Drains are located all around a property, they are for stormwater runoff to escape down into underground sewers and internal water flow such as sinks, showers, baths, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers.
Outside, there are drains placed all around a property and you may not have even noticed them before. Usually one is placed in front of a garage, you can see it on your driveway.
Basically, drains are where water flows into so it can escape down into the underground system and continue it’s way into the sewer. When you have blocked drains there can be temporary fixes such as chemical products from your local supermarket. Most commonly known as drain cleaner crystals, these don’t completely unclog a blocked drain though, they only create a temporary cure to the underlying problem. To completely unclog a blocked drain you need a qualified professional to open up the drain and eliminate the blockage.
What Causes Blocked Drains?
There are many causes as to why drains become blocked. First we need to understand the different types of drains. There are internal drains, these drains are all located inside the house or building. Then there are external drains, these drains are positioned in low lying areas all around the premises.
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Causes of internal blocked drains include:
- Grease - A common problem that causes kitchen drains to become blocked. Oil, grease and fat left on the fry pan goes into the kitchen sink to be washed. This is normal and everyone does this. However over time, there can be a build up inside the drain that causes a blocked drain.
- Food Scraps - Similar to grease build up in the kitchen sink, food scraps are just a quicker way of blocking your drains. Food scraps combined with grease can over time form into a solid mass, creating a severe blockage in your kitchen sink.
- Soap Scum - Common causes of blocked drains in bathroom sinks and showers. Soap scum is calcium stearate, or more simply known as calcium buildup. This can easily be prevented and cleared away with a strong cleaning product, however in older properties the buildup can become more solid and cause a completely blocked drain.
- Hair - Again, a similar story to soap scum. Mainly affecting bathroom sinks and showers, hair can combine with soaps and other debris to block a drain. Regular cleaning and attention to shower drains, bathroom sinks and baths, removing any hair or gunk can help reduce the risk of a blocked drain.
- Toys - We can never keep our eyes and attention 100% on our children. Sometimes the little rascals think it’s funny to experiment watching things go down the drain. Well we have seen it all, almost any toy capable of blocking a drain, we’ve seen it.
- Kitty Litter - There are two types of kitty litter, flushable and non-flushable. Unfortunately an all too common problem is having non-flushable kitty litter cause a blocked drain. Make sure you check what type of kitty litter you have before attempting to flush!
Causes of external blocked drains include:
- Leaves - Commonly, the driveway drain will collect leaves and debris as rain washes small leaves, twigs, dirt and stones into the drain. A steady buildup over time can cause a blocked drain which has the potential to cause driveway flooding, affecting your garage or your neighbors!
- Tree Roots - Tree roots are super persistent and strong! Once they get a taste of dripping water from a leak, they force their way inside and create a blockage. More common with older systems where clay piping is involved.
- Roof Runoff - The rain that falls on your roof has to go somewhere, this is what guttering and downpipes are for. However, a common cause of blocked drains is because bird droppings, twigs, sticks, and other tree matter builds up in the guttering. This can impact the flow of the stormwater system on your property. If you have trees near your roof it’s a good idea to regularly clean out the guttering to prevent a blocked drain.