The sewer lines on your property are usually concealed; thus, a blocked drain might go unnoticed until it becomes a significant issue. Many homeowners overlook the early signs of a blocked drain until the sink is overflowing or the toilet is unable to flush.

Fortunately, your drains can reveal much about their state through sight, smell, and sound.

Identifying and responding to your drainage systems early warning signs can save you from severe plumbing and sewer issues. Many issues in a sewer line can start anywhere near or in a drain. Whether there’s a funny smell lingering, gurgling sounds in the pipes or your sink is draining slowly, it might be a blocked drain that’s causing it.

Failure to attend to the clogged drain immediately might result in irreversible pipe damage and pose health risks. Although the blockage may take some time to build up, it will eventually become apparent. For instance, a clogged drain promotes bacteria growth which leads to diseases and allergies. Since the blockage in the drain prevents water from flowing, the water trickles down your sink and may turn stagnant, carrying bacteria. So, when you use your sink, you make yourself vulnerable to viruses and contamination.

Hence, learning what causes clogged drains is crucial. The following are tell-tale signs of a blocked drain.

Slow Drains

One of the first signs that you have a blocked drain is a slow-draining sink, shower, or toilet. This problem often occurs in the kitchen or bathroom, where food scraps, grease, soap, and hair build up over time.

The problem develops gradually, as these residues go down the drain and clog up the pipes. It won’t disappear or get better until you hire a licenced plumber to address the issue.

Toilet Water Rising

If you notice the water levels in your toilet rising, it could be blocked drains. And if this problem isn’t spotted on time, the blocked drains may lead to further blockage downstream.

The continuous build-up of paper, hair, wipes, and anything else flushed down the toilet can prevent the toilet from flushing properly. So, make sure to get in touch with a certified blocked drain plumber to get the issue inspected and fixed.

Gurgling Sounds

Your drainage is most likely blocked if you hear unusual sounds, such as gurgling from the pipes. The noise might be from waste or food particles trapped in the pipes, blocking the water flow.

When this happens, it prevents the free flow of air through the pipes. Gurgling sounds are an unmistakable sign of clogged drainage, especially when combined with other problems.

Potent Smell

Drains that are blocked usually emit unpleasant odours from sewer gases or the waste trapped in the drains. The food debris and other organic matter lodged in the pipes start to decompose in time, emitting that foul smell.

Running water only makes the smell worse, as it aggravates potential bacteria. Calling a qualified plumber to resolve the situation would be best, as the pipes might have started rotting too.

Wastewater Backup

When water starts to back up in your toilet, sink, tub, or shower, it could be a sign of a far worse problem than blocked drainage. In such a scenario, the pipes might be damaged by invading tree roots, ground shifting, pipe collapse, or corrosion.

You should resolve the issue immediately by calling in a professional, as toxins, viruses, and bacteria from the sewage can enter your home.

Frequent Clogs

If you have to plunge your toilet or unclog the shower drain repeatedly, then it means that there might be a hidden problem due to hair or potentially un-flushable wipes.

Furthermore, if more than one fixture or drain keeps clogging up, your plumbing lines could have a severe issue.Although drains naturally clog with time, the issue should not be recurrent.

Low Water Pressure

A faulty pressure regulator, pipe or drain degradation, or a clogged drain can cause low water pressure.

The water pressure can drastically reduce if someone leaves the water valve partially closed or if the water regulator is malfunctioning. Failure to address this issue could lead to further plumbing damage.


Another thing you might notice when the sewage is backing up your drains is the infestation of bugs and rodents. Some insects feed on sewage nutrients, and rodents feed on these insects.

This situation might turn your home into a food chain, and if the problem isn’t fixed early, it might lead to a significant infestation.


If you notice the signs mentioned above in your home, then you probably have a blocked drain that should be fixed. It’s essential to address any drainage issues immediately after they are spotted to keep your plumbing system in perfect condition.

If you’re looking for a professional plumber near you, get in touch with us for a free quote.