Plumbing Advice: Home Sewer Maintenance

Because your sewer system is primarily underground, figuring out that you have sewer trouble is sometimes easier said than done. Waiting for ‘the obvious’ in this case is a disaster and something we all want to avoid. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep your sewer in working order, as well as a few signs to look for that may indicate sewer problems.

Simple Home Sewer Maintenance

Start with keeping an eye on your sewer lines – and what you put in them! Remember, sewer lines are made to dispose of toilet paper, waste water and human waste. Diapers, sanitary napkins, paper wrapping, etc. should all be disposed of in the garbage – even if the packaging says it is safe for flushing. Eliminating ‘anything but’ will keep your sewer in good shape for years to come.

Garbage Disposals: Tips and What To Avoid

If you use a garbage disposal, run hot water through your disposal for a few minutes before and after you grind your foods to help fatty products move through. And of course, grind only food items which are supposed to go into a garbage disposal. It is best to avoid onion peels, corn husks, celery, artichokes, and other fibrous foods in your garbage disposal when possible, and never pour cooking grease down the drain. Occasionally ‘purging’ your garbage disposal line by filling the sink with water then unplugging the drain can help flush debris from the pipes. It is also suggested to use a little borax from time to time to clean your garbage disposal without corroding the pipes or blades.

Careful Where You Plant

Something you have virtually no control over, but which you can keep an eye out for, are tree and shrub roots invading your sewer line. To determine if you have a possible root problem with your sewer line, listen for an odd gurgling in the pipes or (even worse) watch for black water oozing up from the sink or bath and even the laundry. This usually indicates a clog in the pipes that will need to be inspected and could indicate root invasion. When planting new shrubs, bushes, and trees be sure to place them away from exterior sewer lines to avoid future problems.

Even with your sewer lines residing primarily underground, you can keep your sewage system in working order with a little TLC and being conscious of what you put into your sewer lines. If it’s not supposed to be there, don’t put it there.

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