The Most Common Causes Of A Blocked Drain



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A blocked drain can be a frustrating and extremely inconvenient problem for homeowners. Not only can it cause unpleasant odours and standing water in sinks and showers, but it can also lead to more serious plumbing issues if not addressed promptly. 

The most common causes of blocked drains include:

  • Pouring grease and oil down the drain
  • Flushing inappropriate items down the toilet, such as baby wipes, make- up wipes, cotton buds, paper towels, and hygiene products, plus using too much toilet paper
  • Clogs caused by hair and other debris such as soap scum or flowers from bath bombs in the shower or sink drain

This can happen over time, as people use their sinks, showers, and toilets. As the debris builds up, it can eventually clog the pipe, causing water to back up and create a blockage.

How To Prevent Such Blockages?

To prevent these types of blockages, it is important to avoid pouring grease and oil (including coconut oil – which is a popular oil to use for dental hygiene) down the drain, and to properly dispose of any waste materials in the correct disposal bin. Additionally, regular cleaning and maintenance of your drains can help to keep them clear and functioning properly.

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So, Where Does A CCTV Drain Inspection Come In?

However, even with proper care and maintenance, your drains may still become blocked. In these cases, a CCTV drain inspection is a useful, often cost-effective tool in identifying the source of the blockage. With this type of inspection, a small camera is inserted into the drain, allowing a plumber to view the inside of the pipes and locate the blockage.

During a CCTV drain inspection, plumbers may find some blockages that may not be immediately apparent. For example, tree roots can sometimes grow into the pipes, causing blockages and damage to the plumbing system. 

In addition, small animals such as rats and squirrels can also find their way into the pipes, leading to blockages.

In some cases, the cause of a blocked drain may be more difficult to identify. A build-up of mineral deposits, known as scale, can accumulate in the pipes over time, causing blockages and reducing the flow of water. In these cases, a professional plumber may be able to use specialised equipment to break up the scale and restore the flow of water.

Unusual Causes Of Blocked Drains

While these are the most common causes of blocked drains, there are also some more unusual causes. Aspect’s team of blocked drain experts have seen their fair share of objects blocked in drains when performing CCTV drain inspections. One of these unusual causes is foreign objects that have been flushed down the toilet or washed down the sink. This can include everything from:

  • Toys
  • Jewellery (including wedding rings and luxury watches)
  • False teeth
  • ‘Criminal evidence’ (we’ve seen this happen in movies- it doesn’t work well in real life!)

These foreign objects can become lodged in the pipes, causing a blockage that can be difficult to remove.

It is important to remember to only flush toilet-friendly items down the toilet, and to dispose of other items in a responsible manner to prevent them from ending up in drains and causing problems.

The Bottom Line

The most common causes of blocked drains are the build-up of grease and other debris, flushing inappropriate items down the toilet, and tree roots. However, during a CCTV drain inspection, more unusual causes such as foreign objects and corrosion can also be found. 

By knowing the potential causes of a blocked drain, homeowners and property managers can take steps to prevent these issues and keep their plumbing system functioning properly.

And whilst we’re on the subject of plumbing and drains, do check out our guide to the 7 smells in your home you shouldn’t ignore. You won’t regret it! Or, perhaps you will…

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