5 Leading Causes of a Blocked Drain and What to Do
Blocked drains are a nightmare which can bring your home to a standstill.
Apart from not being able to flush your business down the toilet, you may find last night’s dinner scraps being regurgitated in the kitchen sink, or an awful odour lingering throughout your home.
Clogged drains are time consuming, expensive to fix, and carry harmful bacteria that puts you and your family at risk. A blocked drain can cause slow water drainage, corrosion, flooding, and in extreme cases, sewage backup.
However, this doesn’t mean you’re sitting around waiting for the inevitable to happen. It is better to be proactive than reactive and with the right knowledge, you can prevent your drains from getting blocked.
Here’s what you need to know.
What causes a blocked drain?
In order to prevent a blocked drain, you must first understand what causes it.
1 – Cooking oil poured down the kitchen sink
One of the leading causes of a blocked drain and pipe is the build-up of grease and fat from the leftover cooking oil you pour down your sink. This fatty substance sticks to the inside of the pipe and eventually builds up to a point where no liquids can pass through. It can also cause other items such as food scraps to get caught.
2 – Food scraps washed down the kitchen sink
Remember to always bin any leftover food scraps first before attempting to wash your plate. Foods such as pasta, rice, cereal or any other food type that expands when wet will get caught in the pipes and cause a blockage.
3 – Hair
Hair falling off the body in the shower or while getting ready over the basin is one of the most common causes of a blocked drain. Sticky residue left behind by certain soaps acts as the perfect hair trap and can result in a blockage.
4 – Clogged gutters, leaves, plants and dirt
Natural debris including leaves, dirt, and branches can often get caught in your gutters and block water drains and pipes. Other culprits that aren’t quite visible on the surface are tree roots that grow underneath in search for water and usually end up at your drains as shown in this video below.
5 – Sanitary items flushed down the toilet
A huge contribution to not only blocked drains but also municipal wastewater systems are the notorious wet wipes or baby wipes. Despite the packaging listing the items as flushable, they absorb water and expand, causing massive blockages.
How to prevent blocked drains?
Now that you have a fair idea of what causes a clogged drain, it’s time to discover how to prevent a plumbing crisis.
- Collect all your leftover cooking oil/grease into an old coffee container or jar until its full and then throw it in the bin. – (link to fatberg article)
- Throw any leftover food scraps into the bin or compost before washing your dishes. The same process applies when loading up the dishwasher.
- If you’re a coffee lover who grind their own beans, don’t wash the coffee grounds down the sink and instead bin them or add them to your mulch pile.
- Regularly clean entry points of your drain in your bathroom sinks, showers and baths to remove any hair build-up.
- Don’t flush wet wipes, paper towels or any other sanitary products down the toilet.
- Regularly clean your gutters during the wet season to prevent build-up of natural debris.
How to take care of your drains
Looking after your drains is an essential step in preventing them from getting clogged.
– DIY cleaner
You can try using a natural DIY cleaner consisting of bicarb soda and white vinegar. Simply pour the bicarb soda into the drain, followed by the vinegar and then cover the drain to prevent the mixture from bubbling out. You may need to repeat this process a few times to get rid of blockages entirely. Finish it off by flushing your pipes with hot water to remove any remaining residue. It’s a good idea to carry this out before they block, as it will aid in keeping your drain clear and smelling fresh.
– Chemical cleaner
Another method is using a caustic chemical drain cleaner which can be bought at your local hardware store. However, we suggest using these chemicals sparingly as they are quite harmful to the environment and would advise using ones that are only environmentally friendly, such as a bio enzymatic drain cleaner, which has been proven to be highly effective in preventing grease blockages.
– Good ol’ plunger
A classic method of removing blockages is the trusty plunger. Be sure to cover any overflow spouts before you begin plunging to ensure its airtight. A plunger helps loosen any blockages in your pipes but is not very effective against grease build-ups.
– Don’t stress, leave it to us
At Gillies Group, we are always happy to assist our clients, both residential and commercial, with clearing blocked drains or any other plumbing issues. We understand that different clients have different budgets and needs which is taken into consideration at all times. We pride ourselves on being reliable, punctual, honest and standby all our work. Don’t get blocked by your plumbing, contact Gillies Group today.