Owning a house comes with a long list of responsibilities. Maintenance problems often appear out of nowhere. Sometimes they even turn into full-blown disasters. You’ll have to empty your savings account, take out yet another loan or ask friends and family for some cash to tide you over. One of the well-known culprits is your sewage system. Clogged sewer lines can lead to issues with other parts of your house and cause some high repair and replacement costs.
It’s impossible to foresee what can go wrong at a given moment. Especially when most homeowners lack the technical expertise needed to properly maintain their utility lines. Are there any potential warning signs you should be looking for?
The biggest issue with your sewage disposal system is its discreet nature. Sewer lines are hidden under the ground and you often don’t even know where they lay. But don’t worry. There are some ways to learn all the necessary information about your utilities without going deep into technical detail. We’ll explain what signs to look for and provide you with a general rule of thumb and some other ideas you can apply to improve sewer lines maintenance.
After you learn how often you need to have your lines cleaned, you’ll become savvy enough not to get ripped when ordering maintenance service or repairs. Or if you’re handy with tools and in decent shape you can do some DIY sewer line cleaning and declogging.
Most plumbers and home engineering experts are unanimous when it comes to the sewer lines cleaning schedule. Every 18 to 22 months you’ve got to get down to do some dirty business. If you stick to this schedule and your sewage waste gets disposed of just fine, keep doing what you’re doing.
If you clean the lines every year and a half, and the problems keep appearing, prompting you to do cleaning even more often — it’s a warning sign. There’s hidden trouble that needs to be uncovered. Give a call to a local plumbing provider you trust. If you don’t have such contacts, call several companies from the business directory, but always ask if they are licensed and insured before signing a contract. If you are a Chicago area resident, check out emergencyplumbingusa.com. They are a trusted company that offers residential and commercial plumbing services.
When a plumber comes, ask him to inspect your pipes with a special video camera. After he inspects your lines, pipes, and connections, he’ll tell you what’s causing those nasty back-ups. Sewer line video inspection prevents even a less experienced plumber from trying to guess the nature of the problem. He will rely upon the results of the inspection to provide you with actionable recommendations for a repair you need.
The most common reason for clogs and back-ups is the dirty pipes. But while blaming the dirt and filth that’s stuck in a pipe is a safe bet, that’s not always the case. If using the plumber’s snake or cleaning solutions doesn’t yield any results, you’ve got a bigger issue on your hands.
Your lush vegetation in your yard or garden may be your enemy when it comes to sewer lines. Especially, when your trees and brush are more than several years old. In search of water, roots can grow really fast. They burst and block pipes by growing into them. While a root block is an unpleasant issue it can be fixed for a relatively low price. But if the roots break the pipes, you might need to replace whole sections of your waste-removal system.
Another common reason is called bellied piping. Yes, a section of your sewer pipe can get a “belly”. When the pipe sags, it slopes downward. Usually, it is caused by changes in the soil around the sewer line. If it breaks, loosens, becomes unstable, the pipe loses support, and starts to bend because the changes in temperature and inner pressure force it to sink. In several months enough waste can accumulate in the “belly” portion creating a real blockade.
Plumbers advise against disposing of cooking grease with your sewage system. Grease is the worst thing that can get into sewer lines. It will solidify and block the pipes for good. In some cases, it can even lead to removing and rebuilding some parts of your system, but most of the time using the hydro-jetting method works wonders. Professional plumbers will clean the interiors with a highly pressurized water stream.
- sewage constantly backs up into your bathtub, toilet, or kitchen sink;
- you hear a gurgling sound from the pipes and drains;
- water keeps collecting around the basement floor drain;
- when you turn the washing machine on, water from it flows into your tub;
- water is being drained extremely slow;
- your pipes keep getting clogged often;
- your sewer stinks.
If you see any of the above-mentioned red flags, ask a master plumber to inspect your sewer system. After determining the cause, he will use several methods to fix the issue. Roots can be extracted mechanically with an auger, dissolved chemically, or dug up. Badly damaged sections have to be replaced at an additional cost. Hydro-jetting will remove grease from the system.
Keep the pipes clean and service them in time to avoid paying more for replacing your sewer lines and connections. Major repairs are always costly!