The Most Common Causes of Clogged Pipes
Some of the most common causes of clogged pipes are things you would have never thought of or expected. It’s important to deal with clogs as soon as possible as they only worsen if left over time. If more than one fixture in your home is draining slowly or not at all, it’s likely a bigger issue that will need more than a plunging to be solved. PlumbWize has professional plumbers in Hamilton who will repair your clogged drains.
1. Food Waste
Let’s start with an obvious one – food waste. If your kitchen sink has a garbage disposal, it’s easy to just throw any leftover food scraps down there. However, even with a garbage disposal, food waste is still one of the common causes of clogged pipes.
There are some foods that are definitely bigger culprits than others. There’s an old wives’ tale that claims that eggshells are allegedly good for garbage disposals because they will sharpen the blades. In reality, the membrane layers of eggshells can actually wrap around the shredder ring, risking damage to the garbage disposal. Tea leaves and coffee grounds are also major contributors to clogs because they don’t break down, as well as fruit peels and rinds.
To prevent this problem, set up a compost bin and avoid putting food down the drain when possible.
2. Grease, Oil and Fats
Some more common causes of clogged pipes are grease, oils and fats. These substances will solidify in your pipes if poured down the drain, resulting in blockages that can cause serious problems to your home’s drainage system.
While some people may believe that simply running hot water while pouring grease, oil or fat down the drain will stop any issues from arising, it’s not a guaranteed preventative measure. If your pipes do end up clogging, you can try plunging them and then pouring a mixture of hot water and some detergent down the drain. The detergent will break down the solidified substance and you can try plunging again. If none of these methods work, you can hire a professional plumber in Hamilton.
3. Paper Products
The only paper product that should be flushed down a toilet is toilet paper, and even then excess amounts can still cause clogging. Other paper products, and paper-related products, that are common causes of clogged pipes include cotton swabs, wipes, cosmetic towelettes, diapers, and feminine hygiene products.
Feminine hygiene products like tampons can grow up to 10 times their original size when flushed after they have absorbed fluid. They also don’t break down or dissolve like toilet paper is designed to. Similarly, diapers and wipes are too bulky to be flushed and will cause blockages, so refrain from flushing any paper products and opt to throw them in the trash instead.
4. Cat litter
Cat litter is made of clay, sand and silica and is designed to absorb moisture and create clumps for easy cleaning. While this feature can make cleaning out your cat’s litter box relatively painless, it will cause major issues if it’s flushed down a toilet or any household drain. Take care and bag up your kitty’s litter and throw it away with the rest of your trash.
You’d be surprised that toys are one of the most common causes of clogged pipes – then again, if you’ve ever had young kids then maybe you won’t. Toys and other small objects can find their way into your pipes by children playing. There is a chance that these objects can result in a massive drain clog that will need professional help to dislodge.
To avoid this problem, make sure that all drain openings are protected by guards to stop small objects from being able to go down. Children might require some education on how toilets should not be considered a plaything. If you do end up with a clogged toilet, you can try plunging or using a toilet auger. If the object is firmly lodged, call a plumber in Hamilton to help you.
6. Dental Floss, Hair and Other Stringy Stuff
Dental floss, hair, animal fur and other stringy material are the most common causes of clogged drains in bathroom fixtures like showers, bathtubs and sinks. They are especially harmful because they can knot up, combine with other substances already in the pipes and attach to parts of the drain.
If your bathroom finds itself with a clog, plunging the drain will oftentimes work. If that doesn’t work you can also try a commercially available drain cleaner, but it could also lead to damaging your pipes – especially if you use it repeatedly. The use of a hair strainer guard can prevent future clogs.
I bet you didn’t know that soap can actually lead to buildups. Soap residue, which is also known as soap scum, can accumulate over time, particularly in showers, sinks and laundry fixtures. What happens is that as the soap scum gathers and combines with other materials, it slowly reduces the diameter of the pipes and creates slow drainage or backups. Pressure cleaning is the most effective way to remove soap residue buildup in your pipes.
8. Offset pipes
Offset pipes can occur over the years as the ground shifts and settles, causing clogged and leaking pipes. If they’re moved out of place, it can affect the flow of water from your home. This is especially true for older pipes that were made in three-foot sections and built out of concrete and clay.
You will definitely have to call a Hamilton plumber to correct this issue, as it will likely involve major work such as excavating your yard. Even figuring out offset pipes are the problem can be difficult without the help of a professional since it takes place underground. Special equipment such as small cameras are needed to explore the situation within the pipes.
Upgrade your drain system if your home is older in order to prevent this from happening.
We hope that this list of the 8 most common causes of clogged pipes was helpful. If you ever experience any kind of clogged drain, whether or not the cause is on this list, PlumbWize Hamilton can help you! Contact us today to book an appointment with one of our expert plumbers.