A main sewer clog is arguably one of the worst things that could happen to a homeowner. If left long enough, sewage could end up flooding your backyard, which is unpleasant to say the very least. Knowing the early signs of a clogged sewer could potentially save you thousands of dollars and perhaps even your sanity.
How to Diagnose a Clog
When attempting to diagnose a main sewer line clog, the first sign is generally a combination of sight and sound. Your drains, including the sinks, shower, or toilet, will begin to back up with water and the drains will gurgle and basically tell you something is going on. If you flush the toilet and it still sounds as if it's bubbling, it's trying to let you know there's an issue. Be sure to check multiple drains in different sections of the house, just to be sure it's not an isolated issue.
What is Causing Your Main Sewer Line to Clog?
Chances are, it's probably tree roots, especially if you have an older home. The tree roots are attracted to the warmth and moisture of the sewer line. Once a feeler root finds a crack, it overindulges in the nutrients provided, thus causing the water to no longer flow properly. In modern homes, the main culprits are feminine hygiene products, paper towels, baby wipes, and even thicker types of toilet paper.
How to Unclog the Line
Once the main line clog has been discovered, easing the pressure off the lines is paramount. To do this, many homes have a sewer cleanout line located within the yard or the house. The cleanout line is a white pipe with a rubber cap which is removed to allow the water to escape from this pipe instead of the main line.
After that, however, it is best to call a professional. First, ask for a routine cleaning or clean out. This generally is the most cost effective way to fix the clog. Beyond that, they can actually use a camera to snake down the drain and find the problem. If roots are the main cause of concern, the plumbers are able to shock the roots with a chemical to kill them and eventually, they will wash away. It is important to try clearing the drain before using a camera simply because it will cost more and could be useless.
A helpful hint for preventing a main line clog is to fill up your sinks as much as you can, then drain them. This extra flush of water can help push debris and fragile feeler roots away, maintaining a smooth line. Of course, using a monthly chemical treatment can also help keep debris away.
Keeping your sewer line free and clear is an important part of maintaining your home. While many home improvements do not require specialized equipment other than small tools, plumbing is very different. An expert is usually needed, especially in something as drastic as your main sewer line being clogged with tree roots. Knowing the precursors, however, should help you identify the problem and take action before it becomes a mess in your backyard.
For more information, contact a professional like Earthservice Drainmaster Inc.