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 become a significant 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, ensure you’re aware of the common causes of a clogged drain for a quick fix.
Here are the most common causes of blocked drains and some tips on addressing them.
Common Causes Of Clogged Drains
To help you unclog a drain quickly, we have listed down the common causes of a 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 underground pipes emit a gurgling sound. This is because roots attract moisture, and sewer pipes or drains are an easy water source for most trees. Tree roots grow quickly inside pipes, obstructing water flow and damaging pipes. You will often notice low water pressure or slow drains.
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 cause pipe blockage, bringing waste disposal to a standstill.
Similarly, too much paper, facial tissues, baby wipes, paper towels, and light cardboard cause drain blockage, exceeding the capacity of the drainage systems to accept these wastes.
The only things you should flush down your toilet, drain, or sink are water and human waste. Other foreign objects should be responsibly discarded in the trash, composted, or recycled in the garbage disposal.
Generally, you can use a plunger, toilet auger, or chemical drain cleaner to fix a toilet paper blockage. If water is still flowing through your toilet after flushing, these fixes may be able to help. However, you must contact a plumbing company in the case of more severe blockages.
3. Hygiene And Baby Products
We found that feminine hygiene products, such as sanitary items 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 cause a blockage in kitchens because that’s where people wash their dirty utensils, causing food wastes to get stuck in the pipeline. Food scraps are sticky substances, and once a layer of fat or grease builds up, it grabs hold of other wastes to magnify the clog.
The dustbin is the best place to dispose of leftover food or waste. But we can’t tell you the number of times we found steak trimmings, coffee grounds, tea leaves, vegetable oil, chocolate, cream, and other food waste and small objects inside blocked pipes.
Dishwashing liquid disperses minor oil residue when it enters the drain. Put boiling hot water and dishwashing detergent in your sink drain if you suspect fat residue is blocking it. If you want to try a different natural cleaning remedy, you can also use bicarb soda and vinegar.
A common substance inside blocked drains is hair in the kitchen sink or the bathroom. While it’s impossible to control hair loss, regularly clearing the sinks and mouth of the drain will keep the water flowing smoothly.
When strands of hair accumulate and tangle together, it sticks to soap scum and other sticky substances, reducing the diameter of the pipes. To remove soap build-up from your lines, switch to soap-free washes and pressure clean them. Usually, using drain cleaners containing sulfuric acid or a drain snake can help you remove tough clogs such as hair blockages, or you could install drain screens on the drain openings. Or you can simply hire a drain cleaning service that will use a pressure jet cleaning system.
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.
With time, pipes will disintegrate, and you’ll have to opt for pipe relining or replace the damaged pipeline to keep the sewage backup and in good condition. This is common in older homes, having concrete, terracotta, or clay pipes, whereby the soil underneath the drainage lines erodes, which causes the pipes to sink.
The joints break apart, or the pipes may break if the temperature reaches freezing. Even when you use modern pipes featuring durable plastic, changes to the soil structure will deteriorate.
We have mentioned how tree roots can find their way into the pipe 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 system that could lead to clogged pipes.
9. Household Objects
It’s not surprising to find household objects like jewellery, dental floss, children’s toys, and other small solid objects that get stuck in the pipeline, leading to slow drainage. If the drain clogs deep inside the pipes, you’ll need professional help from an experienced plumber who will inspect the drain with a camera before beginning repairs.
Sometimes poor installation or the construction of plumbing systems isn’t correct, which leads to drain blockages. This happens when plumbers miscalculate the slope of the sewer line and water pipes, inhibiting the smooth flow of waste.
The standard pitch of all drain pipes should be ¼-inch per foot, allowing gravity to direct the waste 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 supply.
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, sometimes leading to leakages.
Common Appliances To Look After
All the appliances and pipes in the drainage system are interconnected, so here are some of the fixtures and appliances that need timely maintenance:
- Kitchen sinks and bathroom sinks.
- Septic tank
- Hot water heater
- Heating and cooling systems
- Appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers
- Sprinkler and irrigation systems
Also, ask a professional 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. Clogged drains can result in water leaks, corrosion, slow water drainage, flooding, and even burst pipes if left untreated.
Reading this guide will help you identify the issue and call a licensed plumber ASAP to restore your water drains and pipes to their former condition. We recommend not making any repairs yourself, as damaging the pipes further is straightforward, leading to additional costs.
However, you can use homegrown techniques, like pouring boiling water or baking soda and vinegar, to free small clogs and prevent build up and excess dirt. But remember, this will not help with plumbing issues like tree root growth.
If none of these methods works, you can reach out to us for all your drainage problems. Woolf Plumbing & Gas has cleared blocked drains in Perth City Beach for years, providing businesses and homeowners with prompt and reliable service. So if you need a quick fix for your plumbing needs and want to avoid costly repairs, contact us today!