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Blocked Drains – Common Causes & How To Deal With Them

Blocked drains are perhaps one of the most common household problems. From hair in the shower drain to a full sink of standing water, these inconvenient blockages certainly interfere with day-to-day life. The good news is simple blockages are often easy enough to tackle with the right tools and supplies, plus a little elbow grease. Of course, for a more serious backup, calling us for help will be necessary.

Signs that may indicate a blocked drain

Blocked drains can cause headaches for homeowners, but with some knowledge of the signs, identifying and fixing them just may be easier than you think. Common signs you should be on the lookout for include the following:

A Foul Smell Coming From The Drain

Have you noticed a strange and unpleasant smell? This is usually a sign there’s something blocking the pipes, causing water and other debris to remain trapped in the drainage system.

Gurgling Noises

If you hear bubbling and gurgling noises coming from your drain, it’s a surefire indication that there is indeed a blockage somewhere in your system.

Slow Draining Or Standing Water In Sinks Or Bathtubs

When you turn on the tap and notice that water is draining slower than usual, or if it’s not draining at all, this could be a sign of a blocked drain. Standing water in your sink or bathtub may also mean you’re dealing with a partial blockage somewhere further down the line in your plumbing system.


If you flush your toilet and the water starts rising, this can signal a blocked drain. Simply close the toilet lid as quickly as possible to prevent any further overflow, and give us a call!

What Are Some Common Causes of Blocked Drains?

Most blockages are caused by simple everyday items that have been flushed down the toilet or poured down the drain. Grease and other kitchen waste, hair, and soap scum, and even coffee grounds can all contribute to clogged drains over time.

1. Hair

Long hair is certainly lovely but not drain-friendly! Hair is one of the most common causes of blockages in sinks and showers.

2. Soap Scum

When you mix soap with hard water, a residue builds up inside your pipes over time. This eventually forms a thick paste that can cause significant blockages.

3. Cooking Oil

Fats, oils, and greases can solidify inside your pipes when they cool after being washed down the sink. As more and more accumulates over time, this can create a blockage that prevents water from draining properly.

4. Mineral Buildup

Over time,  minerals from hard water can accumulate inside your pipes, creating a thick build-up that impedes water flow.

5. Foreign Objects

All too often, children accidentally flush small toys, jewellery, or other objects down the toilet. Even too much toilet paper or flushing wet wipes can cause a clogged toilet! This can cause a major blockage in your plumbing system that requires professional assistance and experience to fix.

6. Food scraps

Rinsing food scraps down the sink is one of the biggest no-nos regarding your plumbing system. These can easily clog up your pipes and create a blockage that’s difficult to remove.

If you suspect there may be a blockage in your drain, the first thing to do is attempt to remove the blockage yourself. This can be done with a plunger, depending on the location of the clog. If this doesn’t work, it’s time to give us a call so our professional plumbers can properly inspect your system and find the source of the blockage.

How to Clear Blocked Drains?

How to clear a blocked drain depends on the reason behind the blocking. There are several home remedies you can try before it becomes necessary to call a plumber for help dealing with severe blockages.

One of the following simple methods might be all it takes to give you relief from a blocked drain:

  • Pour hot water onto the blockage and let it sit for 30 seconds.
  • Use a wire hanger to dislodge the obstruction.

You could even consider using one of the many commercial bacteria-based enzyme cleaners as a preventative measure.

Avoid Further Blocked Drains

Taking the necessary steps to prevent them is the easiest way to prevent blocked drains in the future. Don’t pour grease, fat, oil, or food scraps down your sink, and ensure that you have a strainer over the drain hole when you’re washing dishes to catch any pieces of food. Clean out your strainers regularly and replace them where necessary. Keep an eye on hair buildup around your shower and bath drains, as this can be a major factor in a clogged drain.

Deciding when it's time to call a professional to deal with your blocked drains.

Blockages in your drains are a real hassle and can cause damage if left unaddressed and ignored. It’s important to assess the severity of the situation and take decisive action; if the blockage is deep-seated and causing frequent clogs, then it’s time to enlist professional help. 

Rather than attempting to fix the issue yourself, hiring an experienced plumber who is familiar with these types of issues can save you time, money, and hassle. Having access to specialised tools, as well as knowing the correct procedure, makes all the difference when dealing with blocked drains. 

Remember that DIY solutions such as chemical cleaners or plungers are usually only temporary fixes and may end up doing more harm than good in the long run. When it comes to your home’s plumbing system, sometimes it’s necessary to call in the pros—it’s worth the added peace of mind! So, if you have any questions about blocked drains, don’t hesitate to contact Eco Earth Plumbing – we’ll be more than happy to help! Our team of experienced plumbers has the skills and knowledge to diagnose and resolve blocked drains and all other plumbing issues quickly and effectively.