As a homeowner, you have many responsibilities for maintaining your house and addressing issues as they arise, but that doesn’t mean you have to be an expert in every facet of home maintenance to do it well. Sewer lines are just one of the many components that you rely on at home, but they are hidden, so it can be difficult to anticipate potential problems ahead of time.
With a few helpful tips and a drain cleaning company you trust, you can learn to recognize the early signs of sewer line issues and make the most educated decision about routine maintenance and repairs.
Causes of Sewer Line Blockages
Clogged and backed up sewer lines have a variety of causes, including:
- Tree and Plant Roots: Believe it or not, backed-up sewer lines are predominantly caused by tree roots. Surrounding trees and their roots can first crack your pipes and then penetrate them with tiny tendrils and young roots. These roots will then quickly grow to completely fill your pipes, and in extreme cases, they can grow so big that your pipes break.
- Sagging Pipes: A sagging pipe, also known as a bellied pipe, occurs when the compacted soil around an underground pipe shifts from its original place. Over time, the pipe can begin to sag in the undersupported area. The sagging pipe will start to collect waste, and it can eventually cause a blockage.
- Grease: Many people may think pouring grease down their drain is a hygienic and worry-free way to dispose of cooking oil. However, the grease can solidify and block your pipes. The best way to deal with grease in your sewer line is to have your line professionally hydro-jetted. Grease traps can help protect your pipes from grease, but they have their own grease trap cleaning routines to consider as well.
Warning Signs Your Sewer Line Needs to Be Cleaned
If you notice any of the below signs, you likely need to have your sewer lines cleaned:
- Sewage is coming up from your train, bathtub, sink, or toilet
- Bubbling or gurgling sounds coming from plumbing
- Standing water around drains, especially in the basement
- Water backs up into other areas of your house when using appliances such as the dishwasher or washing machines
- Frequent clogs
- Slow drain
- Foul odors
Stay Proactive with Routine Sewer Line Cleaning
Video inspection and routine sewer line cleaning can help you stay informed about the state of your home’s pipes. If you’re buying a house, ask detailed questions about the history of the home’s plumbing system and find out how recently it’s been repaired or replaced. Preventative maintenance is the key to mitigating sagging pipes and other sources of clogs. In general, it’s recommended that homeowners schedule sewer line cleaning every 18 months.