Initially, blocked pipes and clogged drains might not seem like much of a problem. But if not addressed properly, it can escalate into something severe.
The potential consequences of blocked drains include a corroded pipe and slow water drainage. It might lead to a sewage backup, broken pipes and costly repairs. Besides, blocked drains are also home to thousands of disease-carrying bacteria and nasty odours.
Every homeowner must go through this nuisance at least once in their lifetime. And, if they don’t sort them out quickly enough, there’s a potential risk of bringing along some health issues. There are several reasons for a blocked drain, from foreign objects which have accidentally fallen into the drain to grease, hair or other gunk build-ups.
Understanding the cause behind each issue allows for formulating a better strategy to deal with it. So, in this guide, we’ve discussed these factors and how to get rid of them in detail.
So, let’s take a plunge into this DIY clog removal!
What Are The Reasons For A Blocked Drain
Hair is most likely the leading reason for clogged drains in our homes. It’s usually easier to remove the hair from the gutters, but if it’s not done right away, it can raise some severe issues.
When getting ready or showering, a lot of hair falls into the drain and gets attached to sticky materials like grease, soap and other things, blocking the drain. To avoid this, install guards in the shower drain and clean them daily.
You may be wondering how a soap could cause a blockage in your pipes. Well, traditionally, soaps are made of fat or grease, which combines with water minerals, forming a hard residue called soap scum that clogs pipes and stains bath fittings.
A viable way to eliminate this issue would be to switch to a liquid body wash and clean your pipes periodically to remove traces.
Another reason for your blocked pipes is the deposition of dirt inside them. The purpose of drains is to carry waste and other elements outside, but dirt from your body and clothes can accumulate inside the drains and cause problems.
So, you must dust off the excess mud and dirt from your body and clothes outside before cleaning them inside.
D. Food Waste
Many homeowners drain the food waste into the drain, which you must avoid despite having a waste disposal system in your kitchen or bathroom sink. Instead, have a waste bin in your house and dump it there.
A kitchen drain is one of the most common blockages; food debris, fats and oils typically get poured down the kitchen sink and cause more severe blockages than a bathroom would see.
It is essential for food scraps like coffee grounds and tea leaves that don’t decompose quickly. Aside from that, you should avoid foods high in cooking oil and grease because they solidify inside the pipe and cause clogging. Soak the oil from these items on a damp cloth and dump it in the bin.
E. Mineral Build-up
Some colonies may have a supply of hard water, and the minerals dissolved in it can accumulate to form insoluble masses, resulting in drain blockage. The only solution would be to install a water softener, or you might have to descale the water and prevent sediment build-up.
Once established, the mineral build-up is difficult to remove and requires professional assistance if your pipes and drains are no longer functioning correctly.
F. Foreign Objects
Kids run around the house, attempting to flush their stuffed animals down the toilet. It might be a fun activity, but it can be a nightmare for the homeowners.
Besides kids, many people intentionally dispose of smaller objects into the drain apart from toilet paper, water and human waste. Besides, natural debris can fall into your outdoor drains, especially if there’s no gutter guard installed.
Things that are often flushed down a toilet that shouldn’t be are:
- Women’s hygiene products
- Most wet wipes
- Hair, exceptionally long hair
- General rubbish
If any such object gets stuck into the drain hole, it can wreak havoc on your drainage system. And, you might need specialised tools like a drain auger or drain snake to deal with it. However, you might need to call a professional service if the situation worsens.
You must instruct your children not to flush their belongings. And, it would be best to dispose of the sanitary wastes in a bin rather than flushing them down the drain.
G. Toilet Paper Build-up
Flushing down too much toilet paper or sanitary products also creates pipe blockage. To avoid toilet paper build-up, use a toilet plunger regularly. If water overflows from the toilet and no other DIY methods work, it’s time to call a professional plumber.
H. Tree Roots
Tree roots are probably the most common reason for a blocked drain. As the plants grow, their roots begin to grow and spread everywhere, eventually entering the drain if one is nearby. Most people don’t consider this when planting trees, shrubs and other plants. However, root penetration inside a drain can cause a blockage and burst pipes if not treated sooner.
Removal of tree roots is a complex process and requires robust tools and techniques like a hydro jet, excavation and even pipe replacement. So, ensure no trees are present in the closest proximity of a drain.
How To Clear A Blocked Drain?
A. Boiling Water
If you want an easy and quick fix for your clogged drains, pour at least half a litre of boiling water down the drain. In some cases, this might be enough to dissolve the accumulated blockages without resorting to more drastic measures.
However, using hot water is advisable only if there are metal or ceramic pipes in your house and not plastic or PVC pipes. Pouring boiling water on plastic pipes can melt them, and heat can loosen the PVC pipe joints; despite it being able to loosen blockages, it’s not recommended to do frequently.
You can clean PVC and plastic pipes with hot water from your tap instead. This method is effective for removing food and grease but will not remove stubborn blockages caused by soap, toiletries or other solid objects.
B. Baking Soda & Vinegar
Natural DIY cleaner, formed by mixing white vinegar and baking soda (bicarb soda), is also an effective drain-cleaning agent for blocked drains. Pour the baking soda down the drain, followed by vinegar and keep it covered for a few minutes to avoid bubbles oozing out of the drain.
The bubbles are formed due to a chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar that produces oxygen, which cleans up the drain from inside. You might need to repeat the process a few times to eliminate the clog. Pour boiling water into the pipe after the mixture has scoured through the blockage to eliminate any leftover residue.
Typically, one cup of baking soda is enough to remove blockages, and it’s a well-tested home remedy that has worked for decades and should be one of the first steps in releasing blockages.
C. Caustic Cleaner
Another quality cleaner to get your way with cleaning a drain is caustic cleaners, readily available in a supermarket or local hardware store. This chemical is strong enough to dissolve hair, grease, food or others. However, these are considered hazardous, so make sure to use them in small amounts.
Stay protected when using this chemical by wearing gloves and a mask. And once blockages are removed, flush down hot water to remove any residual chemicals.
The plunger does an excellent job cleaning a clogged drain, just like a blocked toilet. When starting to plunge a drain, keep all overflow spouts covered to maintain a solid seal. A plunger’s upward and downward movement loosens any clogs inside your pipe, allowing water to flow smoothly again.
This method is optimal for clearing solid blockages, which are otherwise difficult to remove using the abovementioned methods. However, it doesn’t do an outstanding job with mineral or grease build-up.
E. Drain Snake
A DIY drain snake, also known as an electric eel tool, is ideal for dealing with the harshest blockages. The tool is a long wire with a rotating coil in the bottom, so when inserted in a clogged drain, it clears the blockages away gradually.
Although it’s a quality tool for unblocking drains, its primary limitation is its small size which offers a limited range. Unless there are blockages closer to the drain opening, it will not do a good job and will instead damage the pipe. So, try other methods first before using a plumber’s snake.
These are available at most hardware stores, or you can make them on your own by taking a wire hanger, straightening it, and making a u-bend at the end. Or, you always have an option to call professional plumbing services to clear the blockage for you.
F. Hydro Jet
Hydro jets contain a high-pressure hose with a specialised nozzle connected to a machine that produces a powerful water stream to clear out more severe blockages. This method is typically much more effective and safer for your pipes than snaking but might not be effective for solid blockages.
Although you can try this method on your own, hiring professional plumbers is preferable to safely and efficiently complete the job.
G. Excavation Or Pipe Relining
Excavation is done in extreme cases where the plumbers can’t remove the blockage remotely. With high-tech tools and jetting equipment, plumbers don’t need to access the pipe physically.
The drain in question might be in poor condition, or several plumbing leaks might be present that require pipe replacement of the entire section. Other than that, the pipe might get entangled in tree roots which can be tricky to remove unless you’re willing to cut down the tree or kill the roots. If your plumber offers it, you may also be able to reline your pipes instead of replacement.
Clear Drain Blockages Clogs By Hiring A Pro
Before we wrap up, here are a few tips for you to choose the perfect plumber for the job. Always choose licensed plumbers, especially if your state requires licensing, as all Australian states do. Examine whether the plumbers provide proof of insurance and whether they are willing to offer a same-day service to fix your plumbing emergency.
Aside from that, ask your local plumber how long they have been working in the industry. The more experienced, the better they are at their jobs. After scrutinising your drain pipes, they must provide a cost estimate to solve the problem. And lastly, you can check our 5-star reviews on our website.
If you’re still battling drain blockages despite your best efforts, it’s time to call a professional and have them fix the problem for you. So get in touch with us today and let our professionals unblock your drain safely, effectively, and without extra stress!
We hope these tips help you clear out your blocked drain. Goodbye and take care!