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Expert Tips on Common Causes of Clogged Plumbing & Prevention

Jul 30, 2023 | Plumbing Advice, Sewers & Drains

Expert Drain Unclogging Service

Plumbing systems, intricate networks of pipes and fixtures, can quickly turn from an invisible convenience to a disruptive nightmare when clogged plumbing occurs.

The pathways that guide water flow through your homes are vulnerable to blockages that impede their smooth operation, leading to potential hazards.
The risk of encountering a clogged drain looms ominously, whether it’s a kitchen sink, a bathtub, or even the toilet.  However, beneath this innocuous problem lies many potential issues, ranging from flooding to corrosion and, in dire cases, sewage backups.

In this article, let’s look at some of the common causes of clogged drains and how to avoid them.

Common causes of household clogs

Food scraps

No matter how fancy your garbage disposal may be, it must be equipped to handle large amounts of food scraps. Those contraptions are built to tackle bite-sized leftovers, not an avalanche of your food debris. Coffee grounds, eggshells, pasta, rice, and those fruits and veggies we all love? They’re on the bad list for your garbage disposal.

There’s a better way to dispose of these hefty food scraps. Enter composting! Think of it as giving those leftovers a new lease on life. Instead of tossing them into your regular trash, transform them into nutrient-rich goodness for your garden. It’s a win-win situation!

Remember, composting is the way to go when it comes to large food scraps. Your plumbing will thank you!

Contact O’Grady Plumbing if you are facing the above problem!


Another culprit behind clogged drains is your hair!

The presence of human hair, along with animal fur and other stringy materials like dental floss, frequently serves as a significant factor leading to drain clogs, particularly in shower, laundry, bathtub, and bathroom drains.

The issue becomes notably problematic due to its propensity to entangle and coalesce with other substances, such as soap and grease, firmly adhering to various sections of the drain. Based on personal observation, I have found that hair is commonly implicated in forming highly resistant clogs, particularly in bathtubs, showers, and bathroom sinks. (1)


Including animal fat derivatives is a significant characteristic in producing numerous commercially available bar soaps. When these fats interact with the minerals present in water, an undesirable residue known as soap scum is formed.

Accumulations of soap scum pose a formidable challenge when attempting to cleanse bathroom surfaces and can even lead to the obstruction of drain pipes. Find that your chosen bar soap consistently leaves behind visible traces of soap scum. Exploring alternative options, such as liquid soap or bar formulations devoid of animal fats, may be important.


We all have a misconception that disposing of dirt down the drain will wash it away. Contrary to popular belief, the assumption that any amount of land can be effortlessly flushed away down the drain is erroneous. In reality, the dirt can create clogs, particularly when mixed with hair, soap, and grease within the plumbing system.

To fix such issues, various proven methods can be employed. For example, the use of a plunger can often provide a successful resolution by creating pressure and dislodging the blockage.

Another option is to utilize a drain cleaner specifically designed for this purpose. A cleaning auger, such as a plumber’s snake, can navigate the obstructing materials within the drain.

Oil, grease, fat

Oil, grease, and fat also pose a huge risk to the integrity of drain systems. When poured down drains, grease and oil solidify within the pipes, gradually accumulating and causing troublesome blockages. It is worth noting that the common belief that running hot water while disposing of fat down the drain will prevent any issues doesn’t work.

To fix this, several recommended methods can be employed. Attempting to resolve the blockage through plunging is advisable. Should this prove ineffective, a mixture of detergent and hot water can be mixed and poured into the affected area, allowing the solution to break down the solidified oil. If the blockage persists, you should use a commercial drain cleaning product.

Tree roots

Invasive tree roots, which tend to infiltrate underground pipes, represent a frequent culprit behind such clogs. These tree roots can exploit minuscule leaks or cracks in sewer lines as points of entry. As they continue to grow within the pipes, they can impede the flow completely or even cause pipe ruptures, resulting in significant disruptions.

Fortunately, you can avoid this using Hydro jet cleaning. It involves high-pressure water and effectively eliminates minor clogs caused by tree roots. (2)

Wipes and diapers

Let’s talk about an important rule of toilet etiquette: only toilet paper and human waste should find their way into the toilet bowl. Wipes and diapers, as convenient as it may seem to flush them, need a bulkier plumbing system in order to handle them and can lead to troublesome blockages. Even that fancy quilted toilet paper can pose a risk, particularly when used excessively.

There are simple remedies at your disposal. Plunging is often a tried-and-true method to clear the blockage. Applying some elbow grease with an auger or a plumbing snake can also do the trick.

Prevention is always better than a clogged toilet. So, refrain from flushing anything down the toilet except for human waste and toilet paper. As for that plush quilted paper, try to use it sparingly to avoid overwhelming the system.

When to invest in Drain Cleaning Services?

Knowing when to invest in drain cleaning services is crucial for maintaining the proper functioning of your drains and preventing frustrating clogs and blockages. Over time, various substances like grease, hair, soap scum, and other debris tend to accumulate on the inner walls of your pipes, leading to potential issues. If you notice that one of your drains is no longer draining as swiftly as it used to, it’s a strong indication that a clog is in the making.

When you face clogs or other plumbing concerns, rest assured that O’Grady Plumbing, your trusted plumbing professional, is just a phone call away. Our skilled technicians are well-equipped to handle all your plumbing issues, regardless of their scale.

We pride ourselves on providing exceptional service to address your needs efficiently and effectively.

Don’t let clogs disrupt your daily routine. Contact O’Grady Plumbing today to schedule an appointment, and let us take care of your plumbing problems with professionalism and expertise.

People Also Ask

What is a drain blockage?

A drain blockage is a physical obstruction or barrier that hinders the smooth flow of liquids through an opening or tube. When a blockage occurs in your sink drain, for instance, it can lead to overflow and unwanted water accumulation. Generally, there are two primary types of blockages: the first type directly affects your plumbing system, impeding the natural flow of water through the pipes.

What is the safest way to clean drains?

According to plumbers, the most recommended approach for cleaning out clogged drains is using mechanical means, such as plunging and snaking, combined with hot water and avoiding chemical cleaners, as they can potentially harm your pipes and pose hazards to human health. By utilizing these mechanical methods and hot water, you can effectively and safely clear your drains without causing any harm to your plumbing system or yourself.



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