How to Maintain Your Sewer Lines Free of Clogs

Nothing is more frustrating than having sinks that constantly clog, toilets that overflow, or sewer lines that backup. Whether you are addressing an emergency or looking to avoid a plumbing problem in the future, one of the best ways to manage this is to maintain your sewer lines free of clogs or debris. This is something that is relatively simple for homeowners to take advantage of when they are willing to take the time and make the investment into this home maintenance requirement.

To help you identify how you can maintain your sewer lines free of clogs or debris, take the following steps.

Be Aware of What You Are Disposing

The first step to helping you maintain your sewer lines free of clogs and debris is to be aware of what you are disposing of. Many individuals consider a toilet bowl or bathtub drain as a source of disposal for a variety of liquids or chemicals.

It is important to recognize the items you flush or pour down drains are not simply disposed of but can remain in lines for years. Make sure you are not disposing of non-biodegradable material such as paper towels and utilize showers and toilets for what they are specifically designed for.

Garbage disposals are installed in almost every home. However, not all garbage disposals are alike. Some have powerful grinding motors that can easily handle large volumes of food scraps and shred them into fragments that quickly move through the drain. Less powerful units may jam or incompletely shred the food scraps, which can build up and eventually clog the drain.

If you have a garbage disposal in your home, run plenty of water while operating it and listen to make sure it’s completely finished grinding before you switch it off. If you have an older unit or a unit rated at 1/3 horsepower, you may want to reduce the volume of scraps you put into the drain and probably not use it for disposing of bones and other tough or stringy scraps.

Don’t Pour Grease Down the Sink

Another step you can take to help you maintain your sewer lines is to avoid utilizing chemical cleaners. Harsh chemicals can damage pipes over time which will result in a buildup that is difficult to get rid of.

No matter what kind of disposal you have, you should never pour grease down the sink. That applies to sinks without garbage disposals as well. Grease does not mix with water, so it will cling to the interior walls of the drain pipes.

Pouring detergent or soap down the drain can loosen some of the greases but not all of them. As it builds up, the grease will collect hair, food fragments, and other debris and eventually become a thick clot that backs up the sink that will require kitchen plumbing maintenance.

Bacon grease is an obvious culprit, but every meat releases a small amount of grease when it cooks. When preparing a meal, if you must pour liquid that might contain grease down the sink, follow it with plenty of hot water and dish detergent. The detergent will help flush away the grease before it builds up.

 When you have a clog that needs to be addressed, instead of purchasing a bottle of chemicals that can do damage to your plumbing, contact a professional plumber to have it removed and the pipe properly cleaned.

Other Causes

Even without a grease buildup, hair can clog up a sink, particularly when it collects in the trap, which is the U-shaped curve of the drain pipe. Hair makes its way into the sink from washing and cleaning chores. Mopping the floor picks up loose hair.

When the cleaning bucket is dumped down the sink, the hair can accumulate in the trap. Buckets of dirty water from cleaning chores should be dumped down the toilet, which has a much larger diameter drain pipe.

Soap, particularly from a bar of soap and other detergents, can clog a drain if they are allowed to accumulate. A bar of soap left in the sink can slowly ooze soap into the drain, causing a buildup that will grab hair and other debris. If dish detergent or other detergent is accidentally spilled into the sink, wash it away with plenty of hot water.

Never pour paint or solvents down the sink or toilet. They don’t mix with water, will leach through septic systems, and cannot easily be removed by municipal waste treatment plants. They can also build up inside your home’s waste pipes.

Take Advantage of Annual Cleaning

The final step is to take advantage of annual cleanings to maintain your pipes to avoid clogs and debris. Pipes need to be cleaned on a regular basis because they will build up different elements that can limit the functionality of the pipes and eventually cause damage. Annual cleanings are a smart investment to protect your home and maintain the positive condition of your pipes and sewer lines.

Worked in IT for 10 years, specialising in computer measurement, resource and performance management and complex problem solving. Changed careers to HVACr in 2015.

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