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Surprising Causes of a Blocked Drain

Updated: Oct 3, 2018



We’ve all been there. We’re washing our hands in the kitchen or showering and notice that water isn’t being sucked down the drain like it should. Sometimes, water even comes back out! There’s nothing more frustrating- or potentially dangerous- than a blocked drain. While most of us are familiar with common causes of blocked drains like hair, little toys and large chunks of food, these are by no means a comprehensive list of blocked drain culprits. In fact, some of the most common causes of blocked drains are surprising! The next time you have a blocked drain and can’t find the cause, call a Greg Mitchell plumber to inspect your pipes for any of the following:


Soap

When we tell homeowners that soap can cause a blocked drain, many of them don’t believe us. How could something we’re told to use when washing our hands or bathing cause a blocked drain? That doesn’t make sense! These are common misconceptions. The truth is that not all soaps can cause blocked drains. Most liquid soaps are safe to use- it’s traditional soap bars that are the real culprits. These soap bars are typically made with grease or fat, which can then mix with minerals in the water and turn into a hard residue that sticks to the inside of your pipes. This residue can be extremely difficult to remove without help from an experienced plumber.


Mineral buildup

The difference between hard and soft water is the key to understanding mineral buildup. Depending on where you live, most areas have hard water that comes out of their taps. Hard water is water that is mixed with minerals. This may seem like a good thing, but hard water can actually turn into hardened masses inside your pipes. The best solution for this problem is to install a water softener or call a Greg Mitchell Plumber to regularly remove this buildup.


Tree roots

Tree roots are an especially common cause of blocked drains. It is also the hardest cause of a blocked drain to identify because the issue begins underground. If you have a miniscule leak or crack in your pipes underground, the pipe can become a site for tree growth. When trees begin to grow on the inside of your pipes, it happens very quickly. One day your pipes could be working fine and the next they could be blocked. Not only is this cause behind blocked drains common and hard to identify, but it’s also very difficult to fix. Depending on the extent of the problem, plumbers may need to do everything from pressure jetting to excavation.

While some causes of blocked drains are surprising to most people, it doesn’t make them any less prevalent. At Greg Mitchell Plumbing, we get calls often from homeowners who can’t find the cause of their drain blockage because it turns out to be one of these lesser-known and harder to identify causes. If you experience any blockage in your drains, don’t hesitate to call us. Leaving any of these problems for too long can result in significant damage to your pipes or- even worse- your home.

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