Wondering When To Clean Your Sewer? These Tips May Help

by Grace Motley

If you've recently suffered through the nightmare of a clogged sewer drain, you may be wondering how often you should have your sewer cleaned to prevent problems in the future. There's no set answer to that, because several factors come into play. Here's what you need to consider.

Age Of Your Plumbing

If you live in an old house with its original plumbing, you can expect more frequent problems as the pipes get older. You may want to have your sewer cleaned out with water jets every few years just to keep the buildup washed away. In addition to clogs caused by what goes down the drains, your lines can get clogged with substances that form from hard water or from decay of your lines. Therefore, keeping them clean can help prevent clogs. If your house was recently built, then you may not even need to have routine cleaning unless tree roots have managed to get inside your pipes.

Invasion Of Tree Roots

Tree roots can be an ongoing problem. Once roots find their way in, you can have them chopped up and washed out, but they will usually come back. If they've made a tiny crack or hole in your pipe, the only way to keep them out is to replace the pipe, which is an expensive repair. A less costly option could be to have your sewer cleaned out every few years when you see signs the roots are back, such as drains that are slow to empty.

Sagging Pipe

If you have a problem with sewer clogs every once in awhile, the problem could be due to a sagging pipe. This happens when part of the soil under the pipe compacts or sinks down. This creates a small bow in the pipe that allows debris to build up and form a clog when the conditions are just right. A plumber can send a camera into your pipe to see if that's your problem. The best way to clean out the clog is to push it through with a water jet. However, the problem may come back if you don't have the pipe straightened. Since you may be able to go several months between clogs, you may prefer to have your sewer cleaned periodically, by a company like Total Enviro Services Inc, rather than dig up and repair the pipe.

Heavy Use

If you have several people living in your house, and they are hard on your plumbing, then you can expect to have clogs more often. Kids in particular may not be very careful about what they pour down the drain. Plus, grease from pots, pans, and dishes makes it's way into your drains along with hair from the shower and tub. It doesn't hurt your pipes to have them cleaned out, so having the procedure done every few years might be worth it if you can prevent clogs from hair and grease accumulation.

You may decide it's best to wait until you notice problems rather than spend money on routine cleanings, and that's okay too. However, you want to be alert to the signs of a clogging sewer, so you can get it cleaned out before sewage backs up into your tub and your drains stop flowing completely.