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Common Causes of Blocked Drains

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Common Causes of Blocked Drains

A blocked drain outside your home doesn’t just mean issues outside – it will also likely create issues inside your property too. From sinks that back up into the kitchen to toilets that overflow when you flush – not to mention the smell of your drains – it can wreak havoc in your life.

If you want to avoid this nightmare scenario and the disruption it brings to your daily routine, then check out the common causes of blocked drains and see if there are any behaviours you might need to change!

What can cause blocked drains?

1. Tree Roots

Tree root ingress is not something you’d give much thought to until you have a blockage, but it’s quite a common issue for many properties. Over time, roots will seek out sources of water, so that any cracked drains are likely to be found by trees and plants nearby.

While it’s hard to predict when this will happen, regular checks on your drains using a CCTV drain survey can help to keep them in top condition. More obviously, try not to plant large trees – or anything that will grow to become large – nearby to where your drainage system lies. To find out more about how to deal with tree roots in drains, head over to our article.

2. Food, Oils & Fats

Next on our list, its been in the news a number of times, but food items, especially oil, fat and grease, being put down the kitchen sink is a recipe for disaster. These liquids seem to run away easily and it may not seem like much of an issue, but once they’re in your drainage system you will find they congeal as they cool, forming blockages.

Often, these blockages can amass into what is known as a ‘fatberg’, blocking not only your drains but the rest of the system in your street. Always avoid putting foodstuffs down your drains and try recycling your used cooking oil instead.

Clean Sink drain

3. Leaves, Twigs & Dirt

Debris from the outside is always going to be an issue if it’s left to build up. Leaves and twigs are an especially bad combination, as they create dams within your pipework. This issue is pretty seasonal, with wind, rain and the falling of leaves coming in autumn and winter more than at any other time.

This is why sweeping up dead leaves and fallen twigs is important. Any debris that gathers around your drain covers should be moved, as it not only prevents water from going into the drain, but will likely get pulled in to create a drain blockage internally.


4. Wipes

By now, most people are hopefully aware of how harmful wipes can be. Whether they claim to be disposable or not, you shouldn’t be flushing them down your toilets. If you do, over time they can become stuck in your drains, amassing to create a blockage further along in the system.

Instead, why not invest in a separate bin for baby wipes and other items? Only toilet paper should be put in the toilet – so all other wipes and sanitary products should go in the bin.


A pink and orange pack of wet wipes on a blue surface

5. Hair & Soap

Yes, you read that right – your hair could be the cause of a blockage in your drains outside. We often don’t realise quite how much hair goes down the plughole when we shower or take a bath – except maybe if you’re constantly pulling clogs from the plughole – but hair, mixed with soaps and suds, can slowly gather further in your system, congealing to create a blockage.

The best way to combat this is to regularly check your plug hole and, when you’re cleaning your bathroom, ensure that you either clean inside the hole or pour bleach down to keep things clear.

6. Dead Animals

Possibly one of the rarer reasons on this list for a drain blockage, but small animals that have somehow found their way into your drains and died could create an issue – especially if combined with any of the other items on this list!

The only way to combat this is to deal with any pest issues immediately and to keep access to your drains well covered.


If you’re unsure what the cause of your blocked drains may be, then look no further than Power Rod for professional CCTV drain surveys. We’ll help locate the blockage in your system and recommend the right course of action.

On the other hand, if you already know the cause and need it rectified, we can provide swift drain unblocking services. Wherever you are in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire – including Watford and Aylesbury – put your trust in our team and we’ll restore normality to your drains.

Call today and discuss any drainage issues with our expert team.

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