If you do not have a septic system attached to your home, then you have a waste system that utilizes a sewer line. Sewer lines are wide and between four and six inches in diameter in most cases. The diameter of the sewer line helps to keep waste moving through the pipe. However, clogs can still occur, and it is wise to invest in a sewer cleaning about once a year to make sure that a clog does not develop. There are a few things that you can do to make sure this cleaning is as effective as possible.
Identify Sewer Line Materials
A variety of different sewer cleaning tools can be used to clear away debris from inside your sewer line. Some tools can be more effective than others, depending on the type of materials that make up the sewer line. Sewer lines may be made out of clay, concrete, steel, PVC, polyethylene, or fiberglass. If your home was constructed between the 1950s and 1970s, then a clay, fiberglass, or stainless steel sewer line is likely installed on your property. If your house has been built within the last 20 years or so, then a PVC sewer line is likely.
Unless you know which type of sewer pipe was installed, you will need to have the line inspected to find out which type is on your property. Make arrangements with your sewer professional, someone like Total Enviro Services Inc, to complete a video inspection with a fiber optic borescope to identify the sewer line material. Once the line is identified, you should schedule a cleaning with a motorized auger tool fitted with a cutting end if the pipe is clay. Clay sewer lines will have a variety of joints that tree roots can break through. The cutting tool will help to trim the roots away so they cannot clog the line.
If the sewer line is a PVC or fiberglass one, then roots likely will not be an issue. A cleaning with a high pressure water jet will work well for these types of pipes. If the sewer line is a steel one, then the pipe will need to be investigated further. These sewer lines can build with rust and corrosion. This corrosion can be removed with a water jet device. However, corrosion can weaken the pipe joints and allow roots to move through them. In this case, a motorized auger is needed.
Perform Your Own Cleaning
A professional cleaning will remove all of the debris that has accumulated on the insides of the sewer line. Some hardened debris may be difficult to remove though. You can make the waste easier to release by using a cleaning chemical at home that can loosen and release some of the matter in between professional sewer cleanings. Since a sewer cleaning should be completed about once a year, consider adding cleaning chemicals to your sewer cleanout about once every six months. This cleanout is a small pipe that connects to your sewer line, and it typically sits close to your house outside the home. A small cap sits on top of the cleanout pipe for easy access.
For the most effective cleaning, purchase a foam drain cleaning solution. When the chemical is placed in your cleanout, the foam expands as it moves down the sewer line. The expanding foam continues to move down the sewer, and it scrapes debris from the sides of the pipe as it moves out to the main line connected at the street.
If tree roots have recently been removed from the sewage line, then skip the foaming cleaner and purchase some copper sulfate crystals from your local home store. Add about one cup of the crystals to the cleanout pipe. The chemical will move through the sewer and eat away at any tree roots that have started to grow through the pipe joints.