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The most common causes of drain blockages

The most common causes of drain blockages

All homeowners know that a blocked drain can be a huge inconvenience. Not only can it cause unpleasant odours and slow-draining water, but it can also lead to costly repairs if not dealt with promptly. To avoid these problems, it’s important to understand the most common causes of drain blockages and what can be done to prevent them.

Eco Earth Plumbing, your local Sunshine Coast plumbing service, is always on hand and available to help keep your drains flowing smoothly and avoid the stress of a clogged system.

Problem: Hair and Soap Scum

One of the most common causes of drain blockages is the accumulation of hair and soap scum. When these substances combine, they form a thick, sticky mass that can easily clog your pipes. Over time, this buildup can lead to slower drainage and eventually block water flow completely.

To prevent this issue, consider using a drain cover or hair catcher to catch hair and debris before it enters your drainage system. You can find these products at most home improvement stores, and as they work like a sieve, installation is simple. Additionally, clean your drain regularly using a mixture of hot water and vinegar to dissolve soap scum.

Pouring the mixture down the drain and letting it sit for about 30 minutes before flushing and rinsing with hot water can help keep your pipes clear and less prone to buildup.

Problem: Grease and Fat Build-Up

Grease and fat are notorious for causing blockages in kitchen sinks. When poured down the drain, they solidify and cling to the pipe walls, creating a thick layer of grime that can trap food particles and other debris. Over time, this can cause your kitchen sink to drain very slowly or even become blocked entirely.

To avoid this problem, never pour grease or oil down your sink. Instead, let it cool and then dispose of it in your household bin or use a grease container specifically designed for collecting it. You should also wipe greasy pans and dishes with a paper towel before washing them, as this will significantly reduce the amount of fat and grease entering your pipes.

Problem: Foreign Objects

Foreign objects like toys, sanitary products, and even excessive amounts of toilet paper can cause blockages in your drains. When these items become lodged in your pipes, they can create a barrier that prevents water from flowing freely.

To prevent this, be careful about what you flush down your toilet or toss into your sink. Educate your family members, especially young children, about the importance of proper waste disposal and only flushing appropriate items down the toilet. Ensure you keep waste bins in your bathrooms to dispose of items that should never be flushed down the toilet.

Problem: Tree Roots

Tree roots can be sneaky and infiltrate your sewer lines without you even realising, causing severe blockages and damage. This is particularly common in older homes with clay pipes, as tree roots can be attracted to the moisture in the pipes. Once inside the pipes, the roots can grow and expand, causing cracking or the pipes to become completely blocked.

Regular inspections by one of Eco Earth Plumbing’s licensed plumbers can help identify and deal with tree root intrusion before it becomes a significant problem. In some cases, root barriers can be installed to prevent roots from entering your sewer lines; however, In more severe situations, the affected pipes may need to be replaced.

Drain damaged by tree roots

Problem: Structural Damage

Cracked or collapsed pipes can lead to blockages and also a range of other plumbing issues. Damage can be caused by ground movement, corrosion, or even the weight of heavy vehicles driving over the pipes. Structural damage not only causes blockages but can also result in leaks, which in turn, over time, can lead to more extensive damage to your property.

If you suspect structural damage to your pipes, it’s essential to contact a professional plumber to assess the situation and recommend the best course of action. They’ve got access to specialised equipment which can be used to inspect and identify the extent of the damage and then determine whether repairs or replacements are necessary.

Problem: Insufficient Pipe Slope

The slope or gradient of your drainage pipes plays an important role in ensuring the smooth flow of wastewater. An insufficient slope can result in water not draining efficiently, causing debris and waste to accumulate and eventually create a blockage. This issue is often seen in older homes or those with poorly designed or installed plumbing systems.

To address this problem, you’ll need to consult with an experienced plumber who can assess your drainage system and recommend appropriate solutions. Sometimes, the pipes may need to be reconfigured or replaced to achieve the proper slope for optimal water flow.

Problem: Build-up of Mineral Deposits

In areas with hard water, the build-up of mineral deposits, such as calcium and magnesium, can eventually cause blockages in your pipes. Over time, these minerals can accumulate on the inner walls of the pipes, reducing the diameter and restricting water flow. In severe cases, the build-up can become so thick that it completely blocks the pipe.

To prevent mineral deposits from causing blockages, consider installing a water softener to reduce the hardness of your water supply. Regular pipe maintenance, including the use of descaling agents, can also help keep your pipes clear of mineral build-up.

Problem: Heavy Rainfall and Storms

Heavy rain downpours and storms can cause an influx of water into your drainage system, overwhelming its capacity and leading to blockages. Leaves, debris, and silt can be washed into stormwater drains, causing them to become clogged and preventing water from draining away efficiently.

To minimise the risk of blockages caused by heavy rain and storms, ensure your gutters and downpipes are clear of debris and in good condition. Regularly check and clean stormwater drains and grates to prevent the build-up of leaves and debris.

Taking the time to understand the most common causes of drain blockages is a key way of keeping your plumbing system in good working order. By taking preventative measures and scheduling regular inspections with Eco Earth Plumbing,  the inconvenience of clogged drains can be avoided so that you and your family can enjoy a healthy, functional plumbing system in your home. 

Remember, prevention is always better than a cure, and by staying proactive, we can work together to save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. Getting in touch with our Sunshine Coast plumbing service is easy: just call the office on 0404 023 023, and we’d be happy to help with all your plumbing needs.