It's normal for drains to clog up every once in a while. If you're having to use chemicals or tools to unclog your drains every month, however, you probably have a much bigger problem on your hands that just ordinary maintenance issues. Here are three reasons why your pipes might keep clogging and how you can deal with them once and for all.
Using the Wrong Hygiene Products
A common reason why your clogs keep returning like zombies in a bad horror movie is your hygiene products. Clogs that occur in the bathroom tub and sink are most likely due to the type of soap you're using.
Most people don't realize that regular soap is made from fat, oil, or grease. This combines with the minerals typically found in water to create soap scum that sticks to the walls of your pipes. Over time, this soap scum builds up, making it harder and harder for water to push through until the pipe becomes clogged.
While chemical agents can dissolve enough built-up soap scum to get water moving again, they don't get rid of it completely. Additionally, the scum will only keep growing over the coming weeks if you continue to use the same hygiene products.
There are two fixes for this. The first is to have a plumber pressure clean your pipes to get rid of the existing build-up and other gunk. With your pipes squeaky clean, it'll be a while before you have to deal with another clog.
The second, and more permanent, solution is to switch to soap-free products and get a water softener if you don't already have one. Soap-free products rinse clean, while a water softener removes much of the minerals from your water, both of which can prevent clogs from returning.
The Plumbing Is Simply Bad
Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, sometimes clogs keep coming back over and over again. In this situation, the issue is likely due to bad plumbing. Pipes that are sagging, cracked, or damaged may be physically inhibiting good water flow and making it easier for clogs to form.
Most often this is a problem in older homes, as older pipes tend to clog much easier. However, you can experience this issue in newer homes if the plumbing wasn't installed correctly or the pipes were damaged by environmental issues (e.g., tree roots).
Getting the drains cleaned can help, but your best treatment option is to have a plumber either change out the damaged pipes or redo the whole system. Although it can cost up to $15,000 to replumb an entire home, it's a small price to pay to prevent more expensive problems caused by clogs down the road (e.g., flooding).
Tree Roots Have Invaded the Pipes
As briefly mentioned early, environmental factors can contribute to clogging, and the most common culprits are trees. More specifically, their roots often find their way to underground pipes and damage them while trying to get to the water they contain.
The tree roots can slow the flow of water in the pipes all by themselves, but they often collect other debris that eventually dams up the whole thing. Although the clogs are bad enough, it's the leaks that often result from this situation that make the situation a tragedy waiting to happen. These leaks can damage other home structures (e.g., the foundation) and even cause sinkholes depending on where they're located.
A plumber can inspect the pipes to determine if tree roots are an issue and will use a combination of tools to get rid of them. You'll need to have the damaged pipes replaced. More importantly, though, you'll have to deal with the tree's root system if you want to prevent this from happening again in the future.
To learn more about why your plumbing keeps clogging or help with an issue, contact a local plumbing company for assistance.