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Originally Posted On: https://noprobsplumbing.com.au/blog/the-5-most-common-causes-of-blocked-drains/
Like death and taxes, blocked drains are an inevitable part of life.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t fight back. In an attempt to arm you against the horrors of blocked drains, this article will prepare you physically (and emotionally) to deal with the worst these plumbing disasters can throw at you.
We’ll discuss early warning signs, causes, and solutions.
Got a burning question? Scroll on down to the helpful FAQs, or if it’s urgent, just give the experts at No Probs Plumbing and gas a call. We’ll be right on over to help you out.
How Do I Know If My Drains Are Blocked?
You may have noticed your bathroom or kitchen sink is draining slowly, or your pipes are creating a gurgling symphony; perhaps an unpleasant smell has begun to waft from your drains or you have experienced the sheer panic of watching the toilet water rise after flushing.
These are all tell-tale signs that your pipes are blocked somewhere in the system.
So How Do Drains Get Blocked?
Blocked drains come in many different shapes and forms. Some creep up on you slowly, while others ambush you when you’re least expecting them.
Here are the most common causes of blocked drains:
1. Build-Up Of Hair
One of the most common, and indeed, probably the most disgusting…
Human hair, animal hair, and dental floss are all usual suspects when it comes to blocked drains in Perth.
Build-ups usually occur in the pipework below bathroom basins or in the pipework connecting the bath or shower to the sewerage system.
Small amounts of hair can be pulled out by hand (yep, this is the worst) and done so before the problem compounds.
Drain cleaning devices such as drain spiders can also assist your efforts to remove hair from the drain, but be aware cheap removal options – such as chemicals – can cause the problem to become worse.
2. Sanitary Products Being Flushed Down The Drain
Feminine products should never be flushed down the toilet, as they are one of the main causes of blockages due to their absorbent nature. Tampons can expand tenfold, and unlike toilet paper, these products do not break down.
Similarly, “flushable” and non-flushable wipes, condoms, and paper towels are other foreign objects which should never find their way into your toilet. Cat litter is also a major issue for your plumbing – so always ensure it goes into the bin.
You could alleviate the clogged drains with a plunger or auger, but if unsuccessful, you should call a professional plumber.
3. Cooking Fat Or Oil Solidifying Over Time
In kitchen sinks, grease and fat that have made their way down the drain will build up over time and cause mayhem in your plumbing system.
If you are pouring oil or fat down the sink, run it along with detergent and boiling water to help it break down. Better still is to either collect the fat and oil and allow it to solidify in a container to be thrown out, or wipe up small amounts of oil and fat with a paper towel and add it to your compost.
If you suspect this is an issue you are experiencing, you can try and plunge the drain or add a commercial drain cleaner. If the problem persists, we highly recommend a plumber to solve the issue for you.
4. Tree Roots Entering Your Sewer
Trees are experts at finding water sources. Even the smallest cracks or leaks in your pipes can attract tree root growth and allow them to work their way in. Once they have breached the pipe, they will continue to grow larger, leading to further damage and water flow obstruction.
This is definitely a job for the Perth plumbing professionals because it can get complicated.
This can be a difficult problem to manage and prevent. Most of us have trees, shrubbery, and plants on our property and virtually no idea where water or sewage pipes are.
The best course of action is to be aware of the root structure of the plants and trees on your property and have your property drains and pipes regularly checked to ensure any issues are solved sooner, rather than later.
5. Damaged Or Broken Pipes
Burst pipes can be due to tree roots, ground movement, faulty installation, or general wear and tear.
As soon as a fracture occurs, the pipe will become more susceptible to blockages, especially if it’s affecting water flow. This can be a difficult issue to diagnose unless you have a clear view of the broken pipe. Check pipes for visible leaks or the appearance of water stains on your walls or ceiling.
This is where your professional plumber comes in handy. If you suspect you may have a broken pipe issue, a trained professional can use leak detection equipment to diagnose the problem.
Will A Blocked Drain Clear Naturally?
It depends. Sometimes things can magically get better, but this is quite rare. Blocked drains are usually susceptible to getting worse, as many of the reasons why drains get blocked in the first place are issues that can only worsen with time – such as hair building up or a tree root invasion.
Can Soap Block Drains?
Yes, it can and will. Soap and soapy products are known to block drains due to their habit of re-solidifying once they get cooled down. They can easily gather into a clump that sits in your drain pipe – only growing bigger by the day. If you’re unlucky, this mess will also be mixed in with loose hair and other debris. If you think soap is the cause – try pouring boiling hot water down the sink – this might help melt the gloop and send it on its way.
What Can I Pour Down A Drain To Unclog It?
Pouring anything down a blocked drain is a risky business – especially because it could easily make the problem worse or leave you with a grotty sink full of floating bits and pieces.
Is Caustic Soda Good For Unblocking Drains?
Caustic soda is a DIY method of unclogging drains – however, be aware that it may actually damage your pipes by causing erosion to your PVC, galvanised steel, copper, or iron pipes. It’s best to use more manual methods such as drain snakes or plungers which don’t put your health or your pipes at risk.
What To Do If Your Drains Are Blocked?
Blocked drains are never fun to deal with. But the best advice says you should act now rather than later. The sooner the problem is dealt with thoroughly the better. Simply pouring some hot water down the drain might ease things a bit – but if you’re noticing lingering issues – it’s best to get an expert plumber involved.
Call In The Plumbing Professionals
Our No Probs plumber and gas fitter will identify the cause through visual inspection, or by using one of our state-of-the-art drain cameras to inspect your drainage system.
From here, we can advise the most effective solution is to have your drains flowing again before further damage is caused.
Our Perth plumbers have decades of experience to quickly diagnose and solve all plumbing issues from blockages to gas hot water system failures.
With our customer service guarantee, we’re the team to call for your renovation, installation, maintenance, and gas fitting needs. Call our team on (08) 9315 5545 or drop us an email at [email protected].