The slow flow rate in your drains and blocked pipes might start as minor problems but are known to develop into major disasters quickly. A clogged drain usually causes only slow drainage, but it can lead to more serious damage, such as corrosion, cracks in pipes, flooding, and quite expensive repairs in the end.
The key lies in prevention by recognising the common causes of blocked drains and fixing them in a timely manner.
So, what causes blocked drains in your property?
Here are the most frequent causes of blocked drains and cures for them.
Hair and soap build-up
Hair and soap build-up are the most frequent culprits for blocked drains. Together, they create a combination that is thick and very sticky, so all other dirt and debris gets attached to it. Your best option is to do whatever you can to prevent it from building up by using drain guards and by clearing the drains regularly.
It might be surprising to some people how soap can cause clogs, but most traditional soaps are still made with fat or grease, and when it is combined with minerals in the water, it leaves a hard residue that blocks the pipes and stains the fittings. To avoid this, you might want to switch to using soap-free body washes in the future.
Drains, sinks and toilets are designed to take down only water, toilet paper and human waste. However, small objects still find their way down the drains, due to recklessness and negligence, and create chaos. They block the drain and cause overflowing and flooding, so if you can’t remove the block yourself with a plunger or plumber’s snake, call for professional help to return things back to normal.
Stormwater and tree roots
Blocked sewer and stormwater pipes can cause quite a headache and it’s rarely something you can easily fix by yourself. Accessing the blockage usually calls for professional equipment and sometimes partial or full excavation, so it’s best you leave it to professional plumbers. Even the smallest cracks in the underground pipes can get infested with tree roots that obstruct the water flow and damage the pipes. Clearing this is a complex job, so you’ll want an experienced plumber to tackle the problem, who has an extensive range of excavation equipment and knowledge to tackle such serious problems.
Even if you have a garbage disposal installed in your kitchen sink, food waste shouldn’t be let down the drain. A better, safer and greener option is to have a composting pile. This is particularly suitable for waste that doesn’t break down, such as coffee grounds, tea leaves, grease and used cooking oil. The latter two will solidify inside the pipes and create a blockage, so a much better option for disposing of them is absorbing them with a paper towel and throwing it in the compost pile.
In areas with hard water, it’s not unusual to have minerals that dissolve in water, build up and create an insoluble mass that can easily block your drain. You can try installing a water softener, but if that’s not an option, you’ll have to remove the sediment yourself on a regular basis. If it proves too difficult to remove with your tools and knowledge, turn to professionals for help.
Toilet paper build-up
Sometimes even toilet paper can clog the drain. If there’s too much build-up, it will not allow the water to run through when flushed. You can try using a plunger to move and dissolve some of the paper build-up, but if the water keeps filling up without draining, it means the blockage is too thick and you should get a plumber to help.
With so many possible causes of blocked drains, your best option is to prevent the clogs in the first place. Make sure you never allow unwanted objects down the drain and avoid cleaning them using more chemicals and various objects. If things get out of hand and turn into emergency plumbing situations, do not hesitate to rely on professional help.