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What causes a clogged drain? (Understanding prevention and solutions)
Clogged drains are among the most frequent issues homeowners face, causing inconvenience and potentially leading to significant plumbing problems if not addressed promptly. Our San Diego-based plumbing company often encounters a variety of factors that contribute to clogged drains. Understanding these causes can help prevent future blockages and keep your plumbing system functioning efficiently. Here’s what you need to know about the causes of clogged drains, along with expert advice on prevention and solutions.

Common Causes of Clogged Drains

1. Hair: One of the primary culprits behind shower and bathtub drain blockages is hair. Over time, hair mixes with soap scum and other substances, forming a mass that water cannot penetrate.
2. Grease and Fat: Kitchen sinks are especially prone to clogs caused by grease, fat, and oils. When washed down the drain, these substances cool, solidify, and stick to the pipes, eventually leading to a blockage.
3. Food Particles: Even with a garbage disposal, certain food particles should never go down your kitchen sink. Coffee grounds, eggshells, and starchy foods like pasta and rice can build up and cause clogs.
4. Foreign Objects: Small objects can accidentally fall into drains and become lodged. In bathrooms, this might include cotton swabs, floss, and small toys, while in kitchens, it could be food waste or cooking utensils.
5. Mineral Buildup: In areas with hard water, minerals dissolved in the water can accumulate inside pipes, reducing flow and causing clogs.

Prevention Tips

1. Use Drain Strainers: Installing strainers in showers, bathtubs, and kitchen sinks can catch hair, food particles, and other debris, preventing them from entering your plumbing system.
2. Properly Dispose of Grease and Oil: Instead of pouring grease down the sink, pour it into a container to solidify before disposing of it in the trash.
3. Be Mindful of What You Flush: Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed. Even items labeled as “flushable,” like certain wipes, can contribute to blockages.
4. Regular Cleaning: Regularly cleaning drains can help prevent the buildup of substances that cause clogs. Hot water, baking soda, and vinegar can be effective for minor maintenance.

Solutions for Clogged Drains

1. Plunging: A plunger can often dislodge clogs caused by hair or food particles, making it a good first step in addressing a blockage.
2. Plumbing Snake: For more stubborn clogs, a plumbing snake or auger can be used to break through the blockage, allowing water to flow freely.
3. Professional Cleaning: For severe clogs or if you’re unsure of the cause, professional drain cleaning services are recommended. Plumbers have the tools and expertise to safely and effectively remove blockages without damaging your pipes.
Clogged drains are a common problem, but with proper knowledge and preventative measures, they can often be avoided. Understanding what causes drain blockages is the first step in preventing them. For situations that require professional intervention, our San Diego plumbing company is here to help. We provide comprehensive solutions to keep your drains clear, ensuring your plumbing system operates smoothly. Remember, regular maintenance and mindful usage of your drains can save you from the inconvenience and expense of severe plumbing issues down the line.