Top 5 common causes of a household blocked drain or clogged toilet

Let’s face it, whenever you get a clogged toilet or an overflowing drain, it happens at the most inconvenient time possible. Whether it be on the weekend, the afternoon before a big get together, or even right before you go away for what is supposed to be a relaxing holiday. Whatever the situation, a blocked drain is never something to rejoice but rather an issue that needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

But what causes a blocked drain?

There are endless reasons as to what could cause a blocked drain. However the following top 5 reasons of a blocked drain are courtesy of recent research conducted by a plumbing company.

1. Why does hair and soap scum clog a drain?

Over time, our bodies naturally shed hair along with the normal bodily fluids each and every day which in turn results in our drains building up and restricting the water flow through them. 

We have found that the bends, junctions and gullies within the drain are where all of these fluids start to solidify and form blockages within the drain. 

So how do you clear a drain that is blocked with a build up of hair and soap scum? Well there are a few ways to do this, unfortunately the old wives tale of bicarb soda and vinegar will not do the trick. The most effective way to relieve the drain from this is by employing a plumber to flush the drain with a high strength hydrochloric acid that will eat away at all the foreign matter within the drain. Be sure to flush this away by running water afterwards, but don’t worry, this acid won’t eat or destroy the pipework within the ground.

The other most effective method for clearing this blockage is through the use of drain clearing equipment such as hand augers and high pressure water jetting machines that are designed to clear and flush the blockage away.

2. Grease and fats are a big no no!

We have all seen someone, maybe even ourselves, who tends to pour the leftover grease or oil from our pots and pans into the kitchen sink. It may seem harmless at first, and usually it is. However, over time the grease will build up blocking up the entire drain. 

As you pour the oil down the drain, it will solidify when it mixes with the water creating large clumps of solidified fats. The upside to this kind of blockage is that it tends to be isolated within the kitchen sink line meaning that your toilets and showers won’t be affected by it as severely, depending on how your drains have been set up.

To clear this blockage the most beneficial solution is to use a high pressure jetting machine to punch a hole through the blockage. It’ll slowly be broken down over time and flushed out into the local council drains, leaving your property.

3. Too much toilet paper can cause serious issues within your drains!

Blocked drain

When we use too much toilet paper and try to flush the toilet, water will be absorbed into it making it harder and harder to break down as the paper clumps together. The more toilet paper that is used, the bigger the clump that will form in your drains.

You’ll notice that when you over use toilet paper, your toilet water may rise to the top of the bowl showing the first sign of a potential blockage occurring further down your drainage system. You may be able to clear this type of blockage using hand tools and push rods such as plungers however the only way to fully clear your drain would be through high pressure jetting your drains. 

4. Broken pipes can cause major problems

It’s more than likely won’t know you have broken pipes in the ground until you experience a blocked drain. However, when you have broken pipes, you may find dirt or other obstructions falling into your drain, causing toilet paper to get caught eventually blocking your entire drainage lines.

This cause of a blocked drain is much more severe than a simple blocked drain, when you have broken pipes you need to have your drains inspected using a CCTV drain camera to determine the extent of the damage. Broken pipes are usually caused through ground movement overtime which means if the drain is broken in one section, there is a high probability it will break in other areas too.

Broken pipes need to be repaired as soon as possible to limit the damage caused to your property and reduce the risk of undermining your home. 

5. Tree roots are the real concern!

If you ever have a blocked drain, it is important you find the real cause of the blockage. The most common cause of a blocked drain is the dreaded tree roots. 

Whether you do or don’t have trees growing in your backyard, you can definitely be the victim of a tree root infestation. Trees and shrubs can sense the water on the inside of your drainage pipes and once they find it, they will spread like wild fire as they feed off the nutrients from within.

A severe tree root infestation needs to be dug up, removed and all new pipework replaced, however if you find the issue early enough, you may be able to carry out a sectional pipe repair by relining the broken section of pipe the tree roots are entering through.

Blocked and clogged drains are no joke, if you are not confident in clearing the issue on your own, it is best you call a plumber to have it resolved for you as it could become a more serious issue down the line!

Ben Schmidt
Ben Schmidt
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