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Clogged Drains – Causes & How to resolve them

Clogged drains can be a nuisance to resolve.
No plumbing problem is fun to deal with. Whether you have a minor or major plumbing issue, both can be troublesome if you do not know how to resolve them. One of the most common types of plumbing problems are clogged drains. Clogged drains can occur in any drain in your house and sometimes it’s severity can affect the entire water works of your home. Highly clogged drains in particular can be more difficult to fix and they can take a significant amount to potentially clean out the pipe or to replace it with a new one if the damage is severe enough. Luckily, if you know the common causes of clogged drains, then you can prevent them from occurring completely. Here is a list of the most common plumbing problems, as well as how you can resolve your clogged drains by utilizing a variety of methods, depending on severity.

What are the most common signs of a clogged drain?

The most common signs of a clogged drain include:
  • Water + sewage back up
  • Slow draining after the use of water works
  • Certain appliances making strange noises when another is working 
  • Foul odours coming from your drains
  • Bubbling in your toilets whenever water is run in nearby sinks
If you notice any of these signs are taking place in your home, it is a strong indicator that you may have a clogged drain.

What are the common causes of clogged drains?

Clogged drains are among the most common types of clogs that occur in a household. When they do occur, it can be difficult to determine what has caused the clog, unless you can get a drain inspection. You can narrow down what has caused your clogged drains from the following list:

Tree Roots

  • Tree Roots are one of the most common types of causes of clogged drains. They are most commonly discovered in older homes, but just because you have a newer home does not mean that you cannot encounter tree roots. Tree roots are also even more common in forested areas, so if you live in this type of area then you should check for tree roots frequently. Tree roots naturally require water to grow and this is the reason why they are attracted to your sewer pipes, particularly if they are already damaged. One of the clear signs that your home has tree roots is if you can hear a gurgling sound coming from the pipes of your home.

Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG)

  • FOG is another common cause of clogged drains. Not only because FOG is commonly used in the kitchen, but many homeowners believe that it is fine to toss these substances down the drain. However, this is not the case as each of them can get stuck in your pipes and cause clogs which can completely disrupt your entire plumbing system. Homeowners can assume things that contain heavy amounts of FOG can clog your drain, but even more minor FOG substances such as butter and vegetable oil can result in a clog. The best way to deal with any type of FOG, regardless of how much it has, is to dispose of it into the trash. By avoiding the disposal of FOG down your drain, it will be far less likely to experience a clog.


  • Many people believe that since hair is a natural part of our bodies, that it will have little effect when it falls down a drain. However, if enough hair accumulates in a drain, it can be another troublesome substance that will disrupt the water flow throughout your home. Of course, you cannot stop hair from falling from your hair, but you can use a drain screen to prevent hair from making its way into your drain. If you also recongnize that there is alot of hair on your drain, then you can use tweezers or a safety pin to remove it from your drain. Doing this every once in a while will prevent your drain from experiecning a major clog.

Pipe alterations

  • Due to the changing weather conditions and other external factors, your pipes can directly be responsible for a clogged drain. Though this may seem strange as there is no substance that is directly causing a blockage, when your pipes undergo major weather changes such as freezing, then your drains can become clogged. This is common with pipes of older homes that may be made of weaker materials such as concrete or clay pipes. To avoid this completely, it is best to replace your older pipes with pipes made up of newer and stronger materials such as metal.

Insoluble food (e.g. eggshells)

  • While in your kitchen, there has probably been a time where you felt too lazy to throw the remains of food out in the trash, so you decided to toss it down the sink instead. This may seem harmless, but over time if you toss substances that do not break down easily, they can be difficult for your drain to run down, resulting in a clog. It is best to avoid tossing down all foods, particularly egg shells, meat bones, potato peels and other vegetables. Remember that even if you have a garbage disposal, it does not mean that you can freely toss down whatever you want!

How can I resolve my clogged drain?

Depending on the severity of your clogged drain, you can experiment with some DIY methods to relieve it. Here are some DIY steps that you can attempt on a minorly clogged drain:
  • Check if your drains contains any visible debris 
  • Try to pour hot water down your drains to see if it eases the clog
  • Using a drain cleaner product (avoid using too much as it could damage your pipes)
  • Use a sink plunger 
  • Pour vinegar and baking soda down your drain and let it sit for a couple of minutes
These methods are to be attempted at your own risk. Avoid using too many chemicals in your drains as it could damage your pipes. If you attempt each of these methods but have no success, you are best off calling a plumbing professional. Here are some of the measures that you can take with the help of a plumbing professional:
  • Camera Inspection: Camera inspections that are designed specifically for your pipes can help you in determining the likely cause of your clogged drain. It will also give the plumbing professional a better idea of what resolution method is best suited for the condition of your pipes.
  • Pipe Cleaning: Using a pipe cleaning method such as hydro jetting or a router machine can cut through thicker substances that are causing your drains to clog. Hydro jetting uses a high-pressure water beam to clear out your pipes of debris while the router machine can cut directly through substances and relieve a clog in your pipes.
  • Pipe Replacement: If your clogged drains are so severe that no other drain cleaning methods work, then it is best to replace your pipes completely. If only a part of your pipes are damaged then you can get a plumber to add an epoxy lining to your pipes, which can be installed directly into broken pipes and cause them to work normally again.
Remember these second set of clogged drains resolutions should only be conducted by a plumbing professional, so DO NOT attempt to do them by yourself or you may experience property damages. If you have any questions about the signs, causes and solutions of clogged drains, feel free to contact us, we will be ecstatic to answer your questions!
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