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Top 6 Causes of Problem Drains & How to Prevent Clogged Drains

November 11, 2014 by

Hardly anyone thinks about clogged drains until it is too late. But most clogged drain problems can be minimized or eliminated altogether if the homeowner will follow these “6 Best Drain Tips Guide” for reducing chances of having plugged drains.

1. Using the Right Paper for the Right Application

When flushing paper down the drain, the only paper that should be flushed is toilet paper. Once flushed, today’s toilet papers are specially formulated to break down into small bits. But if thick rolled toilet paper or feminine napkins are flushed, they can remain in a big clump causing a clogged drain. It is best to deposit feminine napkins in a waste basket. It goes without saying that diapers should not be flushed. There were many times that GreenCity has been called in to unplug toilets only to find that someone has tried to flush a diaper down the toilet.

2. Food Scraps


Inexpensive sink strainer could have prevented homeowner’s anxieties.

Kitchen sink drains aren’t any different than washroom drains. Yet people insist on forcing clumps of food down the drain, especially if the kitchen sink is equipped with a garburator. A proper strainer should be placed in the sink to catch small and larger scraps of food. These universal strainers can usually be found inexpensively at a local dollar store.

One of the biggest causes of kitchen sink backups is the disposal of coffee grounds. Seemingly innocuous, coffee grounds can move through a drain and clump up at a sharp bend or drain pipe elbow far from the kitchen sink. Almost no amount of plunging will release this clog. The drain pipe usually has to be snaked by a professional. Coffee grounds should always be disposed in recycling garbage. Trust GreenCity to get your drains back into tip top shape.

3. Human Hair

Everyone has seen hair collecting on a hair brush. But hair that is not caught on the brush goes down the drain, especially during a shower. So as water goes down the drain, so does hair. As clumps of hair get bigger, more hair gets caught, water drainage slows down. Getting a small hand snake with a brush attached at the end often should catch most hair caught in the sink or bathtub trap. After cleaning with the “snake/brush”, a dose of hot water for a couple of minutes should send the balance of hair bits down the drain. 

4. Thick Laden Liquids

Just because it is liquid does not mean that it can be poured down the drain. Fats, oils and grease, known in the trade as FOG can continue to buildup in the drain. As FOG builds, the drain pipe diameter gets narrower until it reaches the point that hardly any water is passing. This coagulation and thickening of deposits in drain pipes happens over a longer period but all of a sudden water stops draining, or so it seems. Householders’ best practice should be to bag grease, oil and fats (FOG) in plastic re-sealable bags and put the bags out with recycled garbage.

Other liquids or semi liquids that can cause drain problems are paints, pastes, hardening materials such as drywall fillers, joint compounds, caulking and candle wax – just to name a few.

5. Small Objects


Keep toilet seats closed tight if you don’t like unplugging toilets.

Often small objects can fall inside a toilet without anyone noticing. These small objects can plug within the toilet before effluent will even reach the drain. Especially with small kids and toddlers, house rule should be to keep toilet lids closed at all times other than when using the toilet -thus preventing anything even falling in.

6. Chemical Drain Cleaners

We have all been barraged with TV ads for liquid drain cleaners or have seen big POP displays of liquid drain cleaners at supermarkets and at big box building supply stores. We are conditioned to think that plugged drain problems can be easily eradicated with just a douse of liquid drain cleaner. While this may partially solve short term drain problems, corrosive liquid drain cleaners can lead to long term deterioration of drain pipes and should not be used to remediate plugged drains.


Corrosive drain cleaners can cause long term damage to your drain pipes. Watch out!

If a drain cleaner was used and the clog persists, call GreenCity Plumber to assist. However, anytime corrosive cleaners are used, before the plumber starts clearing the drain, the homeowner should advise the plumber that there may be acid residue so the plumber can take precautions not to get acid burn when remediating the plugged drain.

A wise man once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If every homeowner faithfully follows our6 Best Drain Tips Guide, the Guide will be their salvation for keeping their drains free flowing for years to come.

If you are experiencing slow draining sinks and toilets, this may be a sign of major drain problems in the future. Not sure what to do next? Give GreenCity Plumber a call.

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