10 Causes of Blocked Drains

10 Causes of Blocked Drains

Are your drains draining slowly or not at all? Is there a foul smell emanating from them? If so, you may be experiencing a blocked drain. Luckily for you, clogged drains are one of the most common plumbing problems and are usually easily fixed by professional plumbers. That being said, there are still things you can do to prevent clogs – or at least make sure they’re less common. The first and most important step is to understand what causes blockages.

Causes of Blocked Drains
Everyday use, accidents and mistakes can result in blocked drains. You’re more likely to be able to prevent potential clogged drains if you know what should – and, more importantly, what shouldn’t – be in your drains. Here are ten of the most common causes of blocked drains.

Tree Roots
Tree roots are one of the more insidious causes of blocked drains. You may not know they have taken over your plumbing until it’s too late. Roots can find their way into pipes through tiny cracks and can take over and grow until they’ve breached the pipe. Severely damaged pipes may need replacing as no amount of DIY fixes will keep things working for long.

The only things that should be flushed down a toilet is toilet paper, water and waste. So be sure to put nappies, wipes, sanitary products, tissues, paper towels and other toiletries in the trash.

Foreign Objects
Whether your child has discovered the fun of flushing their toys down the toilet or you accidentally dropped something down the drain, foreign objects in your pipes are a recipe for disaster. They can become lodged in the u-bend or pipes and cut off water flow, causing all kinds of problems.

Cooking Oil
Unless you like spending time with the plumber, tossing your cooking oil down the sink is never a good idea. The viscous liquid can harden onto your pipes, combine into balls of fat and grease or merge with food scraps or other materials and block your drain.

Food Scraps
Whenever possible, throw food scraps in the bin, not the drain. This is especially true for items that don’t break down easily, such as coffee grounds and tea leaves.

Mineral Build-Up
Hard water can have high concentrations of minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium. This can build up in your pipes, reducing their circumference, decreasing water flow and making blockages more common.

Bars of solid soap will often leave a slimy residue in your pipes that takes ages to break down. This soap scum can easily combine with other materials such as food, hair or grease to block your pipes.

It’s no surprise that large clumps of hair can block drains. But even individual strands can cause issues when they mix with other substances such as soap scum or grease.

Natural Debris
Outdoor drains and gutters are prone to blockages caused by things like leaves, dirt, twigs and other natural materials. This is particularly true after large storms or autumnal leaf falls.

Cat Litter
Cat litter naturally clumps together when exposed to liquids, making it great for the litter box but less so for your drains. Be sure to toss it out in the bin rather than down the drains or loo to save your pipes from becoming clogged.

Blocked drains are a common issue, but this doesn’t mean you need to live with them all the time. While some drains can easily be cleared with DIY methods, for larger or stubborn clogs, it’s important to get professional help.