Some plumbing problems are rare, and you might be lucky enough never to experience them. But others are so common in McHenry that there’s almost a guarantee you’ll experience them, like a clogged drain. Learn more about what causes clogged drains, and you can start taking steps to prevent them. If you’re careful, you might not need to call for plumbing drain repair every other weekend.

1. Hair in Your Drains

No matter how much or how little hair you have on your head, you can be sure it goes into your drains. Every time you bathe or shower, some strands end up in your drain. The hair alone might be able to flow through your pipes, but grease and grime bind hair together. 

As time passes, the hairball continues to collect debris. It soon becomes large enough to completely block the flow of water. One way to prevent this from happening is to use drain catchers on your shower and tub. On a weekly basis, remove the covers and throw out the hair. While some hair might skip through the catchers, the apparatus keeps your drains somewhat clear. 

2. Soap Scum

The same product that cleans you dirties your drains. How is this possible? If you use traditional soap, it’s made with fat or grease. When the soap mixes with water, a residue forms in your plumbing. The residue, or soap scum, is hard and has the potential to clog your pipes.

If you see stains on your fittings, you could have an issue with soap scum. To prevent more build-up, consider changing to a soap-free wash. In any case, you should consider hiring someone to clean your drains. There may already be a significant scum blockage in your pipes.

3. Dirt and Mud

When people think of what goes down their drains, they don’t often envision dirt. But that’s exactly what ends up in your drains when you wash your clothes or shower after working in the garden. A little dirt doesn’t do much to clog up your drains. However, a lot of dirt can cause a significant blockage. 

If you want to keep dirt out of your pipes, rinse off your clothes and body outside with a hose. Most of the dirt will come off outdoors, leaving your shower and washing machine drain dirt-free. This won’t eliminate the need for plumbing drain repair but will make a difference.

4. Food Items

As hard as you might try, keeping food waste from going down your drains is difficult. A sink strainer catches large particles of food, but won’t collect everything. For instance, a strainer is no match for grease and fat.

If grease, fat, or other foods end up in your drain, they have the potential to cause serious damage. Grease and fat harden as they cool, which forms an impenetrable clog. To save your plumbing, let grease or fat cool and dispose of it in your garbage. Another option is to absorb it into a paper toil and then dispose of it. 

5. Minerals

Believe it or not, your water could be causing a clog in your pipes. If you have hard water, it contains minerals that accumulate in your pipes. It’s inevitable that you’ll experience plumbing problems unless you take action to protect your pipes.

First, test your water for hardness. If you do indeed have hot water, you may want to install a water softener. At the very least, you need to descale your pipes regularly. Because mineral build-up is difficult to remove, it’s best to catch the build-up early on. 

6. Personal Belongings and Hygiene Products

You might be shocked to find out what ends up down your toilet bowl. If you have kids, they could accidentally or intentionally throw a toy down the toilet. Even without kids in your home, your plumbing could experience a clog from feminine hygiene products or flushable wipes.

Don’t let foreign objects clog up your toilet. By being cautious about what goes into your toilet, you may prevent a plumbing disaster. If your preventative measures fail and you find out about an object going into your toilet, call a plumber as soon as possible. 

7. Toilet Paper

Yes, toilet paper does belong in your toilet. However, your toilet and pipes can only handle a certain amount of toilet paper. If too much toilet paper causes a clog, you can try to remove it with a plunger. But that won’t always remove the blockage. At times, you may need to call a plumber for assistance.

8. Roots

That beautiful tree in your yard might be nice to look at, but it could be threatening your pipes. Tree roots seek out moisture, which is abundant in your plumbing system. For this reason, some tree roots grow into pipes. 

At first, the roots may only cause a small crack. They continue to grow and start slowing the flow of water. Before long, the roots can cause a major blockage that requires a costly repair. There’s not much you can do to avoid this, but a regular plumbing inspection could catch the issue early and save you on a more costly repair. 

Preventing the Need for Plumbing and Drain Repair

Now that you know more about the common causes of drain clogs, you can take some preventative measures. This means doing all of the following:

  • Using catchers in your drains
  • Being cautious about what goes down your sink
  • Properly disposing of grease and fat 
  • Taking steps to prevent mineral build-up

Another important step is to know the signs of a clog and call for professional help as soon as possible. At first, your clog could have an easy fix. Waiting too long to repair a clog may result in an extensive fix. When you notice your drains slowing or a smell coming from your drains, don’t hesitate to call a plumber.

Here at J. Blanton Plumbing, we can remove the most stubborn clogs from your pipes. We can also perform an inspection to ensure you have no other hidden blockages in your pipes. Call us for plumbing drain repair today.