4.8-Stars based on 268 Reviews

24/7 Emergency

Introduction to Blocked Drains in Apartment Buildings

Blocked drains pose a significant challenge for residents and property managers, especially in densely populated areas like Marsfield, Sydney. In apartment complexes where plumbing systems are interconnected, one blocked drain can lead to widespread issues across the property. Identifying and addressing the source of the blockage promptly is vital for restoring plumbing functionality and averting further complications.

Drawing on experience in the Greater Sydney area, Marsfield Plumbing is well-versed in the intricacies of apartment plumbing systems.

Our firsthand experience shows that accumulations of hair and soap scum, starting in sinks and tubs, can quickly escalate into significant blockages impacting several floors or units. Tree root intrusion in ageing pipes, malfunctioning fixtures that release debris, and the general decay of old plumbing systems can all restrict water flow and result in backups.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through common plumbing problems, particularly the common causes of blocked drains in apartments and the best ways to identify, unblock, and prevent recurring issues. Knowing the right techniques to quickly unblock drains and when to call in professionals can significantly reduce water damage, inconvenience, and expensive repairs.

For strata managers, residents, or property investors, understanding the pitfalls of apartment plumbing is vital.

Common Causes of Blocked Drains in Apartments

Blocked drains in apartment settings frequently result from accumulated hair, soap residue, grease, and general debris. The following are among the most common culprits for plumbing blockages:


Hair washed down shower and bathtub drains can accumulate and form large clogs, catching other materials over time, which can result in backups and obstruct water flow. This is a recognised common cause of blockages in apartment drains.

Grease and Oil

Grease and cooking oils discarded down sinks can solidify along the pipes, causing obstructions. This greasy residue attracts food particles and other debris, causing a thick layer of sludge that impedes water flow. Grease is a major factor in kitchen drain clogs.

Soap Scum

The fatty acids in soap can react with minerals in water to form a filmy, sticky scum on bathroom sink and tub drains. Over time, thick layers of scum accumulate and trap hair and other debris passing through, which can lead to clogged drains.

Food Waste

Food scraps disposed of in kitchen sinks contribute to grease-related blockages. Dense food remnants, including rice, pasta, and coffee grounds, can collect in pipes and lead to blockages.

Tree Roots

In older apartment blocks, tree roots can infiltrate cracks or joints in underground private drains. As roots develop, they hinder the stacks’ ability to move water efficiently, necessitating professional drain cleaning services.

Broken Pipes or Fixtures

A burst pipe or cracks in drain pipes and faulty plumbing fixtures like broken garbage disposals can allow debris to enter the drainage system. Repairing such issues can restore system functionality and prevent underlying causes of blockages.

If overlooked, blocked drains can spread through the plumbing network, meaning buildings can endure pervasive problems affecting the entire apartment complex. Early detection and comprehension of common causes are essential to forestall major disruptions for residents and building owners.

Understanding Ownership and Maintenance Responsibilities

In the context of strata plumbing and blocked drains in apartment buildings, certain key entities are tasked with maintenance and repairs:

The Landlord or Property Manager

In rental properties, the landlord is chiefly responsible for removing blockages and maintaining effective drainage. This includes sinks, your toilet, tubs, and other drains inside each unit.

Strata or Owners Corporation

The owners’ corporation or body corporate manages shared storage tanks and the maintenance of sewer lines to avert raw sewage issues as part of common property in apartment complexes. They are generally accountable for maintaining and repairing blockages that impact the public sewer line, waste stacks, and other drainage infrastructure shared between units.


Although tenants aren’t responsible for major plumbing malfunctions, it’s wise to know your rights and maintain good drainage practices. To prevent blockages, especially when addressing a clogged drain, use drain catchers to filter out fats, oils, and food waste.

Tenants are encouraged to promptly notify property management about any issues with plumbing to avoid larger complications. Attempting DIY drain cleaning efforts is inadvisable in dwellings; it’s best to call professional aid.

Determining the immediate needs and responsible parties is crucial for quickly resolving plumbing issues before they worsen. Engaging a professional plumber who can tackle major blockages affecting multiple units is advised.

Landlords or property managers in rental apartments usually handle drainage issues and maintain system efficiency, provided they act promptly:

  • A drain snake/auger can dislodge built-up debris, aiding to unblock drain and preventing them from intruding into your home effectively.
  • Chemical drain cleaners containing sodium hydroxide or sulfuric acid break down organic matter.
  • Baking soda and vinegar can prevent build up by loosening grime when combined to cause a fizzing chemical reaction.
  • Boiling water can be effective in melting fat and dissolving grease blockages.

Nonetheless, DIY drain-clearing methods can be risky and ineffective for severe clogs. Chemical cleaners may damage plumbing and emit hazardous fumes in enclosed spaces. Using augers or pressure jets on apartment main lines risks damaging the plumbing.

Professional equipment and the expert approach of trained plumbers are essential for effective maintenance of water systems:

  • Clearing blockages in shared waste stacks or main sewer lines that affect numerous units.
  • Clogs caused by invasive tree roots or collapsed pipes requiring repair.
  • High-pressure water jetting can thoroughly remove grease, soap scum, hair, and debris from pipes.
  • CCTV drain inspections to identify underlying issues.
  • Preventive maintenance programmes to minimise blockage recurrence.

Punctual and ready, our team of expert licensed plumbers at Marsfield Plumbing services the Lower North Shore, equipped with specialised tools and knowledge to quickly and safely resolve apartment drain blockages. Get in touch by phone or email to learn more about our drain cleaning and maintenance plans tailored for apartments and strata properties, where we went above beyond to address your needs.

Our around-the-clock emergency plumbing services are at the ready to repair your water heater, sustain ideal water pressure, and maintain cleanliness during any plumbing issues.

DIY Solutions vs. Professional Drain Services

Expert Methods for Severe Blockages

Facing severe or recurring drain blockages that surpass DIY methods, the expertise of professional plumbers and their advanced tools is crucial for effectively resolving the problem and ensuring proper flow.

High-pressure hydro jetting, with water jets that can reach up to 4,000 PSI, cleanses pipe interiors, clearing long-standing build-ups of grease, hair, and debris that DIY tools often aren’t capable of handling.

Mechanical Drain Snakes

Electric or hand crank augers fitted with robust cables can quickly work their way through drains to fragment and remove clogs. Longer cables can reach blockages further down main lines. The strength of professional drain snakes outmatches the capacity of consumer-grade models.

CCTV Drain Inspections

Miniature cameras provide a precise diagnosis of blockages and any associated pipe damage, enabling experts to tailor subsequent actions to fully resolve the issue.

For apartment buildings, professional methods like hydro jetting prevent damage to shared pipes during drain cleaning. Plumbers can also access clogs in plumbing pipes in main sewer lines that residents can’t reach. Boasting over a decade of experience in plumbing maintenance, Marsfield Plumbing can accomplish your job with promptness, ensuring the blockage is rectified at a reasonable price.

When facing stubborn or repeated clogs where DIY attempts fall short, seeking professional assistance becomes imperative.

High-Pressure Hydro Jetting

Preventive Maintenance Tips

Taking proactive steps to maintain drains is one of the best ways apartment residents and property managers can help prevent annoying and costly blockages.

It’s recommended that residents gain insights into proper drainage usage and waste disposal to prevent clogs. Provide tips like:

  • Avoid pouring oils, grease, and food scraps down drains to prevent common blockages.
  • Install mesh drain screens in sinks and tubs to catch hair and debris.
  • Promptly report signs of slow drainage, low water pressure, potential leaks, or bad smells.

Display notices in shared spaces and in strata communications. Strata managers might furthermore conduct informational sessions for residents.

Inspect and Service All Drains

Arrange for CCTV pipe inspections to proactively identify any issues and assess pipe conditions. Professionals often work in tandem with water authorities to methodically hydro jet drains, effectively clearing any potential obstructions.

Root Cutting for Older Buildings

Tree root infiltration is one of the common plumbing concerns in ageing systems. Qualified arborists can eradicate intrusive tree roots and install barriers to safeguard plumbing.

Repair Broken Pipes and Joints

Facing challenges like cracked pipes, misaligned joints, and faulty fixtures, As leading Lower North Shore specialists, we advocate for swift professional intervention to prevent blockages. Undertaking timely repairs can prevent escalations, protecting from additional harm.

Strata regulations typically dictating that licensed professionals address serious communal plumbing concerns. Contact our Marsfield plumbing team to discuss customised maintenance plans for your apartment block and discover why our sts service comes highly recommended.


Blocked drains in apartment buildings are an unfortunate but common occurrence that requires prompt attention. As outlined in this guide, a few key takeaways can help residents and property managers prevent and effectively address drainage issues:

  • Recognise the primary causes such as hair, grease, tree roots, and foreign materials clogging communal pipes.
  • Establish clear responsibilities among landlords, strata managers, and tenants for repair duties.
  • Act quickly at the initial signs of a blocked drain to reduce the risk of damage and inconvenience.
  • Use professional hydro jetting, snaking, and CCTV inspections for serious or recurring clogs.
  • Adopt consistent maintenance practices including the use of drain screens, pipe repairs, and regular inspections.
  • Educate residents on proper plumbing usage to avoid misuse.

The seasoned plumbers at Marsfield Plumbing are equipped to adeptly handle any apartment blockage, ensuring outstanding results. Our dedication to 24/7 emergency responses and bespoke maintenance programs guarantees smooth operation of your plumbing systems.

Resolve minor drainage concerns swiftly to prevent them from becoming major building-wide issues.

Contact us to discuss your plumbing needs with a leading firm dedicated to customer satisfaction and transparent costs for all services.

News & Information

Tankless Water Heaters Good Option Home?
Are Tankless Water Heaters a Good Option for Your Home?

Tankless water heaters, also called on-demand or instantaneous water heaters, provide hot water without the need for a storage tank. They are very energy efficient as they only heat water when needed, saving homeowners money on energy bills over traditional storage tank heaters.

Mixing Valves & Installed?
What Are Mixing Valves & Do I Need One Installed?

Mixing valves, also called tempering or thermostatic mixing valves, blend hot and cold water to provide a constant, safe outlet temperature to showers and taps. Installing one prevents scalding and ensures compliance with safety regulations for businesses and care facilities.

’ Trenchless Relining?
What’s Trenchless Relining?

Trenchless relining is a modern method of repairing damaged underground pipes without excavation. This trenchless process creates a new pipe within your existing one for a fraction of traditional repair costs. Learn more about trenchless relining from Marsfield Plumbing.

Do you need a Marsfield plumber?



Marsfield, 2122 NSW

Contact Our Plumbers

We will call back as soon as possible.

Call Now!