Sewer lines maintenance can be overwhelming, especially if the problem sits between the walls and underground. Properly maintaining your plumbing and sewer lines is important as it prevents major sewer problems such as backed up sewage, broken or collapsed pipes, or leaking joints. So what can the concerned homeowner do to prevent mucking up hazardous sewage or spending $200-$7000 for repairs?
What You Shouldn’t Do If You Want Functioning Sewer Lines
Your habits can have a large impact on how well your plumbing functions. What goes down your drains is just as important as how well your local sewer lines are maintained. Sometimes the most effective solution is to replace your sewer line or plumbing fixture- unfortunately, that means a very expensive cost. The good news is how much you can do to prolong the life of your plumbing and sewer lines.
- Rely on old piping. Older sewer lines made with materials such as clay, cast iron, and PVC and ABS plastic, are all subject to damage. Clay pipes, for example, are most susceptible to tree root invasion, which can eventually result in the pipe breaking or collapsing. Over time, cast iron pipes are susceptible to rust and corrosion. Plastic pipes tend to face fewer issues, but can still be subject to improper installations or shifts from earthquakes. A sewer line made with old materials doesn’t automatically mean it’s not up to snuff, but frequent maintenance and cleaning can help keep your older sewer lines functioning well.
- Plant trees around your sewer lines. One of the most common sewer problems is tree root incursion. The roots from trees are constantly seeking moisture, and a sewer line is a perfect source of water. Roots enter through any joints or gaps in the piping. As the roots draw in moisture, they not only multiply, but expand, which not only will eventually clog the sewer line, but cause it to collapse. Knowing where your sewer line is, and keeping trees a certain distance away, and frequently cleaning your drains are all ways to prevent tree root incursion.
- Overwhelm your garbage disposal. A kitchen sink with a garbage disposal is a wonderful appliance to have. Just because you can put food waste down the garbage disposal, however, doesn’t mean you should. Foods that are high in fat, grease, and oils are notorious for clogging and backing up drains. It’s also best to avoid putting down eggshells, as the shells themselves can be ground up into a sand-like consistency that can clog your plumbing. Other foods such as pasta, rice, beans, and potatoes, can over time swell from the water to form a paste-like substance that can also clog your drain.
- Use chemical drain cleaners. A clogged drain is a common household problem, and usually using a chemical drain cleaner helps to quickly unclog the problem. Chemical drain cleaners, however, can corrode your pipes over time, especially on older pipes. Chemical drain cleaners are also incredibly toxic if swallowed, can burn your skin and eat through your clothing. The chemicals in these drain cleaners not only eat at your pipes, they can also chew off the enamel and other expensive finishes in your kitchen or bathroom. If you’re tight on money, a chemical drain cleaner is typically good at unclogging a drain, but it should never be the go-to option. Hydrojetting your pipes is an effective way to keep your drains clean and clog-free.
- Flush anything but waste down the toilet. It might seem like a no-brainer to flush only what’s intended for a toilet to flush, but accidents do happen. Feminine products, wet wipes, dental floss, are all things that aren’t biodegradable and can clog your drain. Making sure your toilet seat is down when not in use also helps ensure nothing is incidentally knocked into the toilet and flushed down.
- Never clean your shower stalls, sinks, and bathtubs. There’s a lot to keeping your home clean, but cleaning your kitchen and bathrooms should be a top priority. Over time, food residue, soap scum, and hair can build up and clog your drains. Routinely cleaning your sinks, stalls, and tubs can help prevent some frustrating plumbing problems. There are a few additional things you can do to make cleaning your kitchens and bathrooms less of a chore. Wiping down the walls of your shower stall with a towel after use, for example, helps prevent the growth of mildew and mold. Using white vinegar and water can help remove hard water deposits. Coating the tile walls in your bathroom with furniture polish can also prevent the buildup of soap scum.
- Skip out on other home appliance maintenance. It’s easy to forget about all the home appliances that function with your plumbing, such as your sump pump and water heater- but those are appliances you can’t afford to neglect. Water heaters should be flushed at least once a year to help clean out all the sediment build up. Sump pumps need to be inspected and cleaned at least once a year to ensure they’re functioning correctly. Leaving your other water treatment appliances poorly maintained can lead to some costly sewer problems.
Put An End to All Your Sewer Problems
Sewer problems can be costly and damaging to your home and your health. If you think you’re experiencing a major sewer problem, don’t hesitate to contact a professional plumber. Plumbing problems can get complicated, but a licensed plumber can quickly identify the problem and offer the most effective solution.
Don’t hesitate at the expense of your pipes and plumbing, call Lighten Up for any questions about maintaining your sewer lines!