Blocked drains are one of the most common plumbing problems in any home. There are numerous reasons why a drain can get blocked, things you can do to prevent blocked drains, which drains are most commonly blocked and what a professional plumber can do to help. In this guide to blocked drains, you’ll learn all about them and practical solutions to the problem.
Common Areas Where Blocked Drains Occur
While drains and water pipes snake all the way through the house and out in the yard, there are definitely some common areas where blocked drains are most likely to occur.
For starters, due to a lot of activity and food preparation and disposal, drains in the kitchen are usually very prone to blocking up or draining slowly. The bathroom is another very common region of the house where a blocked drain could present itself. The laundry is another room, as lint from the washing can build up in the drain running from the laundry tub. Toilets are also high on the list of blocked drain probability for obvious reasons and some reasons that may not be as immediately obvious, as we’ll discuss in another section.
Eventually, all drains within the home will funnel outside and into the sewage and wastewater system, where they travel for disposal. Therefore, even if debris does not cause a drain inside the house to block up directly, it could lead to a blockage in a pipe located underground somewhere outside.
What Causes a Blocked Drain Or Toilet and What Can Be Done To Prevent It?
There can be many reasons a drain becomes blocked, but let’s take a look at the rooms mentioned above and common reasons why a drain suffers a blockage.
Problem – When it comes to the kitchen, food scraps fall into the sink, people scrape the remnants of food off plates into the sink, a variety of liquids are poured down the sink and over time this can all build up in the pipe network below the sink, culminating in a blocked kitchen drain.
Solution – The best remedy here is due diligence regarding what gets washed down the sink in the first place. Everyone in the household needs to get into the habit of putting all food scraps into a rubbish bin rather than trying to flush things down the kitchen sink. Periodically plunging the kitchen sink can help prevent blockages, along with occasionally flushing a drain cleaner down the pipe.
Problem – There are a number of problems that can occur either in the bathroom basin, the shower or the bathtub. One of the biggest culprits when it comes to slow or blocked drains in the bathroom is hair. It’s unavoidable. Hair will naturally get flushed down the drains when we wash and bathe. The issue is, it gets caught on things, builds up over time and acts as a net to catch and hold other debris that finds its way into the drain. This results in a drain that’s slow to empty or one that’s blocked up entirely.
Solution – As mentioned, it’s virtually impossible to prevent hair from going down the drains in the bathroom. What you can do though, is install some sort of filter system that traps the hair so it can be removed and disposed of before it can find its way deep inside the drainage system. It’s also important to be vigilant about anything else that is flushed down the drains in a bathroom environment.
Problem – Blocked toilets are not only gross, but they can also present a major hazard and a very messy issue. One reason a toilet may become blocked is if there is a water leak in the system and it’s not flushing efficiently. Too much toilet paper being used all at once is another cause. However, a toilet will generally become blocked if items that are not meant to go down a toilet pipe are being flushed down the toilet. This could be a paper towel, wet wipes, or some foreign object accidentally knocked into the toilet bowl.
Solution – For starters, leave the lid down so nothing can fall in when not in use. Secondly, only flush toilet paper and nothing else down the toilet. Periodically plunge the toilet to help keep the drain free of debris build-up.
Problem – Lint from clothing or pieces of paper left in the pockets of clothing can find their way past the washing machine’s own filtration system and get into drains. Dumping the lint from a dryer’s filter into the tub can also lead to problems.
Solution – Clean the filters in the washing machine regularly and check the pockets of clothing for items before putting on a load of washing.
Professional Help and What Your Plumber Can Do
To really solve your blocked drain problem, no matter where it’s located within your home, call in help from a professional and experienced plumber. Your plumber will have all the knowledge and tools of the trade to both quickly locate where the blockage is and to be able to remove it.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a blocked kitchen sink or a toilet, your plumber will know exactly what to do and be armed with everything required to free the block, so your life can get back to normal.
CCTV cameras are often used to locate exactly where a block in a pipe is. Toilet snakes might be employed to free up a blockage in the toilet pipe.
Another thing your plumber will be able to do for you is to offer periodic, preventative maintenance, as well as give you and your household advice on how to avoid blocked drains in the first place.
Blocked drains are a common occurrence, but there are solutions and preventative measures you can take so that slow and blocked drains don’t interrupt your lifestyle.