Common Reasons for a Clogged Drain - And What You Can Do About It
May 13th 2022
At NCT Plumbing in Fort Worth, Texas, we’ve seen it all when it comes to clogged drains. We’ll spare you some of the most stomach-turning situations we’ve discovered, but can provide you with some common reasons for clogged drains and a few tips on what to do about it.
With the word “flushable” right in the name, one might assume that’s a good indicator that these wipes are safe to flush, but your home’s wastewater system and that of the city you live in will probably disagree. Ideally, the only things meant to be flushed down your toilet are human waste, biodegradable toilet paper and the water that fills your bowl. Anything else – including flushable wipes – can wreak havoc on your home’s plumbing system and beyond. The best course of action to deal with problems caused by flushable wipes is to prevent the problems in the first place. If you must use moist wipes, place them in the garbage, not the toilet bowl.
If your bathtub or bathroom sink drain seems a little sluggish, there is a good chance it’s partially plugged with hair. Prevention is the best course of action here as well. Place screens over the top of the drain to prevent hair from washing down, clean out hairbrushes over the garbage rather than the toilet and sweep out any hair that’s gathered in your sink. If you do see strands of hair beginning to accumulate, use tweezers or needle-nose pliers to carefully pull it out before it washes further down the drain.
Oil and Grease
If it’s in a liquid state, it’s safe to pour down the sink, right? WRONG. When grease, oil and/or fat cool, they harden into a sticky trap that will eventually clog your pipes and cause potentially expensive problems. So instead of pouring cream, melted chocolate, oily residue from pans and other dishes, and other greasy substances down the drain, consider wiping them out with a paper towel in order to easily dispose of in a garbage can, or, in the case of larger amounts, pour it into a disposable container and then place the container in the trash once it’s cooled off/solidified somewhat.
Your favorite earring, your child’s tiny toys, dental floss and leftover food items, along with basically anything else you can think of small enough to fit down a household drain, can potentially plug it. Accidents happen, but even young children can be taught what is, and is not, acceptable to go down the drain – water, human waste, and biodegradable toilet paper. That’s it.
It’s possible to seemingly get away with ignoring some of the above advice – at least for a while. But over time these forbidden items can team up, stick together, and create a nasty blockage that can’t be ignored. If you’ve noticed your sinks and tubs draining a little more slowly than they used to, you may have a buildup happening in your pipes. The time to act is now. Waiting will only make it worse.
If you suspect you may have a clogged drain, there are a few things you can try:
- Visually inspect the drain. Can you see a ball of hair? If so, gently try to pull the blockage out. Now dispose of it in the garbage, not the toilet.
- Keep a plunger handy to unplug your toilet. Sink plungers are also available to unplug sink drains.
- Pour a kettle-full of boiling water down your sink.
- Snake or auger. With one of these tools, you can get to clogs that you’d be unable to reach with your tweezers.
- Chemical drain cleaner. Over time drain cleaner can degrade your pipes, so this remedy should not be used often.
- Natural remedies. Pour boiling water down the sink followed by ½ cup of baking soda. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before pouring in a mixture of one cup vinegar and one cup hot water.
Once again the best cure for clogged drains is preventing them in the first place, but that is not always an option, so even if you’re extremely careful and considerate of what you’re putting down the drain, clogs can still happen. Things like tree roots, pipe scale and pipe disintegration can also cause clogged drains. If diagnosing and/or treating the issue has you stumped, don’t hesitate to call a plumber – like us experts at NCT Plumbing. We have been clearing sewer and drain clogs in the Fort Worth and Dallas Texas Metroplex for years. Our drain cleaning specialists have the equipment to get your drains running again in no time. We can also use video inspection equipment to diagnose what’s causing the slow drainage or blockage issue and even mark the location. Read more about our Drain Cleaning Services and Call Us anytime for help.