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Just Around the U-Bend: Common Causes of Drain Clogs

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No one wants to deal with a clogged drain. Unfortunately, drains can get clogged for many reasons. If left unattended, though, a clogged drain can cause severe problems for your plumbing system. Slow water drainage, flooding, corrosion, and sewage backup are just some of the plumbing disasters that a seemingly simple clogged drain can cause.

Luckily, you can avoid getting a clogged drain by knowing what causes it. The folks over at My Buddy The Plumber Heating & Air, LLC have helpfully listed some common causes of clogged drains in this article.

Food Waste

Even when you have a garbage disposal in the sink, food waste should never go down the drain – especially food waste that doesn’t break down, like coffee grounds and tea leaves. Instead of throwing your food waste down the garbage disposal, you should instead set up a composting bin. Not only are you saving your pipes, but you’re also helping save the environment.

Grease, Oil, and Fats

When poured down the drain, grease can cake the walls of your pipes, reducing drain flow. This is because grease hardens and solidifies as it cools. The easiest way you can avoid this is by disposing of your grease in another way. You should let your kitchen grease solidify first. Then, scrape away the mess and throw it out with the garbage. This will keep your pipes clean and free of oil.

Wipes and Towelettes

Just because they’re advertised as flushable doesn’t mean that you should flush them down. Wipes and towelettes don’t break down as easily as toilet paper and can cause a blockage in your pipes. Throw these things in the garbage instead of flushing them down.

a clogged drain

Cat Litter

Cat litter is made of clay, silica, and sand, and should never be flushed down a toilet. These substances are highly absorbent and create clumps; once in your pipes, they will turn into large clogs that will block your sewage system.

Drain Cleaners

While drain cleaners are there to help keep pipes flowing freely, some contain ingredients that may be damaging not only to plumbing but to you as well. Simply breathing in some drain cleaners can lead to drain cleaner poisoning. If you’re going to use drain cleaners, make sure that you have done a little research on the product first.


Hair can bind with grease and other substances to form clogs. Additionally, hair can knot together to form clumps that can trap in bad odors and result in major blockages. The best way to avoid hair from blocking your pipes is by ensuring that all your drains have guards that can catch hair. Remember to clear these guards regularly.

Tree Roots

Plants are naturally attracted to water. If there is a small crack or leak in your pipes, you may find some tree roots there. Once inside your pipes, the tree roots will grow quicker and larger, since they have a steady supply of water and minerals. These tree roots not only obstruct water flow but can also cause pipe damage. Removing tree roots from your pipes may require a complex procedure, such as excavation. Avoid this problem by reviewing the root structure of your trees and plants.

Not everything in your home is plumbing-friendly. When these items make their way into your pipes, you’re in for a world of problems. It’s up to you to make sure that items that don’t belong in your plumbing system never get there, in the first place.

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