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Sewers 101

  • Categories: Plumbing
  • Date: March 23, 2015
Sewers 101

With the rainy season approaching, there are a couple of things you will want to do to make sure your house does not flood. First, make sure your sump pump and battery back-up are operating properly. See http://www.raviniaplumbing.com/blog/sump-pump-101 for more information on that.

The other thing is to make sure your sewer line does not back up. You can do that by taking care of things inside and outside your home.

Inside

The things you put down your drains and toilets inside the home eventually find their way outside the home, and can clog the sewer lines. So:

  • Toilets should not be used for anything other than toilet paper and human waste. In other words, no diapers, feminine hygiene products, baby wipes, prophylactics, tissue paper, paper towels, etc.
  • “Everything except the kitchen sink” is not an instruction on what you can throw down the kitchen sink. Do not put cooking fats, coffee grounds, fibrous foods (such as onion peels, celery, corn husks, etc.) or grease down the sink. Make sure that any food you put down the drain is adequately broken up by the garbage disposer.
  • Use a preventative maintenance drain chemical but avoid products that contain acid or a base such as Liquid Plumber or Draino. They can damage your pipes. We recommend Bio-Clean, a non-toxic preventative maintenance chemical for kitchen sinks and septic systems.

Outside

  • First, know exactly where your sewer line is. If you are going to plant trees, make sure you plant them far away from the lines because, over time, the roots will infiltrate and clog the lines. Roots are the #1 cause of sewer line backups.
  • To be even safer, make sure your trees and plants get enough water. Roots will only extend to the sewer line if they are looking for a water source.
  • Have a professional plumber rod your sewer line every year or two. It costs a little money, but it is an investment to reduce the risk, inconvenience and expense of a flood
  • Finally, to diagnose the root (no pun intended) of your sewer problems, a professional plumber can perform a video inspection. This will tell you whether your sewer line is in need of repair or even replacement.
  • If you start smelling sewage or notice wet patches in your yard, your sewer line may be a disaster waiting to happen, and you should get it inspected immediately.

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