BUD MATTHEWS SERVICES IS OPEN AND READY TO SERVE. We recognize our services are often emergency in nature, and we remain fully committed to fulfilling the needs of our community. Learn more here!
Serving the Chapel Hill Area for Over 40 Years!

The Top Causes of Drain Clogs

Posted on: January 8, 2018

In our last post, we encouraged homeowners to start off the New Year with a great service to care for their plumbing: scheduling routine drain cleaning. There’s no better way to see a house enjoys a clog-free 2018 than to have professional plumbers use the best drain cleaning technology to scour away all the build-up inside the drains around the house.

Right now, we’d like to address the actual build-up, the problems down in drains that create clogs. Almost anything can stop up a drainpipe, like a child’s toy falling down a drain. (We recommend keeping covers over all drains to help prevent this.) But there are a few sources that account for the majority of drain clogs. Knowing what they are will make it easier for you to avoid future drain problems, as well as remind you why routine drain cleaning is such a helpful service.


Clots and tangles of hair are the most common type of clog to affect bathroom drains, such as the bathtub, shower, and sink. Using a drain cover (and cleaning it off routinely) helps prevent too much hair sliding down these drains, but it’s difficult to stop all of it. The hair often sticks in the p-trap (the curved section of pipe directly under the drain) and soon traps even more hair. Hair clogs often resist standard plungers and even consumer-grade drain snakes. Getting ahead of the problem makes a bathroom’s plumbing more reliable.

Soap scum

Soap goes down almost all drains, and that can leave soap scum residue behind. You’ve seen soap scum before in any soap dish that’s held a bar of soap for long enough—this is tough material that adheres tenaciously to surfaces. Soap scum can rapidly narrow the space in a pipe for water to pass. Worse, soap scum can trigger a chemical reaction with drainpipe material, possibly leading to leaks.

Organic material (especially FOG)

This is the major enemy of kitchen drains. Food particles washed down the drain can become trapped there and start to create clogs. The most dangerous are fats, oils, and grease (collectively known as FOG), which look harmless when they’re in their hot liquid state. Once the air from the drain vents cools FOG down, they change to a solid that sticks to drain walls and which is difficult to remove except through hydro-jetting.


The water entering a house through the water main contains some minerals that can dissolve from the water and onto the inner walls of pipes. This is a big problem if a home has hard water, i.e. water with high levels of magnesium and calcium. Removing hard water minerals from pipes requires the best professional tools. We also recommend installing a water softener to eliminate the hard water problem, which can create issues throughout the plumbing.

To schedule any service for your sewer and drain in Durham, NC, reach out to us. We offer 24/7 emergency work, and we’re also glad to schedule routine drain cleaning at your convenience.

Bud Matthews Services: For All Your Home Service Needs in Durham, NC and the Surrounding Areas.

See What Your Neighbors Are Saying

“Many heartfelt thanks to the people I talked with on the phone late this afternoon who were concerned enough to send Pat over to check on our frozen pipes and dripping shower. Pat was so kind and professional and fixed...”

– Rindi

“Bud, I want to send my thanks to your company and especially to Scott. He got into more than he bargained for on our project yesterday. He went out and got different parts and went the extra mile to make...”

– Dave W.

“They were professional, honest, and cleaned-up after their work, and even took the shop-vacuum around the living room for good measure (we have a GSD - say no more)! Nice folks.”

– Judith A. – Pittsboro, NC

“Bud Mathew responded to our call even though it was made during the weekend. Plumber came to the house, identified the problem, gave us a temporary fix and suggested we wait until Monday to fix it. (That saved us some...”

– Gloria C. – Carrboro, NC

“They replaced a number of parts in my old Maytag dryer. It has been very reliable for 26 years and I want to keep it rather than buy a new one. Works great now!”

– Jane S. – Chapel Hill, NC

“Repair people were punctual and cordial. They troubleshot a problem, trying different approaches when the first try didn't work to clear the line. They explained everything they were doing as they did it while we watched. They were very efficient...”

– Diana B. – Efland, NC

“We were very happy with the process and outcome. Noah was very responsive. If he couldn't answer his phone when I called, he quickly returned calls. Everyone was very polite and respectful. They did a great job. Noah made good...”

– Jeffrey H. – Durham, NC

“They fixed my LG Front Load Washing Machine, which was leaking. They also helped me level it properly. They were on time, they provided clear estimates, they were professional, and they clearly explained every step of the process to me...”

– Lindsey S. – Chapel Hill, NC
See More Reviews
Certifications & Affiliations

We recognize that our services are of a special and often emergency nature, and we remain fully committed to fulfilling the needs of our community even as potential demand for our services may increase with more families either choosing to or being required to remain home for extended periods of time. More importantly, the safety of our employees and customers is always our highest priority, and we recognize that heightened diligence and focus on health and safety is required during these challenging times. We are actively monitoring updates from the CDC, WHO and local health officials; and we have been proactively and continually implementing measures and developing plans to prioritize the health and well-being of our employees and customers. Including:

  • Equipping all technicians with masks, gloves, and disinfectants.
  • Social distancing – Avoid handshakes and limit direct contact with customers during their visit.
  • Requiring technicians to clean all surfaces with disinfectants before and after performing work.
  • Requiring all employees to stay home if they are experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing or fever.