What Causes Blocked Drains, and What to Do About Them
Never ignore consistent blocked or clogged drains in your home, as persistent clogs often mean that there is a serious problem with the home's plumbing, or that you're not protecting the plumbing pipes as you should. In either case, not addressing blockages quickly and properly can mean more serious plumbing problems down the road, and more expensive repairs. To ensure you address blocked or clogged drains properly, note a few causes for these blockages, and also what might be recommended to fix them.
You may not associate water leaks with clogs, but water is what pushes solid materials through your home's plumbing pipes. If there are plumbing leaks in any of those pipes, this flow of water may slow down, and solid materials may then cling to the pipes, building up and eventually causing clogs. A plumber can find a water drip behind the walls, or use a camera mounted to a plumbing snake to find those leaks. Once these leaks are patched or a damaged pipe is replaced, this can allow water to flow freely again, avoiding clogs.
Oil and grease
As you may know, oil and water don't mix, so when you put oily or greasy substances into a drain, water won't push these materials along very well. These oils then cling to the pipes rather than draining away, and may build up over time, so that the pipes then get clogged and blocked.
Avoid oily bath products in the shower, and never put cooking oil down a kitchen sink. Drain these oils into a jar that you can put in the rubbish, and use a paper towel to wipe down pots and pans of as much excess grease as possible, before washing these items in the kitchen sink.
Solid materials are an obvious cause of blocked and clogged drains, but you might be surprised to know what can clog a drain or toilet. This includes baby wipes and facial tissue, even though these may be advertised as flushable or disposable, as well as cigarette butts. Even some brands of bathroom tissue may not break up in water very easily, causing clogged pipes! An old garbage disposal in the kitchen sink may not chop food very well, so those scraps then cause clogs. These blockages can be blasted out with sound or air pressure, or snaked out, and your plumber may note what materials caused that clog so you can avoid putting these in the sink or toilet.