One of the most common problems that a household will regularly encounter is a slow draining sink. While this issue isn’t usually a big problem in itself, it can indicate that something more serious may be going on with your plumbing. There could be debris, food, or hair partially clogging the drain, or there could be an issue with your pipes.
Water that backs up into your sink and takes a long time to drain can slow down your chores. It can also cause odours to spread through your home and, if left unchecked, could lead to leaks and even more significant damage.
Here are the top 9 reasons for a slow draining kitchen sink:
Reason #1: Old plumbing
As you age your pipes, they can begin to rust. Constant exposure to water, oxygen, and other chemicals can cause your plumbing to rust and slowly deteriorate. When this occurs, small pieces of your pipes break off, which can build up over time. They will cause blockages and slow draining pipes, necessitating the help of a plumber.
Reason #2: Food buildup
Tiny particles of food and debris will inevitably end up flowing down your drain. Along with this will also be fats and cooking oils. This grease will harden along the walls of your plumbing, and the sediment from leftover bits of food will get stuck as well. Over time, this will narrow the walls of your pipes, making it more difficult for water to flow freely and causing backups in your sinks.
Reason #3: Something is stuck
It is incredible all of the different items that plumbers find in people’s pipes. Everything from children’s toys to expensive jewelry has been known to slip down the drain and cause partial or even complete blockages. Keep valuables away from the sink or use a sink strainer to stop this from occurring in the first place.
Reason #4: P-trap problems
The P-trap is a curved section of pipe located directly below your sink. The purpose of this part of your plumbing is precisely as the name implies – to trap any debris that has inadvertently made it down the drain. However, when the P-trap becomes full, it can clog the pipe and cause your sink to drain much slower than usual.
Reason #5: Tree roots
If you have large trees on your property, their root system could interfere with your plumbing. As the tree grows and the roots expand throughout your yard, they are attracted to your plumbing. Your pipes are a water source, and they will grow towards them, often wrapping around or even breaking through them. This will restrict the water flow leaving your home and cause backups in your sinks.
Reason #6: Vent pipe issues
Every home has a vent that runs up through the house and out through the roof. This vent funnels all of the exhaust gasses and maintains the required pressure in your plumbing pipes to allow water to flow correctly. If the vent pipe becomes blocked, it can create a situation where there is negative pressure in your drain pipe. This will prevent water from flowing freely down your sink drain.
Reason #7: Garburator
A garburator can be a handy appliance to have in your kitchen. It can make cleaning up after meals easier and make composting food waste a breeze. Unfortunately, garburators can also become clogged quickly, and when this happens, your sinks can become clogged as well. Cleaning out your garbage disposal regularly will help keep your sinks flowing freely and prevent a backup.
Reason #8: Hard water
Hard water can be a serious issue when it comes to the health of your plumbing. Hard water contains numerous different minerals, and over time these can wreak havoc on your pipes. Limescale can build up inside the walls of your pipes and cause blockages. This is most common in homes with galvanized steel drain pipes built before 1970.
Reason #9: Septic tank sludge
If your home has a septic tank, then sludge buildup could be the culprit to your slow draining sink. Without proper maintenance, sludge and debris can accumulate in the septic tank and eventually overflow into the rest of your plumbing system. This can cause blockages and keep your drains from flowing smoothly.
While it may be tempting to simply live with a slow draining sink and ignore the issue, it is essential to realize that the problem may be far more severe than just an annoyance. While most slow draining sinks can be remedied with a simple homemade or store-bought drain cleaner, some issues could be much bigger.
If you are having difficulty clearing up your slow draining sink on your own, it’s time to call in a professional plumber. They will help you determine the root cause of your plumbing problems and help you create an action plan to prevent your slow draining sinks from happening in the future.