5 Common Causes of Clogged Drains and Pipes

Maintaining a functional and efficient property is a never-ending task. It takes continuous investment and maintenance to ensure that your home or business areas function like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, most people tend to focus on visible damages, leaving the underlying problems, such as the drainage system, unattended and unresolved.

Many people may not consider a congested drain a significant issue that needs urgent action, but it can instantly turn into a plumbing disaster if left unattended. Blocked pipes are the most common plumbing problem in any property — whether it’s commercial or residential. As soon as the plumbing water encounters a full or partial obstruction, it will try to redirect and force itself in other directions that may cause various issues such as flooding, slow drainage, and low pressure.

While you can quickly resolve minor drainage problems, there may be a looming build-up of obstruction hidden deep inside the pipes that can cause extensive damage if not fixed permanently. In addition, clogged drainage is a significant issue that can negatively impact the overall efficiency of your business and the well-being of the people residing in it. 

Some of these harmful effects are:

  • Health risks
  • Unpleasant smell
  • Attracts mold and pests
  • Slow drainage
  • Water leaks
  • Weakens property’s foundation

It may seem that the easiest way to unclog a drain is by simply removing the obstruction manually or dousing the pipes with a chemical agent. However, fixing pipes can get very complicated depending on what is causing the congestion and its location to eliminate the problem adequately.

Common Causes

Water drainage systems often have a tree or a maze layout. Regardless of its configuration, your drainage consists of a mainline, usually the biggest in diameter, and sub pipes relatively more minor in size. While the toilet and sink are the most common areas where clogs develop, they can build and disrupt regular flows from any location in the drainage system.

  1. Tee Roots

It may not look like it, but tree roots are widely known as the top cause of pipe blockage in your drainage system. They can easily find their way into the sewer systems regardless of how modernly constructed your property is. Similar to us, trees also need hydration which explains why they are drawn to your sewer pipes, especially if there are cracks or leaks where they can penetrate. 

If you have trees and rich vegetation around your property, it is critical to watch out for any signs of a tree root invasion. Make it a habit to consistently clean the surrounding area of all leaves, branches, and other plant debris. Another solution may be inconvenient and expensive, especially for business properties, but realigning the sewer system accordingly so as not to pass close to the trees is a feasibly permanent solution.

  1. Hair

Hair is also a significant drainage issue, especially on residential properties, since it’s a natural commodity that almost always falls off whenever someone uses the shower or brushes their hair. Hair strands can only cause a minor slow flow or blockage if you make it a habit of sweeping the hair out from the sink or water drain.

Immediately remove accumulated hair on the drain after using the bath or sink and install screens to prevent hair strands from slipping down the drain. These minor adjustments can significantly save you from a more severe and expensive plumbing problem.

  1. Grease and Fat

The combination of fat, oil, and grease are the worst enemies of any drainage and plumbing system. Grease build-up usually occurs in restaurants, fast food chains, and residential homes, where pouring a pan of bacon grease down the drain seems like the easiest way to get rid of it. 

Many people often think that water is the solution for everything. Still, fats and grease are sticky and binding substances that can quickly solidify the pipes and create heavy blockage in the system. There are other ways to dispose of grease adequately, such as pouring it into a disposable container before tossing it into the trash.

  1. Toiletries

Toiletries and sanitary items are also a leading cause of clogged drains. Moisture wipes are also highly detrimental to your drainage system. Back in 2015, a report indicated that New York City had spent millions of dollars in a span of five years to eliminate all the congested wipes in the city’s drainage system.

Feminine hygiene products and diapers significantly threaten plumbing pipes since they are non-biodegradable items mainly consisting of cotton that can block the sewers tremendously. Instead of dumping toiletries down the drain, make it a habit of properly disposing of these items in trash bins.

  1. Food

Due to their design, plumbing systems can only properly distribute flowing water and waste, but not food bits and chunks. Many people see drains as an alternate garbage disposal, which shouldn’t be the case. Like toiletries, you should have a proper garbage disposal unit in your home or business to deter people from dumping food and other objects down the drain.

The best time to investigate any drainage problems is correct when you suspect that there is an issue. There might be an underlying issue down the pipes if you start to see signs of slow drainage, low pressure, and gurgling sounds. Fortify your plumbing system by installing a proper drain strainer and water-resistant exterior access panels so that you can safely and efficiently inspect the pipes.

Be cautious in what you let into the sinks, toilet, bathtubs, and drain pipes because the occasional maintenance and care are much better than spending a lot in professional cleaning and repair.

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