8 Common Causes Of Blocked Drains

There is nothing our plumbers haven’t seen in blocked drains, from foreign objects that have accidentally been dropped down the drain to hair, grease and other gunk.

Blocked drain from wipes

Blocked drains can easily be avoided if you understand how to guard against it, but sometimes using drain cleaners won’t cut it so here’s what you need to know to avoid the problem. If you’re concerned about a drain blockage, here are a few signs to look for:

Hair

As a plumbing service, it’s not uncommon for us to see these issues daily. Most times it’s a relatively easy task that can be handled by the homeowner by using drain cleaners or home remedies or simply removing the hair. Problems start to form when it’s not cleared up straight away. With hair falling off the body into the shower or while getting ready over the sink in the bathroom, it is one of the most common causes of a blocked drain.

You can prevent blocked drains caused by hair by removing a small amount of hair out with gloved hands. To remove hair from your drain before it becomes clogged, cleaning devices such as drain spiders can be used. However, it’s essential to be mindful of what you use, because some tools and cheap hair removal chemicals, make the issue more problematic. It’s imperative to remove the hair when you see it to avoid clogging drain pipes.

Foreign Objects

Whether it’s children’s toys, food scraps, soap or sanitary items, foreign objects can quickly cause blockages. There is an array of materials that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet or put down a drain – nappies and wipes are the two biggest causes of blocked drains – and can result in blockages like the infamous ‘fatberg‘.

Avoidance is the key to healthy drains, so where possible, try to ensure nothing is flush down the toilet other than toilet paper. Toiletries should be disposed of into sanitary bins and dispose of food scraps and waste into your garbage or compost bin – be wary of what might accidentally be dropped down your sink. While we understand that sometimes odd things do go down the drain, the best way to avoid blocked drains is by being mindful of what you’re disposing of and where.

If your drain has already been affected by incorrect disposal methods and you believe foreign objects are causing one or more blocked drains, it is essential to contact your qualified local plumber to repair your blocked drains. Measures should then be taken for proper disposal of any food waste, unwanted items, toiletries and sanitary items.

Plants And Dirt

Water drains are susceptible to natural debris like bark, twigs, roots, dirt and leaves from trees and shrubs. To prevent plants, leaves and dirt causing blocked drains, regular upkeep of your outdoor area is essential. If the debris and leaves are left long enough, they will require the assistance of a plumbing specialists to clear blocked drains.

You also have to be mindful of roots from trees, which are notorious for growing into pipes in search of water and can result in damaged or broken drains. Using a CCTV camera we can ascertain damage and if you need pipe relining. You can try and prevent this by keeping your trees well-watered, so they aren’t drawn to drains looking for moisture, and avoid plants that clog drains where possible, including; oak trees, willow trees, magnolias, palm trees, gum trees and boxwood shrubs. If you do end up with damaged or broken drains, we have specialist pipe relining equipment to clear the blockage and provide long-term structural repair.

 

Blocked Drains – Grease

Oily substances will build up overtime in drains, causing blocked drains if it’s not adequately and regularly treated. Blocked drains and pipes from greasy and fatty substances are not uncommon and can be challenging to clear out. To fix this problem, you will need a professional with experience in professional drain cleaning. To prevent greasy building up, avoid washing fatty ingredients down the drain as much as possible. 

Blocked Drains – Heavy Rain & Storms

During the wet seasons, drain flooding occurs during heavy rainfall. Drains aren’t designed to withhold the impact of this type of weather, which moves excessive amounts of debris into drains. When gutters and down-pipes overflow with rainwater, there is a good chance you have a blocked drain and it needs clearing out.

To avoid this issue during the wet season, prepare your drains by clearing out leaves and debris from gutters and drain entrances, as they will cause significant blockages if left to accumulate over time. Usually, a plumber will be required to unclog blockages and remove wastewater caused by heavy rain and storms. Contacting your local plumber for a home inspection will help prevent potential flooding of your home and yard.

 

Blocked Drains – Broken Pipes

Broken pipes is a common plumbing problem due to tree roots and general wear and tear. Compared to intact pipes, fractured pipes are more susceptible to blockages. Given the lack of visibility, it’s difficult to know if you have broken pipes. An even more significant issue is the lack of space to inspect the compromised pipes adequately.

If you believe that you have had fractured or broken pipes, you must contact a qualified plumber so they can use professional leak detection equipment to check the pipes. The plumber will also check your home for any water staining on the ceiling, which is a leading problem caused by broken pipes. Plumbing repairs involve shutting off the water flow valve, applying a pipe repair clamp and having the damaged section replaced or relined.

 

Poor Water Flow

When your taps are only trickling small amounts of water instead of the normal flow, there is either low water pressure or a flow issue occurring. While not always in the water pipes, it is possible it’s a sign of sediment build up. When water flows through your pipes, it carries dissolved minerals that deposit on metal surfaces which clog shower heads or taps and reduces water pressure.

The best drain cleaner solution to this issue is to clean shower heads in an overnight vinegar solution to remove deposits and sediments. If this isn’t successful, you will require the assistance of your local plumber who will have professional grade drain cleaners.

 

Bad Drainpipe Installation

Blocked drains and pipes can be a costly undertaking if they have been installed poorly. While installing your pipes yourself can save you money, it isn’t ideal and is definitely not recommended, as incorrectly installed pipes can lead to issues including bad water flow, blockages, water leaks and fractured pipes, possibly even property damage. This will cost you more over time. A licensed plumber must always install your drain pipes.

Plumbers specialists understand how to ensure everything is laid both underground and in your walls correctly so that everything flows and blockages are reduced, preventing damage to your plumbing systems and property. If you have already installed pipes and are experiencing issues, have a plumber inspect the pipes and give you recommendations for a healthier drainage system.

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Profile Picture Chris Manariti

Chris Manariti

Chris served several years in the Australian Defence Force and since leaving went on to complete his mature age apprenticeship in plumbing and having been in the industry for many years, has gained a wealth of knowledge in the plumbing industry.

Chris Manariti
Chris Manariti

Chris served several years in the Australian Defence Force and since leaving went on to complete his mature age apprenticeship in plumbing and having been in the industry for many years, has gained a wealth of knowledge in the plumbing industry.

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