BlogCommon Causes of Blocked Drains

5 Common Causes of Blocked Drains & How to Prevent Them 

If you’ve got a drain that is slowly emptying, gurgling, or starting to emit some not so nice scents, you may have a blocked drain. If multiple drains are having the same issue, this may be a sign that something more serious is going on. Let’s explore the 6 common causes of blocked drains and how you can prevent them. 

#1. Food Waste

Although the garbage disposal may seem like the perfect place to throw away small food scraps that you don’t want sitting in your bin causing a stink, there are several food products that should not be thrown into the disposal. Take coffee grounds and tea leaves for example – these products do not break down and can get stuck in your pipes, especially if you’ve got grease, fats, and oils already building up that will turn solid in the drain.  

Our recommended way of prevention is to try your hand at composting and use a paper towel to wipe out any grease, oil, or fat that may remain on plates and pans before washing. 

#2. Hair

The most common cause of blocked drains in your bath or shower, human hair and animal fur can be particularly bad when it starts to knot up and combine with other substances such as soap. Even with short hair, you may be adding to the problem. Easy prevention for hair build up in your pipes is to install a drain catcher. They’re affordable and easy to take on and off for cleaning. If you’ve already got a blockage, drain cleaners should dissolve hair, though a call to your local plumber at Impact Plumbing might be in order for larger blockages. 

#3. Foreign Objects

Young children are notorious for trying to flush toys and other objects down the toilet. While they may get joy out of seeing the water swirl around their stuffed toy, it won’t be fun for you when the toilet starts to overflow and your drains become blocked. Unfortunately for parents, this is not always an easy fix and may require your local plumber to fix and replace your pipes. 

Understanding that it can be hard to teach a child not to flush foreign objects down the loo, we recommend baby-proofing the toilet lid until they are old enough to understand the consequences of them wreaking havoc on the plumbing system. 

#4. Soap

You see it build up on your shower door, but did you know that soap residue (also known as soap scum) can accumulate over time in your drains and cause a blockage? Most commonly occurring in bathrooms and laundries, soap scum will continue to build up, narrowing the pipe passage for water to let out. 

Traditional soap bars are actually made with grease and fat, so switching to a soap-free solution could be the key to keeping your drains unblocked. 

#5. Natural Debris & Tree Roots

As the trees and plants in your yard grow, they may slowly be creeping closer and closer to the drains that keep your household running. If there’s already a tiny crack in the pipes, tree roots will work their way in and continue to grow, obstructing your pipes and causing damage to your plumbing system. 

Additionally, fallen leaves, soil, and even extra rainwater if there’s been a recent storm are likely to block pipes and slow your drains. Keeping up with home maintenance, particularly during autumn, can save you from damaged and blocked drains in the future. With trees, think about the size it may grow to over its lifetime and ensure there’s plenty of spacing between the tree and your property’s pipelines. 


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