Andrew Vanny Plumbing Blog - Most Causes of Blocked Household Drains

What Are the Most Common Causes of Blocked Household Drains?

Andrew Vanny Plumbing

A blocked drain is a household emergency. In fact, according to NRMA, the second most common home emergency in Australia is a blocked drain, toilet or pipe. And no matter where a drain blockage occurs, it can render your toilets, sinks and bathtubs no-go zones for days.

Drain blockages aren’t always large objects either. Even small objects can lead to big blockages. Here are some of the most common causes of household drain blockages along with the areas in which they occur.

The most common blockages in your kitchen

Washing up is probably one of the most unpopular household chores there is. It can get sticky and messy, especially after a big meal. But the mess on your plates and pots can often end up in your drains.

Grease and fat

If you’ve ever seen the grease or fat from bacon or lard once it cools in the pan, you’ll know that it can easily block your kitchen sink drain. Though grease might be in liquid form when you wash it down the plughole, once it cools, it will harden and stick to the insides of your pipes.

Food debris

Another common cause of blockages in the kitchen is food debris. Some food debris contains grease, and thus sticks to pipes. But other types of food debris like coffee powder and pieces of potato peel can mingle with smaller particles and cause a blockage.

The most common blockages in your bathroom

Your bathroom is an essential part of your home. To go just one day without a shower or bath can leave your life in disarray. But sometimes, we take our bathroom drains for granted.


Hair, especially long hair, is notorious for drain blockages in bathrooms. Not only can hair tangle very easily, but it also contains grease, and so it can stick to pipes too.


As with grease from lard and fatty foods, the fat contained in traditional soap can stick to the pipes of your bathroom drains and block them. If you combine this effect with hair, you could have a major blockage on your hands.

Supermarket quality drain-clearing acid products will not work. You need strong chemicals that can only be purchased by licensed plumbers.

The most common blockages in your toilet

If you lose your toilet to a blockage, your life can get very inconvenient, very quickly. This is why it’s important to be careful what you put in your toilet.

Sanitary Products

Many people believe that you can flush sanitary products. These items cause major issues in your sewer as they tend to expand to many times their original size and therefore are often the culprit in sewer blockages. If you want to avoid drain problems, don’t flush sanitary products.

Cotton tips

The pipes leading from your toilet should only accommodate toilet paper, which breaks up easily by design. Cotton tips don’t break up. This means that they can sometimes lodge in the pipe if you try to flush them down the toilet after using them. This then creates a dam that traps toilet paper until a blockage occurs.


Baby wipes or facial wipes don’t dissolve like toilet paper does. This means that if you flush them down the toilet, they have a greater chance of sticking to the pipes, especially in the bends where they can quickly cause a severe blockage.

The most common blockage in your sewer mains

A sewer mains blockage will cause wastewater to come up through your drains. This is very smelly, not to mention messy.

Tree roots

Because your sewer mains are underground, the slightest crack, misalignment or imperfection allows tree roots to invade your pipes, where they can very quickly fill up the pipes and cause a severe blockage. Cracks and imperfections can also allow the escape of waste from your pipes which then become a health & safety issue.

The most common way a plumber identifies a blockage

For the blockages mentioned above, you’ll need the help of a professional plumber. To determine the cause of a hidden blockage somewhere in your drain, a licensed plumber will use CCTV technology to look inside your pipes. Once they have identified the cause of the blockage, they can then determine how best to remove it.

If your drains are blocked, you’ll want them unblocked as soon as possible. In this case, you need the assistance of a trusted and reliable Hornsby plumber. Call plumber Pymble Andrew Vanny Plumbing today, and we’ll unblock your drains.


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