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Top 10 Reasons Your Drains Are Blocked

Minor plumbing issues can quickly explode – sometimes quite literally – if left unchecked. Clogged drains are one of the most common plumbing issues. Don’t wait until the loo is backed up with unpleasant muck. It is possible to avoid that kind of unpleasantness if you are aware of these ten causes of most blocked drains.

1. Tree roots

It doesn’t take much for tree roots to grow into your pipes where they don’t belong. Small cracks or leaks can let them in, and once they are there, they quickly grow and obstruct water flow. If left unchecked, they can damage pipes and require expensive repairs or total replacement.

2. Toiletries

Personal grooming products and other toiletries should never be flushed. Wipes, baby diapers, and sanitary napkins are on the list of toiletries to avoid flushing. These items are not designed to break down. Flush enough of them and they will build up in the drains, causing clogs and backups.

3. Foreign objects

Those Legos your child flushed down the loo to see what would happen? They probably didn’t make it as far as you think. Even if foreign objects appear small enough to safely flush, they can become lodged further down the drain and prevent other materials from safely passing.

4. Cooking oil

Cooking oil is a common cause of clogged drains. Although in liquid form after being heated, it will solidify in the pipes after coming in contact with cold water. Never flush cooking oil down drains. Let it coagulate and then pour it into the bin.

5. Food scraps

Just because they flush down the drain does not mean they belong there. Even the tiniest scraps of food can contribute to blockages further down the line. Some of the biggest culprits are tea leaves and coffee grounds.

6. Mineral buildup

Hard water wreaks havoc on many drains. It produces mineral deposits that build up and cause clogs. Using a descaling agent or water softener can help.

7. Soap

Soap is a necessary part of our cleansing routines, but it produces soap scum that builds up in drains over time. Built-up soap scum can be removed with pressure cleaning.

8. Hair

Another top drain clogger, hair can be dissolved using baking soda and vinegar cleaner. Plunging the drain also will sometimes help clear hair clogs.

9. Natural debris

Dirt, mud, sand, or other debris can end up caked on our bodies. It is easily washed away in the shower, but sometimes that debris builds up in the drains and causes big trouble down the line. A manual drain auger can help clear these kinds of clogs.

10. Cat litter

Consisting of clay, silica, and sand, cat litter does a fine job of soaking up your cat’s urine. It also is a great way to cause a serious clog in your pipes due to its super-absorbency abilities. It is best to dispose of cat litter properly – in a sealed bag tossed out with the household trash.

Some blockages will require a licensed plumber to clear. Know your limits and call in the professionals sooner rather than later if your drains are sluggish or showing other signs of trouble.