The 6 Most Common Blocked Drain Causes

Blocked drains are one of the most common problems for domestic properties, and they are also one of the reasons you may have to call a plumber. Whether you have a blocked kitchen sink, a toilet that won’t flush property, or a slow running drain in the shower, these drainage problems are commonly caused by blockages. If they aren’t prevented in the first place or dealt with quickly, blocked drains can cause significant and very costly problems.

So, to help you avoid the unpleasant problem of a blocked drain, here are the 6 most common blocked drain causes and how you can easily prevent them, too.


1. Foreign Objects Flushed Down the Toilet

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One of the most common blocked drain problems is caused by foreign objects being flushed down the toilet. This can be anything from baby wipes and cotton pads, to sanitary items and even the odd child’s toy! And unfortunately, your drains aren’t built to handle these foreign objects, which inevitably leads to blockages with very unpleasant results – overflowing sewage being one of the most common outcomes!

To avoid foreign objects being flushed down the toilet, prioritise positioning a waste basket near the toilet so that any sanitary items, cotton pads, or face wipes can be placed here and thrown away instead of flushed down the toilet. Regarding children’s toys and your car keys or phone, you’re just going to have to be extra careful.


2. Leaves and Other Outdoor Debris

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What many people do not realise is that blocked drains are commonly caused by leaves and debris from outside being blown or washed into the drain and causing blockages. Unfortunately, this problem is particularly common during stormy weather and can be worsened by unkept gutters and unruly garden landscapes.

Avoiding this particular problem can be difficult, but one of the most effective ways you can prevent leaves and other outdoor debris from washing down your drains is to cover the drain entrances with a drain guard. If the problem is reoccurring, even with the prevention methods (such as drain covers and tidying up the garden) in place, it is best to call a drainage exterior specialist to come and advise you on the best course of action.


3. Grease and Fat from Cooking

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Grease and fat washed down the sink after cooking is undoubtedly the most common cause of blocked drains there is! This unfortunate habit is something many of us do and it is destroying the pipes and sewage systems under our homes. In fact, the grease and fat washed down your drains culminates in the pipes, forming what are referred to as ‘Fatbergs’. These fatbergs block the pipes and cause significant back-up problems.

To avoid blockages caused by grease and fat from cooking, once you’ve finished making a meal pour the excess grease and fat into a pot and throw it away, rather than washing it down the sink. This will save you money on plumbing repairs and help your drain pipes last for longer.


4. Hair and Soap Suds in the Bathroom

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Your bathroom sinks, bathtubs, and showers take the weight of many drainage issues and can easily become blocked by two common culprits; hair and soap suds. These two common daily occurrences cause more blockages than most other debris. Whenever you wash your hair in the shower, take a bath, or wash your hands with soap in the sink, the debris can culminate in your pipes and cause blocked or slow-running drains.

Avoid this common problem and reduce the risk of slow-running drains in your bathroom by putting drain covers over the plug holes. These will catch the strands of hair that fall, preventing them from getting tangled in your drain pipes, preventing blockages and helping your drains run effectively for longer.


5. Tree Root Intrusions

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The outdoor health of your drains can have a significant impact on the flow ability and effectiveness of your drainage system. Even the smallest cracks or leaks in your drainage system can be an attracting for tree root ingress, encouraging tree roots to grow their way inside your plumbing system. This is extremely damaging to your pipes, not only obstructing water flow but also causing significantly more pipe damage.

To avoid this problem, it is important to ensure your drain pipes are in good health. The easiest way you can check your drains are healthy and not cracking or breaking is by hiring a professional to carry out a CCTV survey. A CCTV drain survey is where a small, flexible tube with a camera on the end is fed into your drainage system, providing a video feed of the inside of the pipes. This is one of the most effective methods for analysing the health of a drainage system and will ensure your pipes are not cracked or breaking, reducing the likelihood of root ingress.


6. Food Remnants and Waste

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If you do not have a garbage disposal, avoid the temptation to force food leftovers or remnants down the plughole. Leftover food is a common cause of blocked drains and this problem can be fixed by something as simple as scraping the excess food remnants off your plate and into the rubbish or compost bin before washing. This small little change will have a significant impact on the health of your drainage system, so we would definitely encourage you to so your best in avoiding washing food waste down the plughole.


Hire a Professional Drain Expert

If you suffer from blocked drains on a regular basis, it is very likely you need to make some lifestyle changes. Hopefully the advice in this article has been helpful. If you currently have a blocked drain, check out our advice on how to unblock your household drain. Alternatively, if you’ve tried all the techniques, call one of our professional drain experts today!

Author: Greg Child

Greg is an expert in drainage and has been in the business for over 30 years. He's the owner of Coastal Drains Ltd and a very, very friendly chap.

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