Our drainage systems are a part of our homes that we don’t think about until there is a problem. Because drains are designed to take wastewater away from our kitchens, bathrooms, and laundries, a blocked drain can wreak havoc on the home. While our actions can affect the state of the home’s drainage system, other elements can come into play. So, what exactly causes a blocked drain?
Before considering some of the causes of blocked drains, we need to understand the impact they can have in our homes. Our drains are designed to take wastewater out of our homes. When we have blockages, the water can’t escape and so builds up to the point where the only place it can go is back through our plumbing fixtures. Floor wastes, basins, and sinks are all areas where wastewater can re-enter a home if there is a blockage, bringing not only water damage to our homes, but potential health and safety risks associated with bacteria, fungi, and slip hazards.
What causes our drains to block?
Inside our homes, the most common cause of blocked drains is what goes into them. In kitchens, food waste and grease can build up inside the plumbing. If this continues untreated, the drain can become so filled with grease and food waste that water cannot pass through.
Our bathrooms and laundries are quite similar. Dirt is regularly run through our shower and bath grates. Occasionally foreign materials, such as hair, cosmetic creams, wipes, and excessive amounts of toilet paper, can enter the drainage network and lead to blockages.
Preventing blockages from these elements comes down to being aware of, and minimising, what goes down our drains, as well as regular cleaning.
Knowing what impact our actions can have on our drains is one thing, but what causes blockages that we can’t control? During construction, if our drains aren’t fitted and aligned correctly, the rate at which wastewater flows will slow. This slower flow rate promotes the growth of mould and mildew which leads to blockages over time and will require extra maintenance.
Plants can also be an unseen cause of blocked drains. A crack in an underground drain pipe will provide plant life with a constant source of water. As more and more roots get into the drain, they restrict the water flow to the point where waste materials get caught completely, cutting off the flow. Repairing blockages caused by roots can be costly, and ideally, homeowners should look to prevent their drains from becoming blocked before it’s too late.
How can we clear blocked drains?
While the water coming back into our homes is a sure-fire sign that there is a blockage in the system somewhere, knowing other signs of blocked drains can help to identify the issue early. As the blockages aren’t normally formed instantly, slow running drains and toilets are a key sign of a potential restriction in our drains. Trapped water within the system can also fill the house with a foul odour, making it unpleasant to be indoors.
Outside our homes, a cracked pipe could be identified by a patch of lawn that is greener than the rest. If you experience any of these signs, don’t run the risk of it all being fine, as the effects can be disastrous.
Calling out a licensed plumber to inspect the drainage system will help identify the cause of the blockage, as well as what steps are needed to rectify it and maintenance requirements to prevent it recurring.
If you’re on Sydney’s Northern Beaches or North Shore areas and have a blocked drain, or even if you suspect suspect that there may be a blockage, call the professional team at JEDI Plumbing today on 0411 774 381.