Clogged drains can range from a nuisance to a symptom of much larger problems. There are many reasons why drains become clogged, but knowing why can also help a homeowner determine how best to take care of their plumbing system. Stay informed and aware of what goes down the drains and how to best care for buildings with older drain systems.
- Tiny cracks in water pipes leak small amounts of water into the surrounding dirt. Plant roots sense this water and grow toward the source, eventually growing into the pipes themselves. This becomes a major problem because over time the roots make the crack bigger, clog the pipes, and put pressure on the rest of the pipe. Plant roots can cause burst pipes and require pipe repair.
- Offset Pipes. In older buildings with clay or old concrete pipes, the material shifts and breaks down over time. These materials eventually mix in with the rest of the water and start building up down the pipeline. This problem continues until the pipes are replaced or properly maintained.
- Kitchen sinks often fall victim to grease clogs. Grease and fat may seem to wash down the drain easily, but these substances cool and congeal in the pipes, creating hard, difficult to remove buildup and sludge that coats the pipes. The best way to dispose of grease and fat is in the garbage.
- People are often surprised to find that soap causes clogs. This is the case because soap is made from the same basic ingredients as fat. Getting regular drain cleanings prevents soap buildup.
- Flushed Objects. Large or dense objects that get flushed down the toilet cause clogs. These items can include diapers, feminine hygiene products, paper towels, or anything that isn’t toilet paper. Toilet paper is made to break down in water, making it the only such product suitable for flushing. However, large amounts of toilet paper can cause clogs.