Cleaning out a sewer line is a tough job, but you can always count on professional trenchless pipe lining to address the problem. This means a certified trenchless sewer repair specialist will come to your property to reline your old pipes with an epoxy liner. Once this cures in place, it is as if you have new pipes.
However, if the problem is not too serious, you can ask them to do a thorough cleaning with specialized equipment. They can snake your sewer pipes with powerful debris-removing tools so that your sewer line runs free. They use abrasive cutters and powerful hydro jet to cleanse the interior walls of your sewer pipes.
Notably, this only cleans sediments and debris. It does not fix any existing cracks or breaks, which result in leaks. After this procedure, it is up to you to keep your lines free from debris sedimentation. Failure to maintain your sewer lines means incurring hefty plumbing bills because you will always need professional cleaning.
Why Perform Regular Sewer Cleaning?
Imagine all the drain lines in your house ends up in your main sewer system. Whether it is a shower drain, toilet, or sink outlet, all these local drains that branch out end up in one area. They are dubbed lateral lines and eventually join the main sewer line running out of your house.
With daily use, imagine the abuse that your drains receive. Typically, you have the following building up as debris in your drainpipes:
- Soap scum
- Shampoo residue
- Dead skin
- Body fluids
- Kitchen grease
The Signs That You Have Sewer Issues
With all the gunk festering in your sewer, it is inevitable to face issues, especially if you do not do regular maintenance. It becomes more troublesome when you have a lot of non-biological elements, like kitchen grease. Unlike natural waste, this takes a long time to break down and can be stubborn, too.
When your sewer needs cleaning, you will KNOW it. These are the red flags that indicate your sewer needs some much-needed TLC:
- Strange gurgling noise in your drain
- The foul smell permeating in your home
- Slow flushing without much pressure
- Back flowing dirty water
Keep in mind, not every scenario requires a plumber. Usually, when you encounter one issue, it means that you have a localized problem that you can deal with on your own. However, if everything acts up simultaneously, that shows you need professional help ASAP, or the problem will escalate.
How to Effectively Clean Your Sewer Line
Plumbers can effectively maintain all the piping and drain systems in your home. For them, drainage cleaning is a breeze. However, a regular homeowner like you may not have any experience with this, so the task may seem daunting and complex.
After all, sewer lines are long and hidden underground. All the water and waste materials you flush down these lines are also not pleasant to deal with. However, you must be vigilant about sewer pipe cleaning and maintenance, so your issues do not exacerbate.
Remember, major sewer line problems will not happen overnight. Usually, you will encounter one issue like a smelly drain or a clogged toilet. When you experience any of these scenarios, you can try a DIY sewer line clean-up.
There are many ways to keep grease and other gunk from building up on your sewer line, assuring you can keep it flowing without professional help. Look at them below:
Try Using an Enzyme Cleaner
An excellent way to easily clean your sewer line is using a store-bought enzyme cleaner. You will notice that these come in a broad range of options. Some enzyme cleaners are for pet stain removal, so read carefully.
Choose an enzyme cleaner that is specifically for cleaning your drain lines. Most hardware stores and plumbing shops will carry this. Buy a high-grade cleaner and follow these tips for the best results:
- Follow Package Instructions: Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions on the package. There are clear instructions on how much water you should add with the enzyme. This will yield the most optimal outcomes.
- Pick a Big Drain: From there, pick a large drain with a big access point where you can easily put the enzyme solution. Most professionals suggest using a basement drain. You can also use your toilet if you do not have a basement.
- Exercise Patience: You must be patient because enzyme cleaners take a long time to work. They rely on a biological reaction, which does not happen instantly. Notably, enzymes are all-natural living bacteria that eat grease and gunk.
- Repeat Treatment: Once you introduce them into your sewer, you need to wait for the cleaner to do its magic. The bacterial will grow and reproduce. You may need to do this every day during the first week of treatment.
From the initial intensive application, you can continue doing this once a month to assure a squeaky-clean line. With regular enzyme maintenance, you will certainly keep your sewer lines fully open and free from grease and gunk.
Do note that you need to snake a backed-up drain first before you introduce the enzymes. From there, you can commence with your monthly maintenance plans. If you are worried, rest assured that these enzymes are all-natural.
They are beneficial to your sewer system. Enzymes are biological; therefore, they are not toxic. They will not destroy your drains and plumbing connections.
Utilize a Drain Snake
You can get yourself your own drain snake. These gadgets are cheap, plus they are not hard to use at all. You can use it for de-clogging minor issues in your home. Here is how:
- All you need to do is insert the snake in the problematic drain line and exert a little effort.
- This tool is an auger or kind of manual drill that you feed into a drain line.
- With a few twists, you can cut and poker your way into a clog.
However, snakes are not a cure-all for your every plumbing issue. They only work on small clogs. A handy snake will help you in keeping your drains clean.
You must be careful when using it so as not to damage your pipes. There is no need for excessive force or any violent movement. Usually, a few twists and turns will do the trick.
Should you encounter a tough problem that your snake cannot “snake” through, then consider calling a professional. Poking the area excessively can lead to holes and cracks in your drain, which would be tougher to fix. You may end up with the more expensive trenchless pipe relining instead of only a professional abrasive cleaning.
Do a Baking Soda and Vinegar Cleanse
Baking soda and vinegar are staples in your kitchen, so you will not have trouble finding these reputed cleaning agents. They are common all-natural cleaning solutions, even for your countertop and floor.
When you mix these two compounds, you will notice a chemical reaction. Often, they will make a bubbly and foamy mixture. When you pour this solution down your drains, the bubbles will help scrape away debris, especially grease that causes clogs.
If you accidentally dump a lot of grease in your sink after cooking, or you are shampooing off an oily hair treatment, you can encounter sluggish drains. Why? Because grease turns super sticky when it cools.
Unfortunately, this sticky mess attracts other debris that is sitting in your pipes. You can also have a lot of grease build-up, which is compounded over time. Fortunately, this cleaning hack is easy and cheap, so you can execute it anytime.
Do a Thorough Water Flush
If the problem you are dealing with is not a block or clog, you can effectively clean your sewer lines by flushing them out with water. When you perform this, you can put drain cleaner into the water to break down the sediments. The best place to execute this is in your toilet because you can dump a lot of water and cleaner in your drain.
However, if you are dealing with a clog, this suggestion will not work. The more you add water to your sewer line, the more it will backup. If there is a lot of water, you can even deal with a potential messy backflow.
Since no one wants to deal with dirty sewer water, analyze the situation you are dealing with first. Ensure you do not have a clog. If you do, you must de-clog first before doing this water and drain cleaner flush.
Preventive Maintenance with Baking Soda
Do not wait for a major catastrophe before you initiate cleaning and maintenance measures. Buy some baking soda in your grocery and put the powder directly into your line every month. This compound is a bit caustic, so it eats away grease particles stuck on your sewer lines.
This powder will also act as a scouring agent, cleansing stubborn debris. This will mitigate any potential major issues. For best results, you can add lemon juice or other citrus-scented cleaners after.
Try a More Potent Washing Soda
If your household has many people with heavy use, you may need to rely on washing soda instead. This stuff is in the laundry section of most stores. If you are not sure, ask a sales associate for help.
Noteworthy, washing soda is more abrasive and corrosive than baking soda. You can use this potent compound once a month. It will also keep your sewer line running clear.
Do not overuse washing soda as this will degrade your PVC pipes when you use it excessively. Though you can use it once a month as a preventive measure, you cannot use it daily.
Improper use will erode your pipes to the point of breakage. Most of all, do not forget to wear protective gloves and a face mask when working with washing soda.
Consider a Specialty Drain Cleaner
Heed this tip with caution. Though abrasive drain cleaners serve a purpose, they are not something you should often use as they can hasten the deterioration of your pipes. However, it would help to flush drain cleaners in your lines quarterly.
When you execute this hack, be sure you do not use excessive amounts of water to make it effective. Pour it in all your drains without any other stuff. These chemical solutions need time to work.
It must sit on your pipes for some time to effectively dissolve any waste, sediments, and debris build-up. Remember, the primary factor that prevents clogs is reducing the debris in your drain lines.
Seek Professional Drain Help
As stated above, plumbers offer the best cleaning solutions for your pipes. However, not all plumbing companies are made equal. Technicians need special abrasive equipment to clean out your main sewer lines.
Hence, you must pick a plumber that offers this specialty service. It means they have the training, knowledge, experience, skills, and tools to get the job done right. It is okay to ask the company about what they intend to do with your pipes and how long the downtime is.
For tougher clogs that you cannot clear with regular cleaning, it means you must take more significant measures. This scenario indicates that you have major damage in your sewer lines like tree root ingress, loose joints, or major breaks.
If you have done preventive maintenance to keep your drains clean, but clogs keep coming back, calling for professional cleaning is key. A pro will come with modern sewer cameras, allowing them to determine what the problems are. Seeking help can save you a lot of stress, energy, and money in the long run.
Special Note: Never use drain cleaner when you have already applied baking soda or washing soda. The chemical composition of each product is contraindicated. This means they will react against each other and not yield positive results.
Final Wrap Up
Most homeowners do not think of their sewer lines. You tend to worry about them when they back up. By the time an issue arises, it can mean a messy clean-up job or paying someone for help.
Remember, cleaning your sewer lines regularly will prevent major problems and reduces clogs. However, if you think that your drain issues are beyond your control, you can call us at San Diego Plumbing & Pipelining. Call us to save yourself time and trouble, as we will gladly deal with disgusting sewer backups.