Keeping up with your home’s plumbing can be frustrating, especially when you’re not sure where and what the problem is. With plumbing, it can be tricky because it can either be a problem with a particular drain, a water valve, the water heater, or your sewer line. If it’s hard to track potential problems, it’s even harder to keep up with the uptake. Clogged and broken pipes can lead to water and other structural damage. Mold, sinkholes, and corroded pipes are all terrible results from untreated plumbing. Luckily, there are several ways you, the homeowner, can prevent yourself, your home, and your wallet from serious damage.
Warning Signs of Clogged or Broken Sewer Line
When the issue is inside your walls, it can be tricky knowing where to look. Thankfully, the warning signs for clogged plumbing are hard to miss. If you think you have damaged plumbing, it’s important you contact a plumber right away. A professional plumber will know what to look for and diagnose the problem quickly and safely. Here are a few indicators that your sewer line is clogged or damaged.
- High water bills. If you notice your water bills are higher than usual, that could mean you have a leak somewhere, and the additional water running from that is an unwanted cost.
- Foul odors. Fungi like mold and mildew grow from moisture and emit a musty smell. If you think you smell mold, contact a plumber immediately. Funky smells can also leak from your drains, which indicate an issue with your drainage system.
- Persistent clogging. If you’re constantly unclogging a sink or toilet, even after you cleaned them, there might be something wrong with your sewer line.
- Low water pressure. If your showers have been sub-par lately, despite recently installing that amazing new and powerful showerhead, it’s possible there’s a leak or clog somewhere in your plumbing.
Clearing the Drain
Clearing your drain is the fast solution, and occasionally all homeowners end up using a chemical drain cleaner. It’s important to understand the distinction between clearing your drain versus cleaning your drain, as clearing your drain involves removing an obstruction, such as a toy or some grease, inside the piping. Chemical drain cleaners are good for a quick unclogging, in the sense that they clear out a section large enough for water and waste to flow through. However, chemical drain cleaners are toxic and they’ll eat away at your pipes over time, possibly even leeching into your yard if there’s something wrong with your sewer line. A plumbing snake can be good for minor clogs, such as removing a foreign object that’s stuck somewhere inside the piping. Plumbers can use a plumbing snake as a way to identify bigger issues such as tree roots. Clearing your pipes can be a quick and cheaper solution, but if there’s a lot of buildup inside your sewer line, the better solution would be to clean your drains.
When It’s Time to Clean the Drain
Cleaning your drains is the most effective solution, as a routine cleaning can prevent clogged or corroded plumbing for longer periods of time. Over time, a lot of food, grease, soap, hair, and sludge can accumulate and build up inside your sewer line. It’s hard to completely prevent what goes down your drain. You can, however, do quite a lot to not only keep your plumbing clean but prevent expensive damages. Here’s what you can do.
- Monitor your sinks and toilets. One of the easiest ways to prevent clogged sewage lines is to avoid putting things such as food and other unwanted objects down the drain in the first place. Garbage disposals are great, but they aren’t designed to handle everything. Make sure to scrape your plates thoroughly before rinsing them. Leaving the toilet lid closed is a good way to prevent things from incidentally falling down the drain.
- Use tub strainers. Placing a strainer inside every shower stall and the bathtub is a good way to prevent hair from building up inside your sewer line. Make sure to routinely clean each strainer out.
- Clean your showers and tubs frequently. Besides hair, soap scum is another culprit for clogged sewage. Make sure to thoroughly clean the walls inside your shower stall and the inside of your tub, as a lot of soap scum can accumulate over time.
- Hydro-Jetting. One of the most effective ways to clean your drains is to hire a plumber to hydro-jet your sewer line. The process involves using a hose that blasts high-pressure water, thoroughly cleaning the inside of a pipe and eliminating any debris. Hydro-jetting is not only a non-toxic way to clean your drains, it’s good for removing trickier substances like oil and grease and can remove any potential tree roots poking inside.
Make Your Drains a Priority
Repairing and replacing plumbing can cost thousands of dollars. No homeowner wants to spend that kind of money if they can avoid it. Trying to fix the plumbing yourself, can wind up being just as costly if you don’t know what you’re doing.
If you think there’s something wrong with your sewer line, don’t hesitate, contact a Riley Plumbing and Heating today!