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6 Most Common Causes of Clogged Drains At Home

Published on February 16, 2024
Written by kristinia

At Full Speed Plumbing, we understand the frustration and inconvenience that clogged drains can cause in your daily life. As professional plumbers with years of expertise, we’ve seen firsthand the impact a seemingly minor issue can have on your home’s comfort and functionality. 

To empower you with knowledge and help you tackle the problem efficiently, we’ve compiled a list of the six most common causes of clogged drains. From the kitchen to the bathroom, we aim to provide insider tips to prevent these common issues and maintain seamless plumbing.  

Keep reading for expert advice that will change how you think about your home’s plumbing system.

Recognizing the Signs of Clogged Drains

As a homeowner, you must be able to identify when one of your drains is clogged. Countless things can indicate that one of your drains is clogged, but some are more common than others. Some of the most common signs include:

Slow Draining Water

One of the most apparent signs that one of your drains is clogged is water starts draining more slowly than usual. If you notice that water pools in the sink or the bathtub take longer to empty, it might indicate a blockage restricting water flow.

Unpleasant Odors

Persistent and unpleasant odors coming from your drain could be signaling a clog. Organic matter trapped inside the pipes often decomposes and emits a foul smell that is hard to ignore.

Gurgling Sounds

Any unusual gurgling sounds from your drains could be a cry for help. These noises suggest that air is trapped in your pipes due to a blockage and is finding its way out as water displaces it.

Water Backup

A clear indication of a clogged drain is water backing up from a drain or plumbing fixture. If water re-emerges after you run the tap, it suggests that a clog is preventing water from flowing through the system properly.

The Top Causes of Clogged Drains

Now that you know how to tell that one of your drains is clogged, it’s time to determine what caused the clog in the first place. Although it may be hard to figure out without professional assistance, chances are the clog was caused by one of the following culprits:

  1. Hair Build-Up: A common culprit for clogged drains, particularly in showers and bathroom sinks. Hair can bind with grease and other substances, forming clogs preventing water flow.
  2. Soap Scum: The residue from soap combines with minerals in water to form a hard residue known as soap scum, which can narrow pipes and hinder water movement.
  3. Food Waste: Even with a garbage disposal, certain food waste shouldn’t go down the kitchen sink. Food scraps can create stubborn blockages, especially if they’re not broken down properly.
  4. Grease/Oil: Grease and oil from cooking can solidify within the plumbing, trapping other waste and building up over time to form a significant blockage.
  5. Non-Flushable Items: Flushing items like wipes, sanitary products, or cotton pads can lead to severe clogs since these items do not disintegrate easily in water.
  6. Mineral Build-up: In areas with hard water, minerals dissolved in the water can accumulate and create insoluble masses, which can obstruct water flow and clog pipes.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance to Prevent Clogs

A consistent maintenance schedule for your plumbing system is crucial for a functional and healthy home environment. Just like any other aspect of your house, your plumbing system requires regular attention and care to prevent inconveniences and potential damage. 

By employing simple home remedies, such as hot water flushing, baking soda and vinegar solutions, and enzymatic cleaners, you can keep your pipes clear and ward off build-up. 

Although these remedies can be effective for minor maintenance, the importance of professional cleaning services cannot be overstated. Professional plumbers come equipped with unique tools and expertise to thoroughly clean and maintain your plumbing system, ensuring it runs smoothly and preventing costly repairs down the line.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Plumbing Expert

Are you thinking about contacting a plumbing service to clear out your clogged drains? If so, we suggest asking the following questions before giving them any of your business:

Are You Licensed and Insured?

This question ensures that the plumber has the necessary qualifications to perform the work and protects you from liability in the event of accidents or injuries during the service call.

What Is Your Level of Experience?

Understanding how long they’ve been in the industry and the types of plumbing jobs they’ve handled can gauge their proficiency in addressing your specific plumbing concerns.

Can You Provide References or Reviews?

Asking for references or directing you to online reviews can help establish credibility and give insight into their track record with past clients.

What Are Your Specialties?

Some plumbers specialize in certain areas, and knowing this can be critical if your issue requires specific expertise, such as water heater repairs or sewer line inspections.

Do You Offer Upfront Pricing?

Understanding their pricing policy is important to avoid hidden costs or surprises on your bill after the service is completed.

What Is Your Availability in Case of an Emergency?

Plumbing emergencies can occur at any time. Knowing if they offer emergency services and response times can be vital when urgent situations arise.

Will You Perform a Detailed Assessment Before Starting the Project?

Professionals should conduct a thorough examination to assess the issue accurately and provide the most effective solution.

Following this set of structured questions can help ensure that you’re hiring a reliable plumbing expert who will deal with your plumbing needs and get you the result you’re looking for.


In summary, recognizing the signs of a clogged drain early on — such as slow drainage, unpleasant odors, gurgling sounds, and water backup — is essential to mitigate the risks and inconveniences associated with plumbing issues. 

Some of the most common causes, like hair build-up, soap scum, food waste, grease, non-flushable items, and mineral build-up, can be addressed with regular home care and the assistance of professional plumbing services. 

Asking the right questions before hiring a plumbing technician ensures that you receive qualified and reliable service. Remember, consistent maintenance is key to a trouble-free plumbing system. 

Don’t wait for a full-blown crisis; reach out to our trusted team at Full Speed Plumbing for a comprehensive assessment and expert maintenance. Keep your drains clear and water flowing smoothly by contacting us today for exceptional customer service and peace of mind.

Contact one of our team members today for more information.

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