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Most people ignore the plumbing system because it largely remains out of sight.

While your home may appear vibrant and beautiful, a clogged drain can affect the property’s value while bringing daily life to a standstill. Even a small blockage can turn into a major problem with time, leading to leakages or burst pipes, the only solution for which is expensive renovations.

Plus, you wouldn’t want the peaceful atmosphere at home ruined by the smell of stagnant waste in the pipelines. To live a healthy life, make sure that you’re aware of the common causes of a clogged drain for a quick fix.

Common Causes Of Clogged Drains

To help you unclog a drain quickly, we have listed down the common causes of a blocked drain:

Washing Scraps Sink Blocked Drain

1. Tree Roots

If your home’s area has sufficient vegetation, you may chance upon some wildlife. At the same time, it might also result in tree roots invading the pipelines, especially in older homes.

You can usually find a tree root invasion when the pipes emit a gurgling sound. This is because roots are attracted to moisture, and sewer pipes or drains are an easy source of water for most trees.

If you live in a wooded area, remember to conduct a video inspection every few years, as the cost of repairs is significantly higher than preventing the problem.

2. Tissue And Toilet Paper

Toilet paper is one of the significant contributors to blocked drains in Australia, but the bigger problem is safely disposing of sanitary products, like flushable wipes. Despite being labelled flushable, they don’t disintegrate and end up clogging the pipes, bringing waste disposal to a standstill.

Similarly, numerous strands of thick toilet paper, facial tissues, paper towels, and light cardboards block drains, exceeding the capacity of the plumbing system to accept these wastes.

3. Hygiene And Baby Products

We found that feminine hygiene and baby products contain cotton fibres that make them non-biodegradable. It would be best to permanently dispose of them responsibly rather than flushing them down the toilet.

This promotes good hygiene and, most importantly, prevents blockages as other wastes stick to the fibres, forming tough clogs that are challenging to remove.

4. Oil, Grease And Fat

Fat, grease and oil wastes usually clog the pipes in kitchens because that’s where people wash their dirty utensils, causing food wastes to get stuck in the pipeline. These are sticky substances, and once a layer of fat or grease builds up, it grabs hold of other wastes to magnify the clog.

The best place to dispose of leftover food is in the dustbin. But we can’t tell you the number of times we found steak trimmings, vegetable oil, chocolate, and cream inside drain pipes.

5. Hair

Pulling Hair Drain Blue Glove

A common substance that you’ll find inside blocked drains is hair, be it in the kitchen plumbing system or the bathroom. While it’s not possible to control hair loss, regularly clearing the sinks and mouth of the drain pipes will keep the water flowing smoothly.

When hair starts accumulating, it sticks to soap scum and other sticky substances, reducing the diameter of the pipes. Usually, using drain cleaners containing sulfuric acid or a drain snake can help you remove tough clogs, or you could install drain screens.

6. Pipe Scale

No matter how much you maintain the pipes, they will deteriorate after several years, especially due to pipe scaling. This can happen when the mineral content in the water is high, resulting in metallic deposits, like calcium and magnesium, that disrupt normal water flow.

We have even found instances where mineral deposition affects the performance of appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers.

7. Disintegration

With time, pipes will disintegrate, and you’ll have to opt for pipe relining or replace the damaged pipeline to keep the plumbing system in good condition. This is common in older homes, having concrete, terracotta, or clay pipes, whereby the soil underneath the plumbing system erodes, which causes the pipes to sink.

The joints break apart, or the pipes may crack if the temperature reaches freezing levels. Even when you use modern pipes featuring durable plastic, changes to the soil structure will deteriorate.

8. Vegetation

We have mentioned how tree roots can find their way into the plumbing system, but that’s not the only thing you need to worry about. Sticks, debris, dirt, and leaves can also clog the pipes, making it challenging to detect blockages.

The best thing you can do is keep the yard clean, disposing of wastes in the trash rather than down the sewer drain.

9. Household Objects

It’s not surprising to find household objects like jewellery, dental floss, or kids’ toys stuck in the pipeline, leading to slow drainage. If the clog is deep inside the pipes, you’ll have to contact a professional company that will inspect the drain with a camera before beginning repairs.

10. Slope

Sometimes the construction of plumbing systems isn’t correct, which leads to drain blockages. This happens when plumbers miscalculate the slope of the sewer and water pipes, inhibiting the smooth flow of wastes.

The standard pitch of all drain pipes should be ¼-inch per foot, allowing gravity to direct the wastes away from the house.

11. Overloaded And Undersized Pipes

Speaking of construction issues, plumbers often install smaller pipes than needed, increasing the pipeline load. Depending on your needs and the size of the family, you may have to opt for pipes larger than 4 inches in diameter for efficient plumbing.

You can tell if the pipeline is overloaded when the septic system becomes stagnant, producing a foul smell. It may even cause the pipes to burst, leading to leakages in some cases.

Common Appliances To Look After

All the appliances and pipes in the plumbing system are interconnected, so here are some of the fixtures and appliances that need timely maintenance:

Fixing Pipe Blocked Toilet

  • Kitchen and bathroom sink.
  • Septic tank
  • Water heaters
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers
  • Sprinkler and irrigation systems
  • Bathtub
  • Shower

Also, ask the licensed plumber to check the pipes’ seals, joints, and couplings, making reinforcements wherever necessary.

Main Causes Of Blocked Drains

You know about the significant problem areas if you’re struggling with clogged drains.

Reading this guide will help you identify the issue and call a plumber ASAP to restore the plumbing system to its former condition. We recommend not making any repairs yourself, as it’s straightforward to damage the pipes further, leading to additional costs.

However, you can use homegrown techniques, like pouring boiling water or baking soda and vinegar solution to free small clogs.

If none of these methods works, you can reach out to us. Woolf Plumbing & Gas has cleared blocked drains in Perth for years, providing businesses and homeowners prompt and reliable service. So, contact us today!

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Ashley Woolf

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