Clogged Drains

Common Clogged Drain Issues

At Impero Drainage & Plumbing, we're always there to help homeowners with their plumbing needs. Learn about common plumbing questions and answers and call us if you need further assistance. 

Clogged drains can lead to major water damage if left untreated. Our friendly and quick plumbing response times can help you fix a clogged drain soon.

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Clogged Drains

Yes, a clogged drain and pipes are inconvenient and have the potential to cause damage to the plumbing infrastructure. The first sign can be slow drains that start to take more time to reduce the water in your sink. Pipes become clogged and the overflow drain can happen for a variety of reasons. When you understand the causes of clogged pipes, it can help you to take preventative measures to help you avoid clogged pipes in the future and reduce the wear and tear on your pipes also. 

Clogged pipes are a common drain plumbing issue that occurs in residential and commercial buildings. It is a combination of human activity and natural long term process that can cause clogged drains.

What are the common causes of clogged pipes?

clogged drains plumber wrenchThere are a number of reasons for clogged drains and pipes. These materials are a variety of everyday items.

Items that clog drains in the drain pipe include: 

  • Hair
  • Soap residue
  • Dental floss
  • Small toys
  • Tampons and female projects
  • Diaper wipes
  • Non-disintegrating materials in the drain pipes that do not break up easily in water compared to will clog your drain pipes and toilet quickly.

Foreign Objects:

Accidental flushing of foreign objects down the toilet or poured into the sink can lead to slow drain or blockages. 

These items can contribute quickly or over time to create leaking pipes or substance build up in the pipes that reduce water flow over time.

Grease and oil can cause drain clogs

Pouring grease oil and fat down kitchen sinks is a major cause of clogged pipes in the kitchen sink. 

Grease and animal fat are substances that solidify quickly and coat the inner walls of the sink pipes. This traps debris and creates larger blockages over time. 

Food waste clog drains quickly

Food particles especially food that swells larger when wet like pasta noodles, rice and bread can get stuck in the pipes and restrict water flow. 

Water mineral buildup

If you have hard water, the water mineral can build up deposits and accumulate in your plumbing pipes over time. This can cause clogged drains.

Particularly Calcium and magnesium deposits from hard water gradually narrow the pipes diameter which lead to reduced water flow. 

Tree roots and Shrubs

Outside the shrubs and tree roots can cause significant damage to underground sewer lines. Shrub and tree roots can infiltrate plumbing pipes and cause small cracks causing sewer back up issues, pipe blockages, and large pipe damages. 

Toilet paper is the most common item to clogged drain complaints

You might have seen when excessive amounts of toilet paper is used, the toilet has a much harder time flushing the paper down away. Non-disintegrating materials like baby diaper wet wipes can block toilets quickly

Misaligned pipes

Poorly installed or old pipes can obstruct and reduce water flow. Old pipes can collapse, shift over time and cause complete pipe blockages that can lead to burst pipes.

Chemical reactions

When different chemicals are flushed down the toilet or drain pipes, it can cause a chemical reaction in the pipes. Chemical reactions can produce solid formations that reduce water flow and lead to total blockages. 

How to prevent a clogged drain or pipes? 

Let’s explore best practices on how to prevent clogged pipes in the drain pipe.

To maintain proper functioning plumbing systems, consider the following preventive clogged pipes options. 

Use a proper water disposal container

Educate the household members on what can and cannot be flushed down the drains and toilets. In public washroom, you may see signs to point out unacceptable items that can not be flushed down a toilet to deter drain blockages. 

Have the proper waste bin in bathrooms to dispose of hygiene products, baby wipes, cotton balls, and garbage properly. 

Grease disposal 

Provide the appropriate grease and cooking oil containers to dispose of and pour grease in a tin container, the garbage, or compost. Educate users on the importance of not pouring grease down the sink and practice regular drain cleaning tasks to deter grease buildup.

Kitchen Sink Strainers

Primarily kitchen sink strainers help to catch food particles to prevent food from clogging up the drain and pipes. A garbage disposal can also be useful to deter food buildup in your pipes.

Sink Cleaning recommendations

Routinely cleaning drains using a mixture of hot water, baking soda, and vinegar can help clear out debris the clogged pipes. The chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar can help to remove caked-on food and materials on internal pipes.  

Landscaping Maintenance Around Drain Pipes

Being aware of the location of major sewer lines and plumbing pipes outside your house can help you maintain larger trees and shrubs with strong roots near the pipes. Strong roots can cause problem for your pipes as they grow taller over time. 

Annual inspections

Regular plumbing inspections, hot water rinses with dish soap, and drain snake maintenance can detect plumbing issues before they turn into larger problems on your property. 

Water softener 

If you have hard water, be sure to do a water test to understand your water quality in more depth. You may need to install a water softener to reduce the water mineral buildup in your pipes. 

Drain cleaner recommendations

Some Harsh liquid drain cleaner or chemical cleaners can sometimes cause more problems than solve the primary issue. Harmful chemicals in some drain cleaners can cause pipe damage and harm the environment. 

How to clear a clogged drain? 

To fix a clogged drain, you can start gently with hot water and the plunger to try to unplug clogged pipes with the plunger pressure. To unclog drains, the sink pipes can be more fragile than the toilet drain so do not apply too much pressure that could break off the sink. Also, a drain snake can help dislodge pipe blockages to reduce the chances of a pipe bursting from the pressure. The baking soda and white vinegar mixture is also a good initial step to help reduce clogged drain buildup. Trying to remove the build-up of food scraps can take time and effort. Call your local plumber for a drain auger if it can be resolved from your own efforts. Find a plumber close by now!

Homes that were built from 1970- 1990 in BC could have Poly B Pipes in them. This poly B piping material is now showing flaws and wearing down in these older buildings and homes across BC.

Older homes built in the 1960’s can also have copper metal pipes that spring leaks randomly.

Call the plumber to see if these are any issues for you.

How to fix a clogged sink drain? 

With tough clogs, first start with a bit of hot water and slowly push a plunger to try to unplug clogged pipes with the plunger pressure. Also to clear tough clogs, a drain snake to dislodge kitchen and bathroom sinks and pipe blockages to reduce the chances of a pipe bursting from the pressure. The baking soda and vinegar mixture is also a good initial step to help reduce the clogged sink build-up. When trying to clear a clogged drain, removing the build-up of food scraps can take time and effort. Call your local plumber who has a drain auger to help you resolve this. 

How to fix a clogged shower drains?

Hair and soap buildup can be the major causes of a clogged shower drain in PVC pipes. For shower drain cleaning, clear away the hair on the drain and under the drain. Try the baking soda recipe below or a drain snake to remove more soap scum residue in the drain line. Tougher clogs may need a plumber’s assistance.

Does boiling water fix a clogged drain?

Generally no, a clogged drain will need more than just boiling water to unclog the drain pipe for stubborn clogs. Regular maintenance with hot water and dish soap helps to clear away mild scum.

Can baking soda and vinegar fix a clogged drain?

Yes at times, this can be a good first step to attempt to fix a clogged drain is a natural drain cleaner. For kitchen sinks and bathroom sinks, using baking soda mixture below is a good cleaning task to help with general upkeep and reduce long term drain buildup. You can pour boiling water down the drain to help reduce grease buildup at this time.

Baking soda and Vinegar for a clogged drain recipe

Use ½ cup of baking soda to 1 cup of vinegar.

It is a ratio of one-part baking soda to two parts vinegar for the best drain cleaner for your kitchen or bathroom sink. Slowly pour over the baking soda laying on the drain.

You should start to see the foamy reaction of the 2 materials as it moves down your drain. After a minute, flush hot water down the drain to test for progress. Repeat if necessary. Tidy with a wet rag. This is a simple solution to help clear a clogged drain.

How to fix clogged toilets?

To start to fix clogged toilets, a plunger is the first tool to use. Rapid action of pushing up and down can help to create suction and pressure to move clogged items in the toilet pipe. Generally, if you try the plunger with the do-it-yourself attitude a drain snake could also be useful. If this does not work, you will likely need to call a Vancouver plumber to assist you with more advanced plumbing tools. 

A professional plumber has all the plumbing tools for advanced options for clogged pipes like the hydro jetting system or a toilet auger to clear pipes safely. 

A Clogged drain or clogged pipes are a common plumbing problem caused by various factors including foreign objects stuck in the pipe, food waste, grease, water mineral buildup, exterior landscaping roots, or shifted older pipes. 

Preventive measures like a waste bin for garbage, sink strainers, regular cleaning, and maintenance schedule can help deter the risk of clogged pipes and water damage in the future. Learn more from the clogged toilet guide with prevention tips and solutions. 

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