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What’s the Holdup? The Most Likely Causes of a Blocked Drain

A blocked drain is one of the most feared household problems, being both a health risk and an obnoxious, embarrassingly visible mess. They are also incredibly common, with a variety of common causes which can strike suddenly and without warning in any home. It is important to stay positive and proactive when your drain seems to be blocked; if household drain cleaner doesn’t help, it’s time to call in a qualified professional. Here are some of the most common types of blockage that Curran Plumbing deal with on a daily basis:

Tree roots

One of the harder blockages to predict, tree roots often reach out to drain pipes in search of water. If they crack the pipe open a hard-to-reach blockage can be created, requiring specialist gear to repair.


In autumn there can be a tremendous amount of fallen leaves simply lying around; if a mass of them are swept into a drain together they can easily become caught and form a blockage.


Hair blockages build up over time, as clumps and strands of hair stick together in the drain until a stubborn mass forms and blocks it up. If you’re worried, you can buy special hair-catching drains – particularly useful for showers.

Grease & Fat

Greasy and fatty substances, such as runoff from kitchen pans, have a strong tendency to leave fatty deposits on the insides of pipes; over time, this creates a disgusting mass which obstructs the drain and causes a blockage. Kitchen drains in particular suffer from these blockages.


There is an unfortunate tendency for people to flush almost anything which happens to be in the same room as a toilet, as though the sewage pipe is a garbage disposal. However, many toiletries are terrible for the health of your drains. Nappies especially swell up when exposed to water, and can easily block a drain; sanitary wipes are also prime culprits, since they do not break down in the drain as toilet paper does.

Random Objects

While it’s true that the above are the most common causes of drain blockage, there are still plenty of blockages caused by toys, clothing, towels, or other seemingly random items which find their way into drains. Much of this can be blamed on the curiosity of small children, but sometimes it’s just a murky mystery. Luckily, a professional plumber doesn’t need to understand how a blockage occurred to remove it, so as long as you call one in quickly, none of these issues should trouble you for long.

Need a plumber? Call Curran.