How Your Sink Drain Eventually Becomes Clogged

Posted on: 3 August 2017

Most homeowners do not notice that their drains are clogged until it is too late. The sink begins to fill up with water and it can then be difficult to use the sink. The water takes time to drain and can be an annoyance. However, if you understand how this happens in the first place, you may be able to prevent it.

How The Drain Works

A drain is a line that travels through the building and connects to the sewer system. A sink, for example, connects to a trap and a drain line. Two areas where you are most likely to develop problems, which can lead to a drain clog, are the pipes themselves and the trap. 

The Drain Is Slowly Clogged

Most often, the clog in the drain is the result of an accumulation of hair, soap, or food debris that builds up over time. In the bathroom, it is most likely that soap has hardened. With a kitchen sink, it is most often that grease sticks to the side of the drain and hardens. One trick often used to dislodge grease or soap is to pour boiling water down the drain. As it sits, the boiling water will cause the grease and soap to melt, and it will then be washed down the drain. The materials that clog the drain grow large enough that they slow down or stop the flow of water. Not only will water stubbornly refuse to drain, but you may also notice an unpleasant smell that can be the result of decaying food. 

The drain may have a gurgling noise. This is the result of air that is trapped in the plumbing. The vent pipe may also be blocked and this might cause sewer gas to escape back into your home. The sewer may even back up into the drain system. 

The Problem May Be Growing Outside

While clogs are most often caused by what you pour down the drain, it is possible that the clog may instead by caused by tree roots. As trees search for water, they may discover a small opening in a damaged drain pipe. The tree root enters the small opening and expands, widening the opening. As the drain pipe is filled with tree roots, it will no longer be effective in allowing the drain to carry waste to the sewer. Regardless, you should contact a licensed plumber who can identify the cause of the clog and correct it.