February 28

What Causes Drains to Block?

Blocked drains are simple problems that can quickly turn into a major hassle. Whether it’s a kitchen sink that’s slow to drain, backed up gutters or an overflowing toilet, blockages can seriously slow down your day. There are plenty of things that can cause a drain to become blocked. Whatever the cause, it’s important to deal with the issue properly to avoid having it come back to bite you later. In this article we’ll go over what causes drains to become blocked and some things you can do to keep your day flowing!

1. Foreign Objects and Build Ups of Debris

Foreign objects and build ups of debris are by far the most common cause of drain blockages. Things like food waste, cooking oil deposits, hair, soap and leaves can all build up in your drains and prevent them from working properly.

Dealing with this sort of blockage can be a challenge. We recommend that you avoid using drain clearing products wherever possible. These can be incredibly caustic and cause damage to certain types of drains. Instead, it’s better to prevent these build ups from occurring altogether. Regularly clean your gutters, avoid flushing food scraps down the sink and make sure you’re disposing of cooking oil properly. If your drains do become clogged then it’s worth calling your plumber to deal with the issue.

2. Broken or Damaged Pipes

Broken, collapsed or damaged pipes are the next most common cause of blocked drains. Pipes that are broken or collapsed can divert the natural flow of water and cause the water to back up.

Broken or collapsed drains need to be repaired by a professional. In most cases these pipes are found underground in your yard, and getting to them can be a challenge. A professional plumber will have the specialist tools they need to repair or replace the pipes and get your drains flowing again. This may involve excavating your yard to access the pipes, although modern no-dig pipe repairs may allow you to avoid the need for any earthworks.

3. Tree Roots

Trees are constantly searching for water, and tree roots may be able to work their way into a pipe through a small crack or a damaged connection. Over time these roots grow and will eventually cause a complete blockage. There’s very little you can do to stop invading tree roots from damaging your drains. In some cases your plumber may be able to fix the issue with a water jetting machine, but it’s likely that your drains will need to be excavated and replaced.

4. Floods and Heavy Rain

Weather events like heavy storms and flash flooding can overwhelm your drains and cause build ups of things like leaves, dirt and debris. Most residential storm water drains aren’t designed to handle huge amounts of water and the debris that comes along with it. Drains that become blocked during a storm can quickly turn into a huge flooding problem on your property. If you notice your drains or gutters backing up during a storm, contact an emergency plumber immediately.

5. Lack of Gravity

Drains are designed to use gravity to create a steady flow of water that keeps your plumbing system moving. If a drain is laid with insufficient slope, it may prevent water from flowing and can cause the system to back up. In the worst case an improperly laid drain may even cause waste to flow back into your plumbing system.

Drains may have insufficient slope if they are installed incorrectly or if the ground has shifted over time. There’s no simple fix for drains that are installed with insufficient slope. You’ll need to contact your plumber and ask them to excavate and relay the pipework.

6. Incorrect Installation

Not all plumbing is created equal. While all plumbing systems are required to be installed by a professional, mistakes and shortcuts happen, and it can create serious blockages down the line. Low quality products, misaligned pipes, poorly assembled joints and bad practices like decreasing the diameter of drains can all cause blockages. Fixing issues with your installation is often complicated. Depending on the problems you’re experiencing, your plumber may need to replace large amounts of your plumbing system to get things back to normal.

Make Short Work of Blocked Drains with the Team from S&J Plumbing!

Blocked drains are one of the most common household plumbing problems. They might seem like a small issue at first, but a bad blockage can quickly turn into a flooding nightmare. If you’re struggling with sinks, showers or baths that are draining slowly or totally blocked, get in touch with S&J Plumbing! The S&J team are experienced plumbers working all over Brisbane. Our drain clearing experts come equipped with drain snakes, water jetters and sewer machines that allow us to handle even the most stubborn blockages. You can get in touch with us to make an appointment, or phone us on 1300 600 508 if you need our emergency plumbing services!

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