One of the things we dread seeing is water not going down the drain. We can predict that the next thing is the bath or sink will overflow, become slimy, maybe smelly, and just unbearable to look at. Despite how revolting it is, it’s a common problem, and no matter how much we fear it, we often can’t seem avoid it. Clogged drains are very common not only in household residences but also on industrial and commercial fronts as well. Often it is the frequency at which the toilet is used or flushed or a poorly done plumbing work contributing the most to the problem. What’s many people don’t believe is that as a homeowner, you also contribute a lot to a clogged drain. There are things that we do and things that we fail to do that are major factors in a clogged drain.

Apart from the inconvenience associated a clogged drain, there are numerous health issues related. Therefore it is really quite important to put measures into place that can reduce a clogged drain. In this article, we’ll highlight and discuss some of the main causes of a clogged drain and how you can avoid them altogether.

8 Major Reasons for Clogged Drains

1.    Hair

Hair Blocking PipesThis is one of the major causes of a clogged drain in many homes. People love shaving in the bathroom and it’s easiest to flush all the hair down the drain. It may look small and harmless at first glance but with time, the hair will build up and cause a dreadful and disgusting drain clog. You can avoid this by taking precautionary measures and practice reducing the amount of hair going down the drain. First, make sure you do not rinse the hair down the drain after shaving. Second, you can install a device that traps the hair before it goes into your drain, like a double drain system. This small adjustment will drastically help in reducing the chances of hair clogging your drain.

2.    Grease

This is a common, nasty cause of clogged drains and pipes. Similar to hair, grease does not clog the system instantly and doesn’t look so bad at the time. It takes a while for the oil to build up before it blocks the system and it can cause an extremely tough clog. Most grease and oil components come from kitchens after fatty substances are washed in the sink. The thick, fatty oil residue collects on the sides of the pipes and will build up to a point where no liquid can pass. With fluctuating temperatures it can be even worse. In cold temperatures oil clogs will happen much easier because the oil thickens and blocks the passageway much quicker. First you’ll experience a slow suction in the sink, then no draining whatsoever, leading to a terribly clogged system. Try your best to avoid washing fatty food and oil remnants down the drain. You can also install grease traps in the piping to catch the fat before it gets into the sewer pipes.

3.    Plants

Tree Roots on DrainsIf you have plants surrounding your home, they are also a possible contributor of having your external drainage system clogged. Debris from trees, leaves and shrubs can be an issue for water drains, and they can easily cause a blockage if they come in contact with the pipes. Aside from the debris itself, be very mindful of tree roots, especially if you have large trees in your backyard or land area. The tree roots search for water and they are likely to penetrate through the ground and can block the pipes. To avoid plant matter causing drain issues you can consistently clean your backyard or general land area of all leaves and debris. You can also plan your sewer line accordingly to ensure that it does not pass close to the trees or you can use chemical inhibiting root growth products around the sewer line.

4.  Broken Pipe

Once a pipe has broken, it will allow for foreign materials to seep into your drainage system. This could be anything from soil to stones or any other material outdoors. The excess materials build up and make it very difficult for liquid to pass through. There are many reasons for broken pipes with general wear and tear being the leading cause. If you have trees in your compound, they can be another cause of broken pipes, which we touched on above. Blocked drains caused by broken or collapsed pipes are some of the most difficult plumbing problems to diagnose, and to fix. Unless you can visibly see the broken pipe, which can often be impossible without major overhauling, it will be challenging to tell where the problem is located. Sometimes, above ground, you may see a pool of water or if located above grass then maybe a greener area along the sewer line indicating where the problem is.

5.    Toiletries

Another leading cause of clogged drains these days is toiletry and sanitary items. The number of things we just mindlessly toss down the drain has increased significantly in past years, which has also increased the chances of having a pipe or sewer clogged. Diapers, nappies, baby wipes, napkin, feminine products, sanitary products, these are all incredibly common toiletries causing the most drain blockages. These types of toiletries double in size when they’ve absorbed water, causing drain blockages fairly quickly. The only way that you can put a stop to this mess is by disposing of the toiletries in a separate bin or garbage. Stop putting these down the drain altogether.

6.    Torrential Rain and Storms

Flooded DrainHeavy rains are notorious for drain blockages. This happens when there are floods that bring foreign objects into the drain system. This can be anything at all, garbage that’s flown up off the streets, toys from a child’s yard, it really could be any item. If any of these objects build-up in the sewer line, they will definitely cause a blockage to the system. In some cases, the floodwater can be too much for the drain to accommodate, and the build-up will affect the general flow. If the floods are not cleared immediately, you will have a back-up problem with your drain system where dirty water begins to come up and overflow into the sink, out of the drain. If you realize that there is an overflow in the down pipes and gutters, there is a definitely a blockage that needs to be cleared. This is one of the hardest problems to prevent, as it is Mother Nature working her magic on our well-kept homes. The best ways to avoid this problem is by clearing the gutters after every single rainfall or as often as possible during rainy seasons to prevent the build-up of debris and leaves. If storms have caused a major problem, call a professional plumber to help unclog.

7.    Bad Installation

It’s very important to hire a professional plumber when installing your drain system. A good number of drain blockages are caused by poor initial installation. There are numerous considerations that must be made to ensure that your sewer system has the ability to accommodate everything coming in and out of your house. For example, if the pipes are small in diameter, they might be unable to handle pressure, and this can definitely result in blocking. This is likely to happen if you hire an inexperienced plumber to handle the job. That is only one simple consideration amongst the vast checklist one must complete when installing a new drain system. Avoid DIY methods and hiring inexperienced plumbers. Go for a professional, established plumber so you can avoid such problems.

8.    Types of Pipes

You should be very mindful of the types of pipes used in your sewer line. The pipes can often be the reason why a drain system becomes blocked. For instance, in some suburban areas of Brisbane, in Australia, clay pipes have been used for the sewer line. Though it was done many years back, the system remains in use. These pipes are quite hard and brittle and will crack when subject to some force. In most cases, they get crushed by tree roots that we touched on above, or even by the weight of the soil. If your system has these kinds of pipes, make sure you have them replaced, or installed an entirely new system.