Clogged shower drains are among the most common problems around the home for West Australian residents. Chances are, you've experienced a blocked drain at some point in your life, and you likely will again in the future.
Just because your drain isn't working properly doesn't necessarily mean that you need to call a plumber right away. In many cases, you can fix the blocked shower drain issues yourself using things you probably already have around the house. However, if it’s a more serious issue causing your blocked drain, contact a licenced plumber now.
Read on for some of the most common causes of blocked shower drains and what you can do about them!
What Are the Common Causes of a Blocked Shower Drain?
- Hair Blocking Your Shower Drain
- Foreign Objects Causing a Shower Drain Blockage
- Sediment Build-Up in Your Shower Drain
- Broken Pipes in Your Home Plumbing
- Bad Pipe Installation
1. Hair Blocking Your Shower Drain
When you shower, it’s inevitable that strands of your hair will fall out and go down the drain. All that hair can accumulate in your pipes, forming a blockage over time. This problem is more common among those who have long hair, though it can affect just about anyone. When it comes to blocked shower drains, hair build-up is one of the most common causes.
Fortunately, it's also the easiest to fix.
In most cases, you'll be able to pull the blockage out by hand. You may need to remove the shower drain cover or cap to gain access to the opening of the pipe. Use your fingers to pull out as much of the hair as you can before replacing the drain cover.
It’s recommended that you wear gloves when unblocking the shower drain to protect your skin. When you are finished, flush the drain with hot water to ensure it is flowing properly once again. If the blockage is stuck farther down the pipe than you can reach, you may be able to loosen it with a plunger.
2. Foreign Objects Causing a Shower Drain Blockage
If you are wondering how foreign like baby wipes, toys or other items may have ended up in your shower drain, look no further than your children. Kids are notorious for sending things down drains just for fun.
No matter how closely you supervise them, they somehow still manage to sneak into the bathroom. Of course, adults can be responsible as well, whether by accident or intentionally.
Some of the most common foreign objects blocking your shower drain include:
- Soap and scum build-up
- Sanitary items
- Children’s toys
If you suspect that a foreign object may be blocking your shower drain, your first step should be to grab a torch so that you can look into the pipe. If you can see the item that is causing the blockage, you may be able to remove it with your fingers.
You can also bend a wire hanger into a hook to try to pull it out. Be careful not to damage the pipe with your hook though.
3. Sediment Build-Up in Your Shower Drain
There are many minerals and other substances found in water, and they can leave sediment deposits on the inside of your pipes. If enough sediment builds up, it can restrict or even block water flow through your shower drain - and then your shower drain clogs.
Some old galvanised drains can start to rust from the inside causing a restriction in the flow of water draining away. In this scenario, you may need to call Tunnel Vision to use our high-pressure drain jetters and CCTV drain inspection cameras to inspect and see if they can be cleaned, relined or replaced.
If you notice that your drain is flowing slower than usual, you could have sediment build-up in your ageing pipes.
To clear it out, start by flushing your pipes with boiling water. If that doesn't make a difference, mix up a solution of bicarbonate and vinegar to pour down your drain. This is a natural alternative to chemical solutions, which you can also use to clean sediment build-up in shower drains.
4. Broken Pipes in Your Home Plumbing
Over time, the structure of your pipes can weaken, leading to cracks and breakage. When there are cracks in the pipe, it is much easier for bits of hair and other debris to get stuck, leading to blockages and burst water pipes. What's more, this can also lead to leaks, potentially exposing your home to costly water damage.
If you are handy around the house, you may be able to identify and replace the broken section of pipe, but this isn't usually a good idea. If you don't know what you are doing, you run the risk of installing the pipes incorrectly, resulting in even more plumbing issues.
5. Bad Pipe Installation
As mentioned above, bad pipe installation can lead to many plumbing problems, including blocked shower drains. In most cases where improper installation is the problem, it is because the homeowner attempted to do the job themselves without fully understanding the process and techniques.
You may also have inherited someone else's mistakes if you recently moved into a new property.
If the poor installation is the reason for your blocked shower drain, resist the temptation to try to fix the problem yourself. The last thing you want is to make the problem even worse! Trust the professionals to handle pipe installation, replacement and repair for you to ensure the job is done right and there is minimal risk to your home.
How Can You Prevent Your Drain from Blocking?
The best solution to a blocked shower drain is prevention. Some simple ways to prevent your shower drain from being blocked include:
- Shower Drain Catcher – A shower drain catcher will trap any debris, soap scum, and hair before it ever gets into your pipes. Please note that a drain screen must be cleaned often for it to be effective. You can find them at any hardware store, and they typically don't cost more than a few dollars.
- Boiling Water – Pouring boiling water down your shower drain will help break up the soap scum and dirt build-up so they can be properly washed away. If you do this once a week, it should keep blockages away.
- Baking Soda & Vinegar – Combining baking soda and vinegar is a natural way to dissolve hair clogs without resorting to harsh chemicals. Pour a cup of baking soda down the clogged drain first and then after a few minutes add a cup of vinegar. Give the mixture a few hours to work to dissolve the blockage, and then rinse out the drain with boiling water.
What if Your Blocked Shower Drains Won’t Budge?
If you have tried the above methods to unclog a shower drain no avail, the expert plumbers here at Tunnel Vision Perth will be happy to help. We'll start with basic methods, like using a plunger and drain snake before moving on to more advanced tactics.
If we are unable to clear the blockage right away, we'll utilise sophisticated CCTV drain cameras to find the location of the blockage within your pipes. We can then use our high-pressure drain cleaners to blast the blockage right out of there.
Some blockages may leave behind damage to your pipes and we can help with that as well. We are proud to offer trenchless pipe relining services to our clients in Perth and throughout Western Australia. This way, there won't be a huge trench in your yard while we work, and you won't have to replace your landscaping afterwards.