How to Avoid These 5 Causes of Blocked Drains

When an object blocks one of your pipes it can cause many issues.

You could have standing water in your shower, bathtub, or basin. The water in your toilet might rise and overfill. Or, one of your pipes might leak and cause major water damage to the interior, exterior, and foundation of your property.

Worst of all? If wastewater can’t properly drain, the fumes can produce an unpleasant smell and pose a major health risk to your family.

To avoid the inconvenience and costly expense of a blocked drain, follow these simple preventive tips

Suspect you have a blocked drain in the works? Contact Oldmate ACT today for expert advice and a FREE quote for treatment.

1. Grease and cooking oil

One of the biggest mistakes to make in the kitchen is pouring used cooking oil down the drain.

Why? Because, since oil naturally cools down, it could solidify while passing through the pipes and cause a blockage.

Instead, wait for the oil to naturally cool, pour it into a non-recyclable container, and throw it in the garbage. Alternatively, place the oil in the fridge or freezer, wait for it to solidify, and then throw it in the garbage.

What if there’s already oil in the pipes? You may be able to loosen up and break down the oil with a commercial drain cleaner. However, failing this, you’ll need a plumber with a water jet or drain snake to effectively remove the clog.

2. Hair

Those with longer hair or suffering from hair loss are at a greater risk of causing a blocked drain.

This typically occurs when the hair binds to other products already in the pipes like grime, oil, or grease.

In some cases, you may be able to clear the blockage with a DIY or commercial drain cleaner. However, if the blockage is severe, you’ll need the extra power of a water jet to get the job done. Your local plumber can gladly take care of this for you.

To prevent the risk of a blockage due to hair, install a drain catcher in your bathtub or shower. Drain catches are very affordable and available at most hardware stores.

3. Toiletries

Personal care and sanitary items like wet wipes, tampons, nappies, and napkins should generally not be flushed down the toilet.

Due to the size and nature of these products, they may be too big to pass through and end up getting stuck midway in the pipes.

By using a toilet plunger, you may be able to increase the pressure and help ‘loosen up’ the products, allowing them to push through the system. Failing that, though, a water jet or drain snake will be needed to clear the blockage.

To prevent these kind of blockages, always dispose of personal care and sanity items in a dedicated garbage bin.

4. Tree roots

When planted too close to sewer pipes, tree roots have the potential to grow and penetrate the nearest pipe network.

How likely this is to happen depends on the quality of the material and construction of your pipes. Even a tiny gap between two connecting pipes can create enough room for the roots to enter.

Pipes made out of vitrified clay and concrete are more prone to tree root intrusion, are they’re more likely to crack and produce gaps between the connecting joints.

Unfortunately, DIY and commercial drain cleaners aren’t strong enough to clear tree roots. The sheer power and force of a water jet or drain snake is the only way to break down the tree roots. Again, a certified plumber can take care of this for you.

5. Foreign objects

Virtually any object that’s not suitable to drain can get stuck in the pipes and cause a blockage.

One of the most classic examples is when a child flushes a foreign object down the toilet – i.e. toys, car keys, wallet, tennis ball, or anything else.

If you suspect a foreign object has landed in your pipes, don’t try to retrieve them yourself. Doing so may push the object back further, making it harder and more expensive for a licensed plumber to retrieve.

Instead, call your local plumber for assistance. Depending on how far the object has travelled, they may be able to safely retrieve the lost object. Otherwise, they can use other means to help the object pass through and free up the pipes.

Don’t split hairs over a blocked drain. For FREE advice and a quote for effective treatment, contact Oldmate ACT today.

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