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Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Blog

6 Most Frequent Causes of Drain Backups

Split drainage pipe caused by ingress of tree rootsIn today’s world, there are probably a few things you take for granted as a homeowner. The fact that your water heater will always provide you with hot water, the fact that your dishwasher and washing machine will clean your dishes and clothes respectively, without error. And the fact that water will flow flawlessly through your pipes day in and day out.

At least, you probably took that last one for granted until you met your first plumbing clog or drain backup. Hopefully, you were able to relieve it using a plunger and some elbow grease. Some drain backups require a bit more than that, though—and no, we aren’t talking about corrosive store-bought drain cleaners. We’re referring to the services of a professional Glenview, IL plumber.

Without further ado, here are 6 of the most frequent causes for drain backups, and where you’ll most likely find them:

In Your Bathroom:

  1. Hair: Hair is one of the biggest culprits for drain clogs, as it can mix up with soap scum and other stick substances to form stubborn blockages. The good news is, this is pretty easily avoidable by simply purchasing drain guards for your bathroom showers, bathtubs, and sinks.
  2. Soap: This is an issue in kitchens, too, but moreso in bathrooms. The problem with traditional bar soaps is that they’re made with grease or fat. These combine with minerals in the water to create what you know as soap scum. While you can clean this off the outside of your faucets and drains pretty easily, what you might not keep in mind is that it’s building up into a nasty clog on the inside.
  3. Dirt: We get how tempting it is to wash up after gardening, or maybe to clean off muddy hiking shoes after going outdoors. But we encourage you to try to shake as much dirt and mud off as you can outdoors, before doing this. As you know, mud is pretty gross, and it can of course block up your drain pipes.
  4. Toilet Paper: Obviously, you can’t avoid putting this down your toilet. What you can avoid, however, is putting too much down the toilet. If your toilet starts to fill without draining, there’s a good chance that there is too much toilet paper that has clogged up the drain. Or, it could be that a child put a small toy or other object down the hatch.

In Your Kitchen:

  1. FOG: This stands for Fats, Oils, and Grease. The problem is, the leftover FOG from your cooking efforts congeals as it cools, and as a result builds up on the inside of your pipe walls, eventually creating a blockage that can probably only be relieved with hydro-jetting if it gets to a certain point.

In Your Sewer Line:

  1. Tree Roots: This is one of the biggest threats your sewer line faces. Even the smallest leaks or cracks in your underground plumbing can attract tree root growth. Once inside your pipes, tree roots quickly grow bigger, obstructing water flow and causing pipe damage.


Clearing these tree roots from the pipes can be a complex job and will require the assistance of a plumber. Unfortunately this cannot always be avoided, particularly if you inherited your existing landscape when you both your home. However if you’re doing any new planting or landscaping, its’ a wise idea to review the root structure of your new trees and monitor the condition of your sewer line to prevent huge drain clogs and costly repairs.

For expert plumbing service, installations, or maintenance contact Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Our knowledgeable plumbers serve the North Shore and Northwest Chicago suburbs. Rely on Reliance!

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