A blocked drain is one of the most common causes for concern when it comes to plumbing and, while not usually serious, can cause you quite the headache and mean your water system is out of action for a day or even a week.
Here at Same Day Trades, we’ve put together a full guide to the most common causes of blocked drains and how to fix them.
1. Tree roots penetrating a cracked pipe
When there are cracks or structural damage to a pipe, sometimes the root systems of a tree can grow through these. This will cause a blockage within the pipe that impedes or even halts the natural flow.
To fix this issue, you should use a jet rodding machine. These high-pressured hoses blast through your blocked plumbing lines to clear the tree root obstruction.
2. Matted hair in the shower drain
It’s normal to shed a little (or a lot) of hair in the shower. However, this can quickly become an issue for the drain in your shower or bath for large households or homeowners with long or curly hair. When hair mats in the drain, it can slow and cut off water flow completely.
To fix this, you should pull out what hair you can and dissolve the rest with a solution made up of ½ cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of table salt and 1 cup of heated vinegar.
3. Food scraps in the kitchen sink
When washing your dishes in the sink, you should always put food scraps into the bin, compost, or use another sustainable and renewable method of waste disposal. If these food scraps are just washed away into the kitchen sink, they can clog up the U-bend and swell.
To fix this, pour the drain unblocker down the sink. Occasionally, you may need to go to the external drain outside where it empties and clear the food out of there too.
4. The build-up of oils and fats
‘Fatbergs’ are formed by the solidification of oils and fats. These enter the pipes as liquids and solidify into masses in the winter and colder temperatures. In the national network, these can cost thousands of dollars to remove.
To prevent these in your home, soak oils and fats with a kitchen roll and deposit them in a bin – not down the sink.
5. Wet wipes and un-flushable
Many wet wipes are being falsely marketed as flushable. Often, this is not the case. We recommend that, regardless of the packaging, you never flush a wet wipe down the toilet because they cannot break down the same way that toilet paper does and often cause blockages. The same goes for sanitary products, cotton buds, and other toiletries.
6. Leaves collecting in the outside drain
During autumn, leaves can collect in the dips where your drains empty into the ground outside. To fix a blockage here, remove the leaves and consider putting a wire cover over the drain to prevent this from continuing in future.
7. A build-up of coffee grounds
These, like fat, solidify and harden when washed down the drain. This will narrow the pipe and cause it to block completely. Remove with a drain unblocker and empty coffee grounds into compost or a household bin.
8. Poor installation
Sometimes, when installers cut corners, you may be left with too small or too narrow pipes. These will be prone to blocking and could cost you more money in the long run. Unfortunately, the only way to fix this issue is to have a professional plumber come in and reinstall your pipes.
9. Children’s toys and other inanimate objects
Anyone with small children in their lives is probably familiar with the panicked rush of pulling a truck or a doll out of the toilet before it disappears into the U-bend. These are one of the leading causes of damage to or blocking drains.
To fix these, you might need to take apart the system and remove the object yourself or call in a plumber. Always keep a child lock on the door and make sure drains and plugholes are inaccessible to small children.
10. Damage to sewer and external pipes
This includes construction work, extreme weather, and wear and tear. Usually, these issues will be rectified by your local council, but otherwise, you should consult them and their in-house plumber to ensure that your area has unblocked drains.
If the damage is local to your property, you should contact a reputable plumber to resolve the problem.
Get in touch with Same Day Trades today for all your plumbing needs and drain enquiries. Our local plumbing experts service all of Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne.