What Causes Blocked Drains and How to Prevent It from Happening to Your Home


Ashley Kinsela, Negosentro |  Blocked sewer drains often occur without a warning, due to a build-up of nefarious wastes and debris in a building’s plumbing system. To prevent the issue from wreaking havoc on your home, follow these handy tips:

#1. Be mindful when doing the dishes

Cooking fats and oils as well as food scraps can accumulate in your kitchen sink, with the first indication of a blockage often being the foul smell of rotten food. When doing the dishes, it can be tempting to simply scrape leftover food down the sink and wash away grease in the sink, but all of this will eventually build up in your pipes. Fatty substances will harden and accumulate in the pipes, resulting in water not being able to pass through. Similarly, food waste will also accumulate, with rice and legumes being particularly notorious for expanding in water.
To prevent food waste and grease from causing blockages in your kitchen sink, dispose of food waste in the bin first and let grease solidify before disposing it in the bin.  

#2. Clean up hair

The biggest culprit for bathroom blockages is hair, either shedding from our heads in the shower or when we style our hair in front of the bathroom mirror. In this case, it’s easy to prevent a blockage – simply clear any hair from the plugholes every time you use your bathroom.
For bathrooms and kitchens alike, ensure you have strainers installed on all drains. This will catch any food waste, hair or debris before it flows into your plumbing system, allowing you to quickly clean up before any damage is done.

#3. Dispose of toiletries and sanitary products correctly

Unfortunately, many people continue to dispose of toiletries and sanitary products incorrectly, which can cause massive blockages. Items like nappies, sanitary pads and baby wipes all harden or expand when in water, resulting in an accumulation of solid deposits. To prevent messy toilet blockages, ensure you are correctly disposing of anything that is not meant to be flushed down the toilet.

#4. Use a light hand

When using washing powder or detergents in your washing machine or dishwasher, use only the recommended amount. Excessive washing powder can solidify once deposited into the plumbing network, resulting in a hard-to-reach blockage.

#5. Clean up natural debris

Leaves and branches can be flushed into your plumbing system, so make sure to clear your gutters and outdoor drains regularly. Tree roots are drawn to water sources, meaning they can try to break through the pipes and create space for a blockage. Make sure to plant any trees at least 25 metres away from your drainage system to ensure the roots do not get too close to the pipes.

Regularly maintain your garden and keep gutters clear to prevent outdoor plumbing issues. A good time to do this is if wild weather has scattered debris all over your backyard or heavy rains are presenting a risk of a blockage.

#6. Let your kids know the toilet is not for their toys!

Children may attempt to flush toys down the toilet, or simply take their dolls for a “swim”. Make sure your children know the toilet isn’t a toy or try to supervise them.

#7. Receive a quality installation in the first place

A shoddy installation will leave you vulnerable to drainage issues in the future, meaning the best thing you can do is invest in a proper installation the first time around. A licensed plumber will lay pipes the correct way, allowing for smooth water flow and reducing the chance of blockages. If you need to install plumbing at your property, make sure to contact a reputable, licensed plumber to do it correctly and save you hassle in the future.

Blocked drains can be caused by any number of foreign matter, from food that gets stuck in the sink to hair that accumulates in the shower drain. By adopting habits that keep your drains and sinks clear, you can prevent costly and disruptive blockages from occurring. If a blockage does occur, make sure to call a reputable local plumber for the blocked sewer drain for prompt assistance.