If your home has clogged drains, it can be a nasty experience. Clogged drains lead to foul sewage-like smells, overflowing sinks, or water leaking onto the bathroom floor. It is an inconvenience every home-dweller must deal with at least once in a lifetime, and it must be handled immediately to prevent health issues from arising.
Clogging does not happen overnight. There are always various contributing causes that we will address, including possible remedies.
Causes of Blocked Drains
1. Tree roots
Planting trees near your piping could bring undesirable results in the long run. As the trees grow, the roots could get in the way of your water pipes and sewage system, causing breaking or tearing. Fractured pipes are more susceptible to blockage.
Fix: You will need a plumber to take a look using a leak detection tool.
To identify a broken pipe, you can check for any visible fissures or water staining on the walls or ceiling. The damaged sections should be replaced once the problem has been identified.
Some items, like baby wipes, tissues, sanitary towels, and napkins, could lead to a drain blockage. When flushed down the toilet, these items absorb moisture, enlarging and blocking pipes and drains.
Fix: Toiletries should be disposed of correctly, such as disposing of them with garbage rather than flushing them down the toilet. If your toiletries block the drain, call a professional plumber to clear it. However, prevention is always better.
3. Foreign objects
In a household with small children, lots of things happen without the parents' or guardians' knowledge. Toys or electronic waste intentionally or unintentionally dropped down the toilet or drains could lead to blockage.
Fix: Keep an eye on children to make sure they are not dropping any materials down the drains or toilet. Teach them that the toilet is not a toy, and nothing should ever go down the drain except toilet paper. To unblock, you might need a pipe replacement or a drain snake. A drain snake is a tool used to unclog drains, which is also known as a drain auger.
4. Cooking oil
When oil or grease solidifies, it causes blockages in the pipes, which is a severe issue for the drain system. Although pouring hot water down the drain usually melts oils, it is not a reasonable solution.
Fix: Consider plunging. If plunging does not work, use hot water plus detergent, pour the mix down the drain, and flush to break down any solidified oil. Then try plunging again.
If these steps fail, use a commercial caustic cleaning substance as you follow the instructions carefully on the product. Normalise wiping oil residues with a paper towel and disposing of them in the bin instead of pouring them into the sinks or toilet bowls.
5. Food scraps
Some food wastes, such as coffee grounds, do not break down and block sinks.
Fix: You can use plumber snakes or plunging to eliminate clogging. Clean your garbage disposal or replace it if necessary. Ensure you have a compost bin for your food scraps.
For simple cases, implement preventive measures such as properly disposing of waste and other substances to prevent blocked drains. You can use the following basic remedies to unclog the drains before seeking professional help – hot water, cleaners (caustic or natural), plungers, drain snakes (plumber or DIY), and hydro jet. And for more severe blockages, you will need to call a plumber.