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Preventing Sewer Line Back Ups

Preventing Sewer Line Back Ups

Last month we discussed several methods for opening and maintaining sewer lines.  They included:

  • Rodding
  • Jetting
  • Video inspection
  • Chemicals

This month we discuss three more:

  • Sewer cleanout
  • Preventative rodding maintenance
  • Excavations

Sewer cleanout is an access point installed in a sewer system to allow access to the system for rodding maintenance. Every home should have at least one cleanout. Most homes in this area have a 4″ diameter sewer line exiting the house which transitions to a 6″ diameter line outside underground. If a 6” cleanout was installed at this transition, it allows us to insert a 6″ diameter cutter to clean the 6″ clay tile sewer line. If the cleanout is in the home, the pipe will have a 3″ diameter plug, so the largest cutter that can be used to clean the sewer is a 3″ cutter. Outside cleanouts are preferred for several reasons:

  • Rodding work is easier and quicker if performed outside. Equipment does not have to be brought and maneuvered inside into the home
  • Rodding work is cleaner if performed outside. Tarps do not have to be laid out in the home to protect the area
  • If the home has an overhead sewer, the cleanout must be opened slowly allowing all of the sewerage that is inside the sewer to be slowly drained from the sewer before the rodding work can begin.  This is a costly, messy, and smelly procedure.

Preventative rodding maintenance keeps sewer and drain lines open and flowing. Preventative rodding frequency is varied, and is usually determined by historical information. If the customer finds that the sewer typically stops up once a year, then rodding once every 6 to 8 months would be prudent. As time goes by, the problems in the sewer will become worse, requiring more frequent rodding maintenance.

Excavation may be required for several reasons:

  • The sewer line cannot be opened by rodding
  • The rodding cables or video camera head have become ensnared in the sewer because there is too much debris or a break in the line. Usually the only way to retrieve the equipment and open the sewer line is via excavation, which has to be done anyway to repair the sewer
  • To install a sewer cleanout to allow for more effective, safer, or less liability for damage during rodding
  • To make a spot repair of a sewer line
  • To replace a sewer line

Excavations can be performed by hand or with equipment. The decision is based on:

  • The depth of the sewer line
  • The number and types of underground utilities that may be in the path of the excavation
  • The area surrounding the excavation. If there is not enough room to move equipment to the excavation or enough room surrounding the excavation area then the only alternative is hand excavation

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Ravinia Plumbing
1580 Old Skokie Rd
Highland Park, IL 60035
P: (847) 579-5565
F: (847) 831-5694
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*Based on research conducted January - August 2016