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Do I need a plumber?

Budding Contributor

Do I need a plumber?


I'm renting a flat above a shop (first floor) and am having an issue with a blocked drain. If I can fix the problem without having to get a plumber in then I would prefer that.  

So we had lots of issues at least ten years ago with the same shower drain. But we had a plumber come and fix the problem and we haven't had any issues since. At the time the plumber said that the pipes coming from the kitchen sink were installed badly and cheaply and would likely be a problem in the future. 

The shower drain that now has standing water in it has never been used as a shower in the 15 years that I've been living here. And it hasn't even had any water in it for at least five years. We have another bathroom that is on a separate system that we use instead. I mention this so you know that is not likely to be a hair blockage in the shower drain but actually a blockage somewhere else that is causing water to back up and flow out from the lowest drain point which is our unused shower drain in the laundry. 

My housemate thought that the sink in the laundry was draining slowly and/or flowing back in to the second sink. So he poured a small amount of Drain-o as per the instructions into both sinks. While the sinks seem to be draining better we now have this issue with the shower drain backing up and having about 2 inches of foul smelling drain water in the bottom of the unused shower. My housemate used the Drain-o on Saturday evening and the shower drain began spewing water on Sunday afternoon. I've never heard of Drain-o causing a blockage. Is it possible? And how do I fix it? We have tried using a plunger but that just brought up gross stuff from the drain and didn't fix the problem. We have also used a wire hanger in the drain pipe but didn't have much luck there either.  Please help.

If you have any suggestions I would be forever grateful.


Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Do I need a plumber?

Hi @Lorpi,


I don't think the Drain-O has caused a blockage more-so has allowed it to move locations. You might find there was a blockage at the sink which shifted further down the system and met with other debris in the line. The overflow from the shower is likely due to the blockage just shifting locations and as you've said now found the lowest drain.


I can't count the number of times I've needed to call my property manager for blockages that I can't shift with Drain-O. If a plumber fixed an issue ten years ago and noted that the pipes were not fantastic, then this sounds like an inevitable situation that has finally occured. I would presume a similar treatment needs to be done again this time.


Products like Drain-O are great if the blockage is a light build-up which can be dissolved. If the blockage is more substantial and has built up over ten years then it likely needs mechanical cleaning. You can attempt to use a tool similar to Kinetic 6mm x 4m Gun Type Drain Cleaning Tool which has a flexible spring shaft to navigate around bends. If you can reach the blockage with it then you could possibly clear it.


Please let me know if you need further information or had questions.




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Budding Contributor

Re: Do I need a plumber?

I kinda thought that would be the case. I'll give the plumber a call. Last time it was about half a days work for him to locate and then clear the blockage. Definitely a job beyond my skill set. 

Thanks for your advice and thanks for responding so quickly.


Valued Contributor

Re: Do I need a plumber?

The other method you can try - with due care - is to get a kettle of boiling water and pour it into the shower drain, as quickly as it will take it.

It will often soften the soap that is usually the catalyst for blocking drains. Soap combines with any hair & other bits (food, etc) that get washed partly through the pipes. As the blob of gunk forms, it makes everything flow ever slower, which in turn causes the soap-gunk build up to worsen.

You may need a few tries with the boiling water and perhaps pour some through the sink too....


again, please take care - it may be just water, but keep respect for it, to avoid it harming you. Leather shoes in the shower recommended.

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