If you've heard the gurgling in your toilet after flushing, watched the water slowly drain from your bathtub or sinks, or found water still in the bottom of your washing machine, you could have a problem with a clogged sewer. That clog can end up causing a backup in your drains, which could eventually lead to a really big (and disgusting) mess and the need for sewer repair. This is not something you want to have happen to you. See below for tips on how to handle the situation.
Why It Happens
Your drains clog due to a number of reasons. It could be from thick toilet paper being flushed (or things that shouldn't be flushed down your toilet); flushable wipes can also clog your toilet, especially if you have a sensitive system. Your drains can clog from cleaning paintbrushes in your sink, pouring oil down the drain, or not using a drain stopper in your kitchen, allowing food particles to fall down your drain. Another reason for clogging can be from roots growing through your sewer pipes. This can be a big problem, which if not taken care of may lead to pipes needing to be replaced outside the home.
What You Can Do
Try your best to clean out clogs as soon as you notice them. If your kitchen sink is not draining properly, use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to unclog it. For toilets, plunge to remove clogs; but if they are still clogged, you should use a rooting tool to get to the bottom of the clog. Using the rooting tool may damage your toilet, so you should use a cleanout outside of your home if you can. The cleanout will enable you to get further out into the drain. The rooting tool can eat through (and pull out) toilet paper, flushable wipes, roots, and all kinds of items. You can rent a rooting tool from your local tool rental shop or hire a plumbing company to help you with this task, as it can get pretty messy.
How To Prevent It
Preventing sewer backups is key. If you have a lot of trees in your yard, it's in your best interest to flush root killing granules down your toilet monthly. Stop using flushable wipes, or place them into the garbage can instead, and stick with one-ply toilet paper, rather than two-ply. Be sure to always use the drain stopper in your kitchen sink (and all of your sinks). Clean out drains in bathrooms often to get rid of hair and soap scum that can cause clogs. Never pour grease down your drain, and clean paintbrushes with mineral spirits, not in your sink.
Prevention is always key, but things happen. Be sure to remove clogs as soon as you notice them, and call in a professional plumber when you're in over your head to prevent a sewer backup in your home.