Clogged drains and blocked pipes may start as minor issues but can quickly escalate into major problems. A clogged drain can cause slow water drainage, corrosion, flooding, and, in extreme cases, sewage backup and costly repairs. Preventing them starts with recognizing how the causes of clogged drains. Below are the 8 most common household causes of clogged drains and how you can prevent and fix them.
Hair is a big culprit for drain blockages, as it can bind with grease and other sticky substances to form clogs. The best way to deal with hair blockages is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Ensure all drains have guards to catch hair and clear these regularly.
You may wonder how soap can cause a blockage in your pipes. But traditional soap bars are actually made with grease or fat. The fat in the soap combines with minerals in water and leaves a hard residue (known as soap scum) that stains bath fittings and clogs pipes. Switch to soap free washes and then have your pipes pressure cleaned to remove traces of soap buildup.
You may think your drain and pipes are there for washing anything away. But while you want to get excess dirt off you and your clothes, it can build up and cause issues in your drains. Shake or rinse excess dirt and mud off your clothes and body outside before washing them inside.
4. Food Waste
Food waste should never go down the drain, even when you have a garbage disposal in your sink. Instead, set up a composting pile to get rid of food waste. This is particularly important for waste like tea leaves and coffee grounds that don’t break down. Other foods to be cautious of include grease or oil as they will solidify in the pipes and cause a blockage. Instead, absorb oil on a paper towel and throw it in the compost.
5. Mineral Buildup
Minerals dissolved in hard water can build up and cause insoluble masses that will easily block your drains. One solution is installing a water softener for your home if hard water is a problem in your area. If that’s not an option, you will need to regularly descale and remove sediment and build up. Mineral buildup clogs can be difficult to remove once established, so call your professional plumber if your drains and pipes no longer seem to be flowing.
6. Small Objects
Small objects can find their way into your plumbing supply and wreak havoc. Nothing but water, toilet paper, and human waste should go down your toilet, drain, or sink. Any other object should be disposed of responsibly in the trash, compost, or recycling. If any foreign matter has gotten into your plumbing supply and is causing issues, you’ll likely need professional help to remove it and ensure your plumbing returns to normal.
7. Toilet Paper Buildup
Too much toilet paper can clog your drains and stop your toilets from flushing. If water can still run through your toilet when flushed, you can use a plunger to shift and dissolve some of the toilet paper. But if your toilet just fills without draining, you’ll need to call a plumber to take care of the blockage for you.
8. Tree Roots
The smallest cracks or leaks in your underground pipes can attract tree root growth. Once inside your pipes tree roots quickly grow larger, obstructing water flow and causing pipe damage. Clearing tree roots from pipes can be complex and require rooter service, pressure jet cleaning, trenchless repair, or even excavation. Review the root structure of your trees and plants and monitor the condition of your drains to prevent an extensive and costly repair.
With so many causes of clogged drains, the best way to fix them is to prevent them from being clogged in the first place. Never put anything you shouldn’t down the drain and avoid trying to clear drains by adding more chemicals or objects. And if your clogged drains turn into an emergency requiring help from an experienced plumber, contact Magnificent Plumbing and Rooter for assistance around the clock.