What Causes Blocked Drains and How To Avoid Them

Blocked drains can be a frustrating and disruptive issue in any household or commercial setting, often leading to unpleasant odours, slow drainage, and even potential damage to plumbing systems. Understanding the root causes of blocked drains is essential for effective prevention and timely resolution.

So, what are the main causes of a blocked drain?

Foreign Objects

One of the most common culprits behind blocked drains is the inadvertent introduction of foreign objects into the plumbing system. Items like hair, soap scum, toiletries, and even small toys can accumulate over time, obstructing the flow of water.

Grease and Fat Buildup

Pouring cooking grease and fat down the drain may seem convenient, but they solidify as they cool, adhering to the inner walls of pipes. Over time, this buildup can constrict the passage of water and lead to blockages.


Kitchen sinks often fall victim to food scraps and debris that are washed down the drain. These particles can accumulate and form blockages, particularly if there is no sink strainer in place to catch them.

Tree Roots

In outdoor plumbing systems, tree roots are a significant threat. They can infiltrate pipes seeking moisture and nutrients, causing them to crack and become blocked by root intrusion.

Deterioration and Aging

As plumbing systems age, pipes can deteriorate, leading to cracks, leaks, and collapsed sections. These damaged pipes can trap debris and allow soil and other materials to enter, causing blockages.

Hard Water and Mineral Deposits

In areas with hard water, mineral deposits such as calcium and magnesium can accumulate within pipes, gradually reducing their diameter and impeding water flow.

Incorrect Pipe Slope

 Drainage systems rely on gravity to move wastewater. If pipes are improperly installed with an inadequate slope, water may not flow efficiently, leading to blockages caused by stagnant water and debris accumulation.

Flushing Non-Flushable Items

Flushing items like baby wipes, sanitary products, or paper towels down the toilet can result in blockages in the sewer line. These non-biodegradable materials do not disintegrate like toilet paper and can clog pipes.

Lack of Regular Maintenance

Neglecting routine maintenance and cleaning of drains can allow blockages to accumulate over time. Periodic inspections and cleaning can help prevent issues from becoming severe.

Preventing blocked drains involves a combination of proper disposal habits, routine maintenance, and professional plumbing services. It is important to dispose of waste correctly. This can be done by avoiding non-flushable items and installing drain guards or sink strainers, to reduce the risk of blockages. Additionally, professional plumbing inspections can identify potential issues early, allowing for proactive solutions and minimising the inconvenience and cost associated with blocked drains.

Related Articles

Back to top button