Tips and Advice

During the COVID-19 lockdown, household toilets are under increased pressure. With many South Australian families having to make do with alternative toilet paper products, disposing of them with a flush. Here we look at the 5 things you should never flush down the toilet and how you can diagnose a blocked toilet.

Blocked drains are unpleasant, smelly and can cause disfunction at your property. During the COVID-19 lockdown, we’re spending many more hours at home and that includes more time on the loo. Your household’s plumbing is under more pressure to deal with the amount of flushing that now goes on. The average person flushes about 5 times a day. For a family of four, this means 20 flushes a day.

To make things tougher on South Australian families, the shortages of toilet paper we face have meant, in many cases, we are reaching for alternative toilet paper products such as tissues, wipes or napkins and disposing them down the household loo too.

These issues combined have led to a 20% increase in toilet blockages according to SA Water and the Master Plumbers Association.

5 things you should never flush down the toilet

It’s an ideal time to remind the people in your household what can and cannot be flushed down the loo to avoid unnecessary plumbing services due to blocked drains.

SA Water recently launched a campaign to educate the community about “fatbergs” – clumps of waste that form in drains and sewers from items that should never have been flushed down the toilet. Fatbergs cost SA Water over $400,000 a year to remove. To make light of a rather unattractive topic, they’ve even come out with a fun new jingle about the 3P’s of what can be flushed down the toilet!

Closer to home, non-decomposing items can cause major sewer blockages and result in a call to the plumber. Have a good chat with the members of your household about the following items that should never go down the toilet.

  1. Tissues – these might seem like a good alternative but take much longer to break down than toilet paper
  2. Baby wipes – they may be good in the clean up but harsh on your plumbing. They are not designed to break down.
  3. Flushable wipes – often thought to be the ideal choice, they are guilty of being a serious issue for blocked drains in homes.
  4. Paper towels – many people think it’s ok to pop these down the toilet, but again these are not designed to break down easily and will clog your plumbing.
  5. Sanitary products – never put these products down the toilet, always dispose of in a bin.

Have a go at the ‘flushability’ test, set aside two bowls of water. Place toilet paper in one and place one of the above items in another and monitor the time it takes for them to breakdown. Unless the items decompose at the rate of the toilet paper, they should be placed in the bin rather than down the loo.

So what can I flush down the toilet?

Toilet paper – that’s it folks!

If it’s been tough going trying to buy rolls out of toilet paper and must use paper wipes or other products, keep a small bin in the bathroom and pop the used paper in the bin. Yes, you’ll make a few extra trips to the big bin outside every day, but that’s a small price to pay for what could end up being an expensive inconvenience. It won’t be forever; you’ll save your plumbing and you’ll be kinder to the environment.

Common signs your toilet is blocked

There a couple of common signs that indicate block drains:

  • Smelly odours
  • Water draining too slowly
  • The water in the toilet is being sucked back after flushing
  • Making gurgling sounds
  • Water level is higher or lower than normal or toilet bowl is overflowing with water

These are all signs you may have a blockage that needs to be attended to.

Got a blocked drain? Call Plumfast when you need a plumber fast.

If your plumbing is struggling to cope with the amount of people in your household during COVID-19 lockdown, or you have blocked toilet or blocked drains. Call Plumfast on 8281 7783 or book online.