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How to Prevent Clogged Sewer Lines


The majority of residential plumbing problems revolve around sink or toilet clogs. Most homeowners have had to deal with these minor issues, many of which can be easily taken care of with a plunger or commercial drain cleaner. But problems with your sewer line aren’t as easily remedied. A clog in your home’s sewer system can be inconvenient, invasive and very expensive to fix. It can also lead to significant damage in your home if there is a sewage backup.

Clogged sewer lines, especially those in older homes, are often very complex and require the help of professionals. Most homeowners don’t think much about sewer line maintenance until it’s too late. Don’t make the same mistake. By following these tips you can help keep your sewer lines performing at peak efficiency for years to come.

Nontoxic Cleaning

Cleaning out your pipes every month with an enzyme cleaner is recommended for a healthy sewer line. There are a wide variety of cleaners on the market, but make sure that you avoid a chemical-based cleaner which is not good for your pipes or the environment. You’ll find a wide selection of cleaners at your local home improvement store with specific directions on how to administer the chemical. Accessing the sewer line in your home is very easy. Most every drain leads to the sewer line, but the toilet or a basement drain are the largest access points.

Replace Old Clay Pipes

If you live in an older home that was built before the mid 50’s, you probably have a clay sewer line. Clay pipes should be replaced as they crack easily and can require a lot of repair work. They are also easily infiltrated by tree roots because of the permeable nature of the clay. Slow moving drains and odd gurgling noises are some of the first signs that your sewer system has been infiltrated by roots. If your home is 60 years or older and you are experiencing these minor problems, have your system assessed immediately. Even if your system seems to be working fine, consider having it replaced if it is made of clay.

Warning Signs of a Main Sewer Line Clog

Keep Plants Away from the Sewer Line

One of the most common (and costly) reasons that a sewer line backs up is the infiltration of tree and plant roots. As stated previously, this happens frequently to lines that are made of clay. But even modern sewer lines can be compromised by roots depending on a number of factors – including tree placement. It is a good rule of thumb to plant trees and bushes several feet away from the sewer line. Before planting something new, make sure you research where the sewer line is located.

Avoid Flushing Trash Down the Toilet

There are only two things that should be flushed down a toilet: human waste and toilet paper. There are no exceptions. But another common cause of sewer blockage is trash. Some of the blame must be put on the advertising of certain products that claim to be “flushable.” Wipes are not flushable in any form and can wreak havoc on plumbing. Feminine hygiene products, tissues, floss, cotton balls, cat litter, condoms and cigarette butts are all common culprits. Throw these items in the trash – and keep your sewer line free from blockage.

Perform Maintenance Once a Year

Annual cleaning will remove any debris or other matter that might compromise the sewer line. If you experience consistent problems, annual professional maintenance (along with a monthly enzyme cleaner) will keep those issues to a minimum.

Contact Metro Plumbing today for a complete assessment of your sewer line. We can help diagnose any recurring problems and offer solutions for clay plumbing replacement. Call us at 423-616-1025 or 706-516-1980 to schedule an assessment today!

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