6 Common Causes of Blocked Drains

6 Common Causes of Blocked Drains

Blocked drains and pipes are common in residential, commercial and industrial properties. The results can be anything from small inconveniences to major damage, depending on when the issue is rectified.

Staying up to date with routine maintenance and repairs goes a long way to ensuring your home or business never sees the disastrous consequences of blocked drains.

Broken pipes, backflow issues, septic overflows—what starts as some grease flushed down the sink can turn into a serious problem over the course of weeks, months or years.

The best way to truly remove the risk of a blocked drain or pipe is to avoid the following common causes:


Many people are unaware that grease, oil and fat should not be poured down the sink after cooking. The fat is not water soluble and will gather along the sides of the pipe, pulling in more dirt and debris until a blockage is formed.

To avoid this happening, be sure to pour all cooking oils into a jar, and throw it away with regular refuse, once full. If you are concerned about a blocked drain in Lismore, call North Coast Plumbing.


Food waste does not belong in the drain—however this can be hard to avoid. Small scraps inevitably end up in your pipes. Mixed with soap, dirt and grease, small traces of debris can become major blockages causing foul smells and backflow issues.

Installing a garbage disposal will go a long way to stopping this, however, it’s advised that you don’t put food down your drain in general.


Made with fat and grease, soap causes many of the same blockages outlined above. The remnants left on the walls of your drain are known as soap scum and will build up over time.

To avoid this, use soap free cleaning products and stay up to date with flushing your drains out and booking pipe inspections.


Toilet paper is the only product that should be flushed down your toilet. Baby wipes and similar toiletries are terrible for your drainage system and too tough to be broken apart in water.

Over time, these products can block your septic system and cause extremely unpleasant and expensive problems. Dispose of all baby wipes in the garbage.


A lot of hair ends up down the drain as a result of showering. However, if you do not clean out your drains, the hair will end up blocking further up your pipes. Mixed with soap and other debris, these blockages can form over time.

Using drain cleaning products designed to remove hair is the best way to avoid hair blockages.

Tree Roots

Small cracks in your pipe can encourage the growth and intrusion of tree roots which can cause serious damage to the network of pipes in your drain field.

If you are concerned this has happened, book an inspection and repairs immediately.

If you are concerned about a blocked drain in Ballina, Lismore, Byron Bay, or anywhere in the Northern Rivers, call the team at North Coast Plumbing today!

For more plumbing information, read our previous blog post on The History of Plumbing!