9 Leading Causes for Clogged Drains


One of the most common reasons people call a plumber is a clogged drain. Toilets, sinks, showers, and bathtubs each have the potential to clog, and when you see water rising instead of draining, you may begin to panic. Clogs can cause bigger problems such as flooding, corrosion, and sewer line backups, none of which is welcome in your home. So, what causes drains to clog? Lots of things. We’ve put together this list of the 9 leading causes for clogged drains to help you better understand why clogs happen and what to do if they happen to you in your home.

1. Hair

Hair clogs are very common in homes. Everyone has hair, and that hair needs to be either washed or shaved, and the daily showering or shaving means hair is being rinsed down the drain. Those small bits of hair flushing down the drain may seem minor at the time, but the accumulation of hair builds up and disgusting clogs form. Over time, that clogged drain will lead to slow to drain or standing water.

To avoid these clogs, take precautionary measures and reduce the amount of hair that enters the drain in the first place. You can find a drain cover at most home improvement stores to place over your bathtub or shower drain to catch the hair. This one small addition can drastically help reduce the chances of hair clogging and eliminate the need for drain cleaning.

2. Soap

Believe it or not, most soaps are made by mixing animal fat with lye. Bar soap needs this hydrogenated fat to be turned into a solid, bar form. When the fat mixes with water minerals, it forms soap scum, and this soap scum can cause a clogged drain. If you notice that your soap bar is leaving large amounts of soap scum in your bathtub or shower, consider using liquid soap, which contains no animal fat.

3. Mineral Buildup

If you have hard water, it can cause the minerals in the water to build up along the walls of the pipes in your home. The dissolved magnesium and calcium in water hardens as it sits in your pipes, reducing the outlet in the pipe. Hydro jetting is a form of drain cleaning that works well in clearing mineral deposits and other blockages. Another option to resolve this issue is to install a water softener in your home.

4. Grease

Similar to hair, grease doesn’t cause a clogged drain immediately. This makes it easy to be careless when you are cleaning up after cooking and let the grease go down the drain. Fatty oil residue collects on the sides of kitchen pipes, and it’s only a matter of time until the pipes can no longer allow liquids to drain.

Here in Salt Lake City, temperatures can get quite cold, and this will cause those greasy oils to thicken and block pipes much easier, so it’s best just to avoid washing grease down your kitchen sink at all. Drain cleaning by a qualified plumber can help clear these difficult grease clogs.

5. Food Scraps

We mentioned above that grease can cause your pipes to clog, but it’s important for us to note that certain food scraps can also cause clogged drains in your home. Starchy foods such as potatoes, pasta, and rice can quickly plug your pipes, and so can fibrous fruits and vegetables. These items should be placed in a garbage can.

The truth is most household garbage disposals can only handle small amounts of food scraps. You should never put coffee grounds or eggshells in your garbage disposal, either. Consider taking these food scraps and composting them.

6. Roots

If you have trees or bushes planted around your home, especially if they’re older, the root systems from these plantings can easily penetrate through the ground and block pipes. Unlike hair or grease, this blockage isn’t as easy to see with the naked eye. Your local Salt Lake City plumber can run a camera through your pipes to help identify if roots are causing your pipes to clog.

7. Toiletries

If you’ve noticed your toilet having flushing and draining issues, you could have a sewer pipe clog. It’s common these days for people to flush feminine hygiene products, sanitary products, and baby wipes. Most of the products shouldn’t be flushed and will cause drain blockages, because each of these products double in size when they absorb water.

The good news is your friendly Salt Lake City plumber can help you with sewer line cleaning to remove these products. It’s important to state that if you have flushed these products before, you never should put them down the drain again. Dispose of these toiletries in the garbage.

8. Foreign Objects

If you have children, you know that it’s common to find kids toys everywhere throughout your home — and this can include drains. Small toys can easily fit down bathtub drains, and some not-so-small toys can even be flushed down the toilet. These objects can create an obstruction in the drain and lead to serious clogs.

To prevent this happening in bathtubs and sinks, install a drain cover to catch these items quickly. If a toy is stuck in the toilet drain, call your local plumber to inspect where the object got stuck — they can perform sewer line cleaning if needed.

9. Heavy Rain

Here in Utah, we can have heavy rain that falls during a thunderstorm. These heavy rains can easily cause drain blockages by bringing foreign objects into the drain system. Leaves, debris, any of these objects can build up in the sewer line and can cause clogs in the system. If it’s raining and you notice dirty water coming up into your sink or shower, contact your local plumber immediately.

Remember that it’s essential to keep your drains clear and in good working condition to prevent Drain Clogs in Salt Lake City. If you’re experiencing a drain clog and you need drain cleaning help, reach out to our trusted plumbers at 1st American Plumbing, Heating & Air for expert assistance. Our trustworthy plumbers are here to help you with all of your plumbing problems.

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