Let’s be honest — most of us forget all about our home plumbing until it stops working. Here’s the lowdown on the 10 most common mistakes that damage household plumbing, so your pipes stay healthy for longer.
Why drains clog
Drains clog for all kinds of reasons, but some are more obvious than others. Essentially, all it takes is a few unwanted objects down the plughole to cause everything from smelly pipes to slow-draining water. Worst-case scenario? Severely blocked pipes can cause floods, burst pipes, and wider structural damage.
Avoid a plumbing problem and watch out for these 10 common drain blockers.
1. Tree roots
Live near trees? Don’t forget that trees grow, and sometimes, they grow into your sewage pipes. But don’t worry. High pressure water jets are used to cut tree roots, so experienced plumbers can clear your pipes from tree root infiltration in no time.
The quicker you call a plumber, the better. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until there’s a flood to take action!
2. Foreign objects
Don’t put objects down the sink that don’t belong there. If they’re big enough, they won’t make it through your waste system and will get stuck in the pipes. If you have kids, don’t let them put toys in the sink, and always check the bathtub for stray objects.
You shouldn’t flush anything like cotton buds or nappies down the toilet. Nappies, in particular, will expand in water and seriously clog your pipes.
4. Food waste
All sorts of food waste go down the kitchen sink, from old vegetables to coffee granules. An easy solution is to mix a few tablespoons of baking soda in a cup of white vinegar and pour it down the drain. Follow immediately with boiling water from the kettle. This should be enough to clear minor blockages from food debris, but only if you do it regularly.
5. Cooking oil
Where possible, avoid putting cooking oil down the sink. When it hardens, it causes nasty buildups.
6. Mineral buildup
Got hard water? Then you need to watch out for mineral buildup. Again, you can use baking soda, white vinegar, and hot water to dissolve this.
Soap often contains fats which stick to your pipework. Don’t forget to clean soap scum from around your plugholes and pipes regularly.
Whether you’ve got long or short hair, it all builds up in the pipes and plugholes. If you notice that the water’s draining away slower than usual after a bath or shower, clogged hair could be the reason.
Always keep your drains clear from leaves, silt, and other natural debris. Left unchecked, they can block up your sewage lines.
10. Cat litter
Don’t pour cat litter down the sink or toilet — it’s hard to dislodge because it doesn’t dissolve easily. Use a plunger to clear out as much stray litter material as possible.
With a little careful maintenance, you can avoid unsightly drain problems. But if you’re struggling with blocked pipes or smelly, clogged drains, it’s best to contact professional plumbers for help.