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How to Prevent and Clear Clogged Drains

Every homeowner has likely faced a clogged drain at some point. Standing in a pool of stagnant water during a shower or watching the kitchen sink slowly drain is frustrating.

Every homeowner has likely faced a clogged drain at some point. Standing in a pool of stagnant water during a shower or watching the kitchen sink slowly drain is frustrating. 

The Cause and Effect of Clogged Drains

Understanding what causes clogs is the first step toward preventing them. The immediate reason for a blockage is usually a clump of hair, soap residue, oils, or fats down the drain.

But it’s old habits or a lack of awareness that lead to clogs over and over again. They can be prevented with a few simple tips, and professionals can repair damaged drains caused by clogs if needed.

So why is it so important to prevent drain clogs? Well, the effects of clogged drains go beyond mere inconvenience. Repeated blockages can:

  • Damage Pipes: Prolonged clogs can exert pressure on your pipes, leading to leaks or bursts.
  • Cause Health Concerns: Standing water can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Plus, stagnant water in showers can lead to mold and mildew, which can cause respiratory issues.
  • Lead to Expensive Repairs: If left untreated, what might be a simple blockage can evolve into a significant plumbing disaster, necessitating more costly interventions.

The Anatomy of a Clog

Drain systems in homes are designed to handle liquids efficiently. The main culprits behind clogs are usually solid or semi-solid materials that aren’t meant for drains. For instance:

  • In kitchens, fats, oils, and grease combine with bits of food to create stubborn blockages.
  • In bathrooms, the combination of hair, soap, toothpaste, and other personal care products often results in slow-draining sinks and tubs.
  • For toilets, anything other than human waste and toilet paper is a potential clog source. Flushing items like wipes, sanitary products, or even excessive amounts of toilet paper quickly cause blockages.

Remember, this buildup doesn’t happen overnight. A slow accumulation over time narrows the effective diameter of the pipe, reducing the efficiency of the drain and eventually leading to a complete blockage.

Prevention is a Lifestyle Choice

The best way to address clogs is not to let them form in the first place. By adopting a few lifestyle habits and making minor changes to our routines, we can ensure our drains remain clear:

  • Mindfulness in the Kitchen: Being conscious of what goes down the kitchen drain is pivotal. For instance, using a paper towel to wipe off excess grease from pans before washing can significantly reduce the amount of grease entering the drain.
  • Bathroom Habits: Installing a hair catcher in the shower and regularly cleaning it can be a game-changer. Similarly, teaching kids the importance of using only required amounts of toothpaste or soap can reduce bathroom sink clogs.
  • Regular Maintenance: Like any other aspect of home care, drains need regular attention. From routinely cleaning out pop-up stoppers in sinks to conducting monthly drain cleaning rituals, a little maintenance goes a long way.

Seek Professional Repairs if Needed

Even with all the precautions, occasional clogs might still occur, especially in homes with older plumbing systems or those located near heavy foliage. Sometimes clogs are simply too much for the average homeowner to handle.

In such cases, it’s always best to work with a professional like A1 Sewer & Drain. Trained plumbers provide insights into the health of your drainage system and offer tips tailored to your home’s unique needs.

Moreover, professionals have the tools and expertise to conduct a deeper diagnostic evaluation, like camera inspections, to understand the root cause of recurring clogs. 

With assistance from an expert, homeowners save considerable time, money, and stress in the long run.

Schedule an Appointment with A1 Sewer and Drain Today!

Cultivating good habits when it comes to drainage can save you from bigger plumbing issues down the line. But, if you’re ever in doubt or feel the situation might be beyond your control, it’s always a good idea to consult professionals.

A1 Sewer and Drain, with nearly 40 years of experience serving Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Northeastern North Carolina, is here to assist. Contact us today for a professional plumbing inspection to prevent clogged drains in your home!


Tree roots naturally grow towards sources of water and can infiltrate even the smallest cracks in your pipes. Over time, these roots can expand and obstruct the flow of water, leading to a significant blockage. If you have large trees near your property, it’s a good idea to have regular inspections to ensure that roots are not encroaching on your plumbing system.

Yes, hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can build up inside your pipes over time. This mineral buildup, also known as “scale”, can reduce water flow and lead to blockages. Using water softeners or installing a whole-house water treatment system can mitigate the effects of hard water if it’s in your area.

While most soaps and detergents can contribute to blockages if misused, liquid soaps tend to dissolve more efficiently than bar soaps. Additionally, detergents labeled as “biodegradable” or “septic-safe” are generally formulated to break down more easily in water, reducing the risk of clogs. Regardless of the type, it’s crucial always to use the recommended amounts and avoid letting solid chunks or large quantities of soap scum go down the drain.

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