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What Are The Most Common Causes Of Blocked Pipes?

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Blocked pipes are a common and inconvenient problem that many households face. They can cause disruptions to daily routines, damage to property, and require costly repairs. 

There are several reasons why pipes get blocked, and it is essential to understand the common causes to prevent them from occurring. In this article, we will discuss the most frequent causes and provide tips on how to avoid them.

Tree roots

Tree roots can be a major cause of pipe blockages. Seeking moisture, they can infiltrate pipes, especially those with existing cracks or leaks. Gradually, they grow inside the pipes, obstructing the flow and leading to blockages. This can cause significant damage, requiring expensive repairs. 

You might notice signs such as slow drainage or an unpleasant smell. Prevention is crucial. Regular maintenance checks can help detect and deal with such issues early. Planting trees away from pipework and choosing species with less invasive roots can be a proactive step towards avoiding such problems in your home.

Fat, Oil, And Grease Accumulation

Fat, oil, and grease, often abbreviated as FOG, are common culprits behind blocked pipes. When you wash these substances down the sink, they cool and solidify in your pipes. Over time, this causes a build-up that clogs the system. This fatberg, as it’s known, can lead to severe blockages, potentially causing overflow and damaging your property.

To prevent this, avoid pouring FOG down the drain. Instead, collect it in a container for appropriate disposal. Regular drain cleaning can also help in keeping your pipes clear and free-flowing. Remember, simple steps at home can prevent costly repair bills in the future.

Hair And Soap Scum Build-Up

Hair and soap scum are notorious for causing pipe blockages. When you shower or wash your hands, hair and soap particles can slip down the drain. Over time, they intertwine to form a stubborn clog. You might notice slow-draining water or standing water in your sink. 

To avoid these blockages, consider using drain covers to catch hair and large soap particles. Regularly clean these covers to prevent build-up. Also, routinely pouring boiling water down the drain can help dissolve minor soap clogs. Your proactive steps can save you from the inconvenience and potential expense of blocked pipes.

Foreign Objects

Foreign objects can also lead to blocked pipes. You’d be surprised what often ends up there – toys, sanitary products, wipes, and even jewellery. These items aren’t designed to navigate the bends and twists of your pipework, causing immediate blockage. 

Unlike natural causes or FOG accumulation, this can result in abrupt water stoppage or a noticeable decrease in water flow. To prevent this, always be mindful of what you dispose of in your sinks, toilets, and baths. Using bins for non-biodegradable waste and teaching young children about what shouldn’t go down the drain can save your pipes and your pocket.

Pipe Corrosion And Scaling

Corrosion and scaling in your pipes can cause severe blockages. Over time, your pipes may corrode due to the chemicals in the water, leading to impaired water flow. Scaling happens when mineral deposits build up inside the pipe, reducing the internal diameter. This build-up can create a perfect breeding ground for blockages. 

Corrosion may also weaken the walls of your pipes, making them more susceptible to cracks, leaks, and bursts. It’s crucial to consider pipe material when installing or replacing in your home, to prevent such issues and ensure the longevity of your plumbing system. Regular inspections and maintenance can also help identify and address these problems early on.

Broken Pipes

Broken pipes are another common cause of blocked pipes. This can occur due to environmental factors like root intrusion, ground movement, or severe weather conditions causing the pipes to crack or collapse. 

This disrupts the normal flow of water, leading to blockages. It’s important to regularly inspect your plumbing system for signs of damage. In case of suspected pipe damage, engage a professional plumber immediately. They can use specialised equipment, like CCTV drain cameras, to diagnose the issue accurately and recommend the most effective solution, such as pipe relining or replacement.

Final Thoughts

Understanding these common causes of blocked pipes and taking preventative measures can save you from costly repairs and inconveniences. It’s crucial to be mindful of what goes down your drain, regularly maintain your plumbing system, and seek professional help when needed. With proper care and maintenance, you can ensure the smooth functioning of your pipes for years to come.

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