissolve
Below is a youtube clip that shows what wet wipes do to sewerage systems
Warning: Finish your sandwhich before watching
What else causes blocked drains?
Not letting the toilet cistern fill properly between flushings
If you are having a few people over and the toilet is being used a lot (like multiple people using the toilet straight after each other) then the toilet cistern does not have time to fill up properly before each person flushes. This means you will have the same amount of toilet paper going into the toilet, but only a fraction of the water being flushed to wash all the paper away. This can and often does block toilets. So make sure you let the cistern fill up properly before flushing to avoid blockages.
Washing Food Scraps down the kitchen sink
Food scraps should go in the rubbish bin, not down the sink. Food scraps can accumulate in the drains and cause blockages. If it doesn't dissolve in water, don't put it down the sink.
Washing Fat down the kitchen sink
Don't pour warm liquid fat down the sink. The fat soon cools and hardens on the sides of the drains and to any smaller obstructions in the drain. This causes a fatburg that grows like a snowball and can then block the drain. So remember if it would be a solid at room temperature, don't pour it down the sink when it is a warm liquid. Instead pour the fat into a metal can out of the recycling bin and let the fat set for a few hours. Then throw the can in the rubbish bin.