Knowing the Causes of Clogged Drains
can Help Prevent Clogged Drains
Unless you practice good plumbing drain preventative maintenance, at some time you will join the millions of Americans that suffer through dealing with a stopped up or clogged drain at some time, be it kitchen or bathroom sink, bathtub or shower.
While one drain preventative maintenance measure is good at preventing drain blockage most of the time, it takes more than one preventative action to always have clean, clear fast draining plumbing drains. But first ….
We Need to Understand What Causes Clogged, Plugged Up or Stopped Up Plumbing Drains
So What Does Cause Drain’s to be Stopped Up?
Using plumbing drains for disposing of things other than what a plumbing drain was built for; draining water. That’s it. If plumbing drain pipes for kitchen or bathroom sinks were made for disposing of anything other than water there would be additional technologies built into your plumbing drains to prevent things other than water from clogging your drain pipes.
“But I have a Garbage Disposal” – We will get into that in another article. Just remember for our purposes, “Disposal” means to dispose of – NOT Dispose ALL. For now let’s just discuss what causes clogged plumbing drains and drain pipes.
Things that Clog Drains:
- Grease and Animal Fat – Everything from cleaning a chicken to trimming fat off of steaks, animal fat is grease/greasy can stop up plumbing drains. Cooking oils also adhere to the sides of your plumbing pipes and objects in the drain (See #2), building up over time and causing blockage.
- Paper – Most types of paper products, like paper towels, small cardboard tear tabs from boxed food products, stick on brand labels from produce and similar items do not break down like tissue paper does. By themselves Combined with grease and food products and you have the makings of a drain pipe blockage.
- Food – Yes even with a garbage disposal in the kitchen sink, you need to be diligent about avoiding washing food particles down your drains. Certain food particles do not break down or dissolve over time. There are certain foods that should not be flushed into your plumbing’s drainage system such as rice or pasta and some hot cereals such as oatmeal and cream of wheat. These items expand with amount of water in the pipes and will create a clog in the plumbing drain pipes.
- Hair – A buildup of hair in plumbing drains is one of the most common causes of clogged bathroom drains. Over time this can worsen if the blockage is not cleared as soon as possible. Men think that since the facial hair is so small it washes right through the drain pipes are right if (And only if) shaven hair is the only thing being washed down that can cause drain pipe blockage buildup. In most situations that is not the case as soaps, facial creams and other personal products also enter the same drain. Shaven hair adheres to these products easily and creates drain clogs.
- Personal Care Products – Soap is not water soluble. When mixed with water it forms a scum that can build up inside your pipes and eventually cause a clog. Other personal care products that are not completely water soluble will build up over time and contribute to all of the other causes in creating a clogged drain.
- Minerals – minerals will leave residue on your pipes that can eventually clog drain pipes. This is especially true of areas that have hard water. However many personal care products also contain minerals that can add to the residue, eventually causing a stopped up drain.
- Other Items – We never cease to be amazed at the variety of things young children can determine need to be stuffed down a plumbing drain. If you have children or grand children, we need say no more.
To make sure you are one of the few that never has to deal with a clogged or stopped up drain, let’s discuss what combinations of plumbing drain preventative maintenance measures to use, in the next article in this series: How to Prevent Clogged Plumbing Drains.