Having your sewer lines professionally cleaned is an important task that can both overcome and prevent clogs, sewage backups, and other issues. Performing this cleaning is obviously necessary when dealing with a blockage. However, most experts also recommend that you have your home’s sewer line cleaned at least once a year as a preventative maintenance measure that will help to avert most sewer issues and ensure your home’s plumbing continues to function as it should. To understand why annual sewer line cleaning is so important, here’s a full overview of the benefits it can provide as well as which options are most effective and how to know when your sewer line needs this service.
Benefits of Annual Sewer Line Cleaning
Even if you’re extremely careful about what you wash down your drains and flush down the toilet, waste matter like fat, grease, paper products, and other solids can still start to collect inside your sewer line. Any fat, oil, and grease that goes down the drain can be especially troublesome as they will almost always solidify as they move through your plumbing system and out into the sewer line beyond your home.
When this happens, the fats can form a sticky coating that clings inside the sewer line and starts to collect other solid materials such as food waste and paper products. This can quickly start to cause issues with slow drains and sewage backups even if your sewer line isn’t completely blocked. Worse yet, it can lead to a severe clog that could potentially cause the sewer line to break and your yard or home to become flooded with raw sewage.
Tree roots are another common issue that can cause major sewer line clogs and sewage backups. Not only that, but roots can also seriously damage the pipes and may lead to sewage starting to seep out into the surrounding soil.
These potential issues are the main reasons why having your sewer lines cleaned every year is such a smart idea. With regular cleaning, you can ensure that your sewer line is free from tree roots, fat, and other solid waste. By doing so, you can greatly reduce the risk of serious clogs and sewage backups. Cleaning can also help prevent damage to your sewer line, which can help you avoid the major expense and hassle of needing to have your line repaired or replaced.
Most Effective Options for Cleaning Sewer Lines
Sewer line cleaning is usually done in one of two ways, either by using a rooting machine or hydro jetting the sewer pipes. Hydro jetting is typically the most effective option, and it works by spraying a powerful blast of water that will wash away any fat and hard water deposits coating the inside of the pipe. It will also flush out any clogs and solid waste. In addition, the jet of water is powerful enough to easily slice through any roots in the sewer line and then flush them down and out into the municipal sewer main. Hydro jetting is completely safe as long as the sewer line is fully intact and still in good shape. However, it should never be used on pipes that are much older and brittle or those that already have significant damage. Then, it could potentially cause the pipe to crack or rupture and start leaking.
If you have an older home that still has original cast iron or clay sewer pipes, rooting is generally the better option as it can be done without risking any damage to the pipes. Rooting is also often the better option when dealing with an extremely large clog because it will typically be more effective than hydro jetting at breaking through the blockage. A rooting machine consists of a large auger that is connected to a long cable. The auger is fed into the sewer line where it then expands so that it completely fills the pipe. As the auger moves through the pipe, it essentially shaves the insides of the pipe clean and also bores through any clogs so that the solid waste can then flow out of the sewer line.
Rooting is also usually the only option if you don’t have sewer cleanouts outside your home. Sewer cleanouts are pipes that stick out of the ground and allow direct access to the sewer line. If your home doesn’t have existing cleanouts, the only way to access the sewer line is either to remove a toilet or go in through the plumbing vent stack on the roof. This obviously makes the process more difficult and time-consuming, which is why we’d always recommend having sewer cleanouts installed if your home doesn’t already have them.
Why Sewer Line Camera Inspections Are Essential
Whenever cleaning a sewer line, it is important to first have a camera inspection performed. One reason is that a camera inspection allows the plumber to know what type of issues they’re dealing with so that they can determine what method will be most effective for completely cleaning the pipes. That being said, the main reason that camera inspections are so important is for ensuring that the sewer line isn’t leaking and doesn’t have any major damage. For instance, if you’re dealing with frequent sewage backups, there is a chance that your sewer line could have ruptured or even completely collapsed. In this case, sewer line cleaning obviously won’t have any effect, and your only option will be to have your sewer line replaced.
Camera inspections are also performed after sewer or drain cleaning to ensure that the pipe is totally clean and that any clogs have been fully removed. This is especially true if you have roots growing inside the pipe. The inspection will first ensure that all of the roots are gone and also help to determine what repair option is best for ensuring that no more roots can get inside the sewer line.
Signs That Your Sewer Line Needs Cleaning
While annual cleaning is always important, there may still be other times when cleaning is required. Having sewage backing up inside your home is an obvious sign that you need to have your sewer line inspected and possibly cleaned, repaired, or replaced.
Another sign is if all of your drains suddenly start draining much more slowly. If only one drain or one part of the home is affected, then the problem is related to one of the pipes inside your home. If all of your drains are slow, you can be certain that the issue lies with your main sewer line.
Bubbling or gurgling sounds coming from all of your drains or from the drain pipes is another indication that you should have your sewer line cleaned. This typically indicates that there is a partial clog in the sewer line. An even more serious issue is if you start smelling a strong sewage odor outside your home. This indicates that your sewer line is leaking and needs to be repaired or replaced.
At Apollo Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, we specialize in all types of sewer line and drain cleaning services including rooting, hydro jetting, and snaking. We also offer professional camera inspections as well as sewer line repair and replacement services. For more information or to schedule any plumbing, cooling, or heating service in the Troutdale, Vancouver, or Nampa areas, give us a call today.