You’ve heard that you shouldn’t put certain
things down the drain or flush them down the toilet, but not surprisingly,
people still do. In fact, there are some very bizarre things that have been
found in drainage pipes! Plumbers definitely have an exciting job.
Weird Drain Discoveries
There have been a few things that were
found in drains and surprised even the plumber, who should have seen it all by now.
While it may sound utterly bizarre,
dentures actually end up in the drain all the time. Think about it . . . you
set them by the sink while you wash your face and one stray elbow knocks them
into the drain or into the toilet. The UK sewers see hundreds of false teeth
One plumber got quite the surprise when he
tried to use his plumbing snake to see what was in the toilet blocking it up.
The toilet started to vibrate, shocking everyone. In the end, it ended up being
an electric razor that was still working very well. The culprit? The owner
assumed it was the cat, as we all know cats have a penchant for knocking things
Someone once flushed a Winnie the Pooh
teddy bear down the toilet and it wasn’t a small one. That’s probably not quite
what they meant when they told their child that the toilet was for poo.
Guards at the Ottawa Country Jail in Ohio
made an odd discovery while trying to unclog some toilets in the cell block.
They found prison issues underpants shoved down the toilet in order to get rid
of them by an inmate who was about to be freed. Sadly for the inmate, flushing
his underwear gave him an extra month in prison.
A blockage in a drainpipe in a Chinese flat
turned out to be a new-born baby. The tiny infant had supposedly fallen from
it’s mother and into the sewer pipe, which was considered suspicious. However,
the baby was healthy and well and was eventually given to the grandparents to
In California, a business had a massive
blockage that cause all the toilets and sinks to back up. Needless to say,
drainage experts were called in to unplug the system. What they found was an
awful lot of tiny liquor bottles. Someone was drinking on the job and then
flushing the evidence.
When your toilet smells bad, what do you
do? Well in Pennsylvania, a blocked toilet turned out to be clogged by a
plug-in air freshener. Apparently, the residents thought it would help with the
smell, but they just caused themselves more issues.
In Essex, a drain technician discovered not
one, but four luxury watches in the drains. The watches were all worth tens of
thousands of pounds, or so it was thought. Three of the watches were fakes,
while the one Rolex had actually been stolen property and had to be returned.
The drain tech did get a reward, though.
Common Drain Blockages
Obviously, you would never flush any of
these things down a toilet, but did you know that some of the most common
blockages are caused by:
and fat: This solidifies in the pipes and collects
grime and other odds and ends until it completely blocks the drain.
Hair: Most people lose 50-100 hairs each day and a large amount of that
is in the shower. Don’t forget to use a hair trap to prevent all that hair from
creating a nasty hairball in the pipes.
Toys: Make sure your children know not to put their tiny toys down the
drain or into the toilet. They can cause all sorts of blockages, not to
mention, a lost toy.
waste: Chunks of food are best dumped in the bin
rather than down the sink. This can cause some pretty major blockages,
particularly when it all clumps together.
products: Feminine pads and tampons are not meant
to be flushed in the toilet, but many women were taught to do this early on and
continue, despite the risks.
Dirt: Dirt automatically clumps when wet, so if you wash it down the
drain, you are asking for trouble. Rinse dirty hands off outside to avoid this
paper: When you use too much toilet paper, it can
clump together as you flush and this makes a big blockage that will become
evident almost immediately. Try to use smaller amounts of paper and flush in
between if necessary.
wipes: Do you use moisture wipes to clean your
baby’s bum or for your face and hands? If so, remember they don’t belong in the
toilet. They will clog things up and collect other debris to create a worse
Avoid putting any of these things down the
drains or you’ll need to look into the next section of this article.
Signs Your Drains Are Plugged
While you hopefully don’t have any of these
exotic clogs in your drains, every home sees a blocked drain at some point. You
just need to recognise the signs as early as possible.
You may notice that there’s an unpleasant
smell coming from your drains. This is often a sign that something is backing
up water in there. The backed-up water is stagnant, so bacteria begin to grow
Puddles of water appearing near a sink or
bathtub can be a sign that there is a clogged pipe and it is causing water to
come back through the pipes. You may also notice water coming from the clean
out. Anytime water appears where it shouldn’t, there’s a problem of some sort,
but it may be a leaky pipe or a clogged one.
Water doesn’t drain well in the sink or
bathtub. Does the water stay in the basin for far too long? If it is taking
longer than it should to drain, the sink is likely clogged. However, if you
notice that several drains are blocked in the house, that usually means it is a
clog that is further down the pipes and is affecting the entire drainage
system. This can be quite serious and you’ll need to call in help immediately.
What to Do If Your Drain is Clogged
Take steps as soon as you know there is a
blockage in the drain. Start by pouring a litre of boiling water down the
drain. If the issue is minor, this will dissolve it and wash it away.
You can repeat the boiling water a few
times, adding baking soda or vinegar to the drain for added power. Make sure to
let the hot water sit for at least 15 minutes. This method works best if you
scoop out any standing water ahead of time, so the hot water can reach further.
A plunger may also work to help you get the
clog out if it’s not that far down. You can use a toilet plunger and place it
over the drain, then pull it up sharply a few times to see if this dislodges
whatever is stuck. For the plunger to work best, you need to cover the lip of
the bell with water so it can create suction.
Finally, if none of these methods work, you
can try taking apart the U trap under the sink. This should come off fairly
easily and you will want to have a bucket or a bin under it to catch the water
that pours out. If there is a clog in the U pipe, you can usually poke it out
with a pencil or similar. Once clean, replace the pipe and then flush water
through it to ensure there isn’t a blockage further down.
In many cases, the blockage is too stubborn
to move or it may be further down the pipe and anything you do will not
dislodge it. If this is the case, it’s time to call in the experts. You want a
proper plumber to come in and work their magic, since they will have the necessary
tools to do it.
A drainage expert will be able to eliminate
the blockage easily and this will allow you to return to washing dishes and
bathing normally. Just watch your dentures in the tub!
Do you have a blocked drain that just won’t
move? The Drainage Consultants are available to help you get rid of the clog
right away. Contact us today to learn more.