If you’ve ever encountered a plumbing emergency, you’ll know exactly how frustrating it can be. From blocked toilets to broken sewage pipes, the damage will effectively slam the brakes on whatever you’re doing until a solution is found. While Schuelke Plumbing & Construction can provide the restorative features needed to get your Inland Empire home back to its best, we believe that prevention courtesy of comprehensive sewer line maintenance is always the best form of protection.
Sewer line preventative maintenance is one of the most commonly overlooked tasks by California homeowners and businesses alike. Here are seven simple steps to keeping your property’s sewer lines in excellent condition for years to come.
The main sewer line is the property owner’s responsibility up to the edge of the property, which is why familiarizing yourself with every aspect of your system is essential. Statistics show that one in 10 households has leaks causing at least 90 gallons of water to be wasted daily. This is just one of several reasons why many homebuying guides suggest using cameras to investigate the situation before purchasing a new property. In truth, it’s not a bad idea for existing properties either.
It is equally critical to create a comprehensive checklist of all appliances that are connected to the sewer lines. This includes everything from bathtubs to garbage disposal units and should additionally extend to the pipework. Good organization will allow you to plan annual maintenance while also accelerating the fault-finding processes should they surface.
Analyzing all parts of your plumbing systems, including under the sinks, enables you to spot minor cracks and fragilities before they turn into plumbing emergencies. Try to embrace the habit of making a report and tracking any noticeable changes every six months as a part of your overall sewer line preventative maintenance plans. It will establish the strongest platform for continued success.
Blocked drains and sewer lines are the root cause of many plumbing issues. When the blockage is caught near the appliance, removing and clearing the u-bend often fixes the problem. However, blockages can occur at any point within the system. Therefore, reducing the threat of unnecessary obstructions is one of the smartest things you can do as a part of your sewer line maintenance. It requires a continued commitment from the entire household.
Some of the most frequently caught items include; wet wipes, human hair, food debris, grease and fats, paper towels, cotton, and coffee grounds. We are all capable of letting the occasional item slip through the proverbial net, but you cannot afford to let this become a frequent issue. Habitual upgrades can be further supported by the use of hair catchers that are placed in the shower or bathtub.
It’s inevitable that the kitchen and bathroom plumbing faucets will still collect some debris. Consequently, then, using chemical drain cleaners on a monthly (or fortnightly for busy homes) basis can keep the pipes clear from obstructions. A drain snake can also be utilized quarterly or whenever the early symptoms of a blockage surface. In turn, waste liquids should flow from the home with ease.
Every homeowner or business owner will be forced to take immediate action when major leaks occur. By taking proactive steps and putting sewer line maintenance plans in place, you can stop the situations from ever reaching those moments. Given that even a leaking tap that produces one drop per second could waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, staying on top of the situation is vital for your finances and environment, even if the pipes aren’t at risk of escalating damage.
Leaks in the sewer line pipework could potentially cause far worse problems, including damage to the property as well as your family’s health. Symptoms to consider include; lost boiler pressure, dripping noises, damp patches or streaks, smells or mold growth, and rising water bills. Monitor your water meter for a few hours when you purposely won’t use the facilities. If it increases, you have a leak.
When a leak has been identified, you must act fast. This aspect of sewer line maintenance could cover DIY or professional repairs. Depending on the nature, it may be as simple as replacing a washer or bolt. However, corroded parts, for example, will need to be replaced. Some leaks won’t be visible until they become far worse, which is why periodic leak detection services are a smart addition to your strategies.
As already noted, the best way to prevent blockages and related issues is to make an ongoing effort. However, simply watching what you put down the sink or toilet won’t be enough. Most problems are caused by an accumulation of foreign materials rather than those from a single usage. The notable exception is if you’ve flushed cleaning wipes down the toilet, which can clog the pipes. Blockages can often be dislodged by plunging, but prevention is still the best approach.
“A stitch in time really does save nine.” A strong daily sewer line preventative maintenance strategy should include several steps. Run boiling water down the sink after each time you’ve washed up, with baking soda when you feel some food or hair has escaped. Use an automated toilet bleach capsule to aid each flush. And empty food garbage disposals.
Aside from daily habits, you should consider using dishwasher and washing machine tablets every few uses. Essentially, when the sewer lines are protected from the source, there is a far smaller threat of problems occurring. Besides, if minor issues surface in spite of these winning habits, you’ll know that an investigation is required.
When the plumbing systems inside the property are in good health, you may assume that you have nothing to worry about. However, the fact that sewer lines under your backyard are out of sight cannot be an excuse to keep them out of mind. Your drain system knowledge should extend to where the sewer lines run once they exit the building itself. This allows you to detect any alterations and potential sources of danger, such as growing tree roots or excavation that could hit the pipes.
Tree root clogs can cause a wide range of symptoms, including but not limited to; frequent toilet backups, frequent clogs, slow flow draining, gurgling and banging sounds, water pressure drops, puddling in the backyard, bad smells, and increased water bills. Many of those symptoms can be caused by internal issues. Still, if sewer lines inside the home are all good, this is a likely source.
When you know the positioning of your sewer lines, you can make more calculated decisions regarding the types of trees you wish to plant. Avoiding oaks and trees with aggressive root systems is advised. In addition to keeping roots distanced from sewer lines, it’s important to keep them well-fed and fertilized to stop them from seeking nutrients elsewhere. This can be supported by replacing pipes that are 20+ years old.
Undersoil sewer lines and pipes aren’t the only key external attribute that must be kept in good health. Cleanouts are a common feature found just outside the property and have direct access to your sewer line. Foul smells are the most common indication that there is a problem with this part of the sewage system, as they show that waste is not effectively carried away from the building. Signs of leaks and overflowing pipes should be noted too.
If you’re unsure what they are, cleanouts are pipes that protrude just a few inches up from the ground and will feature a cap (usually made from plastic) to prevent debris from entering them. When in good health, they should be filled almost to the top with water. Meanwhile, the cap should be tightly fitted to prevent critters from intruding.
Maintenance is often limited to checking the cleanout on a bi-monthly basis and pouring a little bleach down the pipe if required before confirming that the cap is tightly fixed. If smells occur within a matter of days, you will need to investigate this issue. Frequent overflowing could signal a blockage further down the line and should not be ignored.
Even with the right precautionary measures in place, the reality of the situation is that the plumbing and sewer lines will probably require a professional touch at least once every few years. After all, you cannot prevent all debris, which can lead to an accumulation of small blockages over time. Likewise, wear and tear (or external forces) may cause leaks and other forms of damage that require repair work rather than simple maintenance. Teaming up with a reliable plumbing company, like ours, is vital.
When your DIY sewer line preventative maintenance doesn’t quite work, quick responses are essential for localizing the damage and restoring the plumbing systems to full health. Unfortunately, any attempts to diagnose and fix the faults without an expert touch could cause more damage than good due to overlooking additional problems or completing a short-term fix that leads to long-term danger.
Most importantly, though, periodic servicing will ensure that all features of the plumbing service and sewer lines operate at optimal performance levels for years to come. Above all else, it provides the peace of mind you deserve, while Schuelke’s team of passionate and caring plumbers can also offer tailored advice on how to maximize the condition of your home’s sewer lines.
To find out more, get in touch today.