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9 Common Items That Cause Clogged Pipes

PLUMBING TIPS, SEWER & DRAIN

Common Items That Cause Clogged Pipes

There are over 500,000 people employed in the plumbing business in the United States.

The need for plumbers grows every year. Plumbers do all kinds of jobs, but one of the most common is fixing clogged pipes.

Clogged pipes can cost over $200 to fix. Some clogs can cost even more if they require additional work or if a pipe is damaged. To reduce your risk of having a clogged drain, it’s good to know what items cause drain clogs.

There are a lot of things that can go down a drain and clog it. Large objects or those made of solid material like plastic and metal are going to present a problem. We all know to avoid putting that kind of item in a drain.

The problem is that not all items that clog your pipes are that obvious. Many common items can cause a clogged pipe that you wouldn’t think should be able to.

9 Common Items That Cause Clogged Pipes

There are common items in your household you may not think twice about washing down a drain. Some of these items will give you a lot of problems if you aren’t careful.

1. Pumice From Soap

Heavy-duty soaps can cause a lot of issues. Pumice is featured in many of these soaps and is a volcanic rock. Pumice is heavier than water and can build up in the traps under your sinks.

If you work where oil or other difficult to clean materials are common, you’ve probably used heavy-duty soap. Using these soaps means you should check your drains and make sure they aren’t slowing down.

If your drains are starting to slow down, you may have pumice build up. It’s not hard to clear this kind of block, but it will require you to unscrew some pipes. Chemical solvents are unlikely to be as effective against this type of blockage.

2. Feminine Hygiene Products

You should never flush or dispose of any female hygiene products in a drain. These products are made of absorbent materials that expand as they soak up liquid.

Even if the product itself such as a tampon appears to be small enough to fit down a drain, it can get stuck. These types of clogs can be very embarrassing and lead to expensive damage and leaks.

3. Cotton Swabs

Be careful if you’re using cotton swabs around a drain. Any type of cotton-based ball or tip can cause a clog. Cotton doesn’t lose its shape as it absorbs water, so it tends to stick in a drain.

Cotton is a very durable and tough material. Other common clogging culprits like pumice can get trapped or stick to wet cotton. This can build a blockage fast inside any pipe.

4. Hairballs Aren’t Just for Cats

Shower drains and bathroom sinks get the worst of this one. Hair from our bodies, especially if you have long hair, can clog pipes quickly.

Shedding clumps of hair in the shower is not unusual. What may surprise you is that hair can end up almost anywhere in your home. If you have pets, especially long-haired ones, you know that their hair is all over your house.

5. Grease From Cooking

Grease from cooking meat is usually in a liquid form when it gets dumped down the drain. It would seem logical that this liquid would act just like water and be swept through.

The reality is that grease solidifies when it isn’t hot. This can great a growing blockage that strangles a pipe. Once that grease has congealed, it can require heavy-duty chemicals or snaking to break through the clog.

6. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds should never be put in a drain. After you make your coffee, the grounds will be soaked with water. Wet coffee grounds stick together and can settle in traps and pipes.

If there are other substances in your pipes already, they will clog it even faster. Grease and cotton will both act as a sponge to the coffee grounds.

Coffee grounds don’t even need the presence of other materials to create clogs. Even on their own, coffee grounds are capable of leaving you with a clogged pipe.

7. The Skin of Your Fruit

Even if you have a disposal in your kitchen, it won’t always save you. Most fruits have tough outer skins that we remove before we eat the fruit itself. This skin is called a rind and even when it feels soft and flexible it can create a clogged pipe.

8. Eggshells

This one seems strange, we know. Eggshells can cause both clogged pipes and breakdowns in your disposal. They are fragile but each eggshell has both an outer shell and a membrane around it. That membrane can become tangled and can easily cause eggshells to stick in a drain.

9. Tree Roots

This one isn’t a common item, but something that is very common around most houses. Trees are beautiful and can add a lot to how our homes look.

Trees are also giant plants that have huge root systems. These roots can easily grow into a pipe or around it. They break pipes and clog them. If the clog isn’t something in your home, you could have a tree root problem.

Finding a Plumber

If you’re having trouble clearing a clog, remember to be careful how you go about doing it. Chemical mixtures that use acid to remove clogs can cause damage to your plumbing system.

If you contact a plumber, make sure that you ask the right questions and are comfortable with the work they’re doing. Read up on reviews and ask around for good plumbers in your area.

Clogged Pipes Are Common

Clogged pipes happen to many homeowners every year. You’ll probably have to deal with clogged pipes on more than one occasion in your life. Most clogs we can handle, but some require the help of a plumber.

Avoid putting items in your drains if at all possible. Even the most harmless thing could cause you to have a very expensive repair in your future.

Contact us today to have all your plumbing problems addressed.

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