Why does my sink drain slowly?

shutterstock_1011347866 (1)A slow-draining sink can be one of the most aggravating and disruptive home maintenance issues to deal with. Whether it’s in the kitchen or the bathroom, it’s a problem that can impede your ability to prepare food, wash yourself or clean your kitchenware, creating day-to-day difficulties until the issue is resolved.

When your sink starts to drain slowly, the first step is to first ascertain what the cause of the problem is; in some cases, it may be a simple issue that can be resolved without any outside help, but if a more serious blockage or piping defect is responsible, then you may need to rely on a drainage professional to carry out a more intensive repair.

Here are a few of the most common causes of slow-draining sinks, along with a few potential solutions to the problems. If you’re in need of further advice on a drainage-related issue of this kind, then give Lanes a call at 0800 526 488.

A single obstruction in the pipes

In some cases, a slow-draining sink can have a simple, singular cause, with an easily identifiable object being found lodged in the pipe to obstruct the flow of water. Naturally, this is still a cause of inconvenience, but it’s easy to fix compared to other, more stubborn causes of water flow issues.

Sometimes, this can be the result of a large clump of food or a mass of hair becoming lodged in the pipe. At other times, it might be due in part to some other foreign object having accidentally been washed down an open plughole, such as a piece of jewellery or a small toy. It can be a major annoyance when this happens, but it shouldn’t be overly difficult to find a solution once you’ve narrowed down the cause.

A blockage that’s accumulated over time

Slow drainage problems can prove more difficult to address when the blockage in question is the result of a gradual accumulation of solid material, rather than a single foreign object.

Kitchen sinks are especially susceptible to this type of blockage, as homeowners frequently pour fats, oil and grease (FOG) down the plughole, where it cools and solidifies into a stubborn mass that clumps together with other solid fragments to partially or completely obstruct the flow of water.

There are a number of ways to identify blockages of this kind – not only are they characterised by slow-draining water, but you’ll likely also hear gurgling noises from the drains even after the water disappears, and you may also notice foul odours coming from the plughole as the contents of the pipe start to rot. If this is the case, then the problem may require some professional attention.

Damage to the pipes

Another issue that may lead to a slow-draining sink is a damaged pipe network, whether this is due to gradual deterioration or another cause. Some types of older pipe have been known to gradually deform and lose their circular shape over time, narrowing the entryway and causing the water flow to become blocked – in these cases, urgent attention may be needed before the problem gets any worse.

It’s also possible that the pipe damage may have been caused by the growth of tree roots, another problem that most often affects older pipes. In these cases, plant roots manage to penetrate the joints of a piping system, where they feed upon the oxygen, water and nutrients inside and grow to a point where water is no longer able to pass through. This is another issue that cannot be fixed without calling out a professional drainage engineer.

What are the next steps?

Determining the cause of a slow-draining sink can be a difficult task unless you’re a trained professional. If you’ve dropped something down the plughole, you’re likely to know about it, but it’s going to be nearly impossible to spot or fix anything further along the pipe network without specialist tools.

There are a handful of immediate actions that can be taken to try and address a slow drainage problem: removing visible obstructions from the plughole by hand is an obvious first step, with implements such as wire coat hangers proving useful for dislodging blockages that are a little further down.

A plunger can make a big difference, as it allows you to harness air pressure to unseat and break up solid masses that are further down the pipes. Some also choose to use store-bought drain-cleaning chemicals, but it’s worth bearing in mind that if these fail to clear the blockage, they can accumulate inside the pipe and create a danger for those performing subsequent maintenance work.

As such, the best option for dealing a slow-draining sink is always to call on the help of an expert drainage solutions provider such as Lanes. We can offer a 24-hour service with no callout charge, and can be on the scene quickly to diagnose the cause of your drainage problem and fix it with a minimum of fuss.

Remember, no job is too big OR small for our team of highly-trained engineers, so even if you’re only experiencing a minor water flow problem with your sink, it’s worth giving us a call – spotting the signs of a blockage early makes it possible to determine whether there’s a more serious underlying cause, and deal with it before it gets any worse.

If you’d like to know more, you can check out our domestic drain unblocking services, or give us a call at 0800 526 488.