As a homeowner, you’re responsible for the working order of your sewer laterals (the pipes that connect your home to the main sewer) in the same way septic tank owners are accountable for their private home sewage treatment systems. By taking simple maintenance steps, you can avoid the possibilities of sewer backflows, tree root intrusions and poorly functioning drainage systems. To keep your plumbing system operating trouble-free, consider the following tips:
• Don’t rinse cooking fats and grease in your kitchen sink. Instead, wipe them off or collect them in a tin and throw them away.
• Don’t flush non-dissolvable waste down the toilet. Throw away solid waste such as wet towels, diapers and hygiene products.
• To avoid tree root intrusion, don’t plant trees and plants with spreading roots near sewer laterals.
• Conduct weekly drain cleaning maintenance to keep your drains flowing freely. Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Wait a few minutes before rinsing the mixture with boiling water.
• Install sewer backflow devices (SBDs) to avoid the backflow of contaminants into your home’s drinking water.
• Have a professional plumber conduct periodic sewer line inspections to rule out or fix major obstructions.
If you start smelling sewage or notice wet patches in your yard, your sewer line probably needs to be replaced. Replacing a sewer line can be expensive, so before you commit to any work, it’s important to determine if your pipes can be repaired instead. The best way to establish the condition of your sewer line is to have a professional plumber run a camera through it, but there are a few basic things you can look for that can help you decide between repair and replacement.
Repair your sewer pipe if…
• It’s reasonably accessible
• It’s sized properly for the occupants of your home
• It has a reasonable life expectancy for the cost of the repair
Replace your sewer pipe if…
• It’s undersized for the occupants living in your home
• It’s bellied, collapsed, deformed or deteriorated
• It’s beyond the life span of the existing pipe
• You desire a worry-free solution to your sewer issue