The drain clog is such a common problem for plumbing systems that most people can immediately think of many of the basic causes behind them: soap scum, fats, and grease build-up, hair, dirt, food, objects knocked accidentally into drains, etc. These are among the most common reasons that homeowners call our plumbers to clean out their drains and get them unclogged.
However, plumbing is a big field, and every plumber who has spent any time at the job can tell you a few stories about strange reasons a drain got clogged up. Below, we’re going to list some of these uncommon causes of a stopped up drain. Remember, if you can’t get the drain unclogged using a plunger or hand-cranked drain snake, call on our plumbers in Des Moines, IA for drain cleaning. (Don’t use chemical drain cleaners, which are ineffective and may damage your pipes.)
- Cement: Why would there be cement down in the drains? It’s not something you would pour down a drain, after all. The problem isn’t cement going down the drains. It’s cement from other construction getting into the drains. When older pipes are no longer in use, construction often fills them up with cement, and this can end up getting into other drainpipes that are in use.
- Smartphones: It can happen easier than you might think. A smartphone slips out of someone’s shirt pocket when they’re bending over and falls down into the toilet. This unclogging work definitely requires the assistance of a plumber, although they probably won’t be able to save the phone!
- Cat litter: Here’s a mistake some cat-owners may make. Although pouring cat litter down a toilet may seem like a good shortcut to getting rid of it (the litter box is often in the bathroom anyway), it’s a terrible idea. Not only is cat litter a type of garbage, and the toilet should not be operated like it’s a garbage can, but it clumps together when wet. Clumping easily creates some of the most obstinate clogs imaginable. Please remove all cat litter to an outside trashcan!
- Kids’ toys: Young children in a home are hard to keep track of 24/7. At some point, a child may throw an object down a sink or toilet, usually a toy that can just fit down the drain—and stop it up. Legos and other small building blocks are the sneakiest of toys that can stop up a drain.
- Vermin: This isn’t a pleasant one to bring up, but rats and mice can sometimes enter into the drains, and this is obviously a serious problem.
Here’s something to keep in mind: drain clogs don’t necessarily come from something that’s stuck down in the drainpipe. If you have a major clog that doesn’t respond to a plunger or drain snake, the trouble may be down deeper in the drainage system, such as the sewer line. Calling for a professional plumber when you have drain clogs ensures that you’ll find out the actual problem so it can be fixed correctly.