Your home’s drains and sewage system serve an important role, which is why you should always take steps to protect them and ensure your drain and sewage system continue to function properly. Clogged drains or a clog in your main sewer line can be a serious issue. If left unchecked, a major clog could lead to a pipe rupturing or sewage starting to back up inside your home and overflowing out of floor drains and other plumbing fixtures. Being careful about what you put down your drains or flush down your toilets is the easiest way to prevent clogs and other drain or sewer issues. However, we would also recommend having your drains cleaned at least once every year for reasons we’ll now take a look at.
Benefits of Having Your Drains Cleaned Annually
Even if your drains are working properly and there are no issues, an annual drain cleaning service can be a great investment. If you never have your drains cleaned, it is almost inevitable that you’ll eventually have to deal with clogs or other issues.
No matter how careful you are, some fat, oil, grease, and food particles will always end up going down the drain. Fat, oil, and grease are by far the most common causes of clogged drains and sewer line clogs. Even if you attempt to wash fat or grease down the sink with lots of hot water, it will still solidify and harden as it moves through your pipes.
As the fat or grease solidifies, it will usually end up sticking to the inside of the drain line or get stuck in your main sewer line. This starts to create a sticky fat blob that continues to build over time. When food particles or other solids go down the drains or toilets, they will get stuck in the fat blob and slowly start to clog the pipe. Soap scum and even the oils from your skin and hair can start to build up inside your drains and pipes, too, and eventually lead to the same issues.
These issues are why annual drain cleaning is so important. There really isn’t much you can do to prevent crud from building inside your pipes, but having your drains professionally cleaned will remove any built-up matter. Removing buildups can help reduce the risks of clogging. In this way, drain cleaning can also help lower the risks of sewage backups, which is important as a sewage backup can cause serious water damage.
Having your drains cleaned annually can also reduce the risk of major repairs or needing to have your sewer line replaced. As a result, drain cleaning can potentially save you lots of money in the long run. An annual drain cleaning service is far cheaper than having to pay for sewer line repairs or replacement.
Drain cleaning is also important for preventing odors and keeping your drains smelling clean. If you don’t have your drains cleaned regularly, bacteria will start to grow in the drains and pipes and lead to nasty odors every time you use your drains.
Whenever you have your drains cleaned, we recommend having a camera inspection performed on your main sewer line. Camera inspections are important as they can identify issues, such as leaks or tree roots growing inside the sewer line. These issues can typically be fixed without much of a problem if caught early enough. If left unchecked, they could lead to the sewer line breaking or becoming so clogged with roots that your only real option is to dig up your yard and have the entire sewer line replaced.
Signs That You Need to Have Your Drains Cleaned
While annual drain cleaning is definitely important, there still may be times when you have a major clog that needs to be taken care of by a plumber. This is especially true if you have younger children in the home as kids are notorious for flushing all sorts of things or stuffing things down the drain.
Whenever you’re dealing with a drain that is completely clogged, we recommend trying to clear the clog with a sink or toilet plunger and never using any type of chemical drain cleaner. Chemical drain cleaners can be effective at clearing more minor clogs, but the chemicals they contain are harsh enough that they can also severely weaken or damage your pipes and lead to major leaks. For this reason, we always recommend contacting a professional drain cleaning service if you’re unable to clear the clog with a plunger.
A major clog or complete blockage will be obvious as water won’t drain at all. However, most clogs develop and worsen over time. As a result, there will usually be some fairly tell-tale signs that indicate when a drain or your main sewer line is beginning to clog. Things to watch out for include drains that are suddenly much slower or bubbling or gurgling noises coming from the drains every time you use them.
If these issues only occur in one drain or in one room or part of the home, you can be fairly certain that one of the drain lines inside your home is starting to clog. If all of your drains, toilets, and plumbing fixtures are affected, it indicates that you need to have the main sewer line outside the home cleaned. Sewage backups are also a sure sign that your main sewer line is clogged and needs to be cleaned.
Ways to Prevent Drain and Sewage Issues
Again, the best way to prevent drain and sewer issues is to make sure you’re always careful about what you flush down the toilet. Things like “flushable” wipes, diapers, feminine hygiene products, and even tissues and paper towels should never go down the toilet. These items don’t break down easily and can quickly cause a serious clog.
In truth, the only things that should ever go into the toilet are toilet paper and human waste. Flushing any other solids down the toilet is always a bad idea as they can easily get stuck inside the pipe and lead to a clog. Using sink strainers in your kitchen, bathroom sinks, showers, and bathtubs can also be a huge help in preventing clogged drains and pipes. The strainer will trap any hair, food particles, or other solid materials to ensure they don’t go down the drain and potentially cause a clog.
Cleaning your drains every month or so on your own can also be a huge help. The best and easiest way to do this is to pour a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of white vinegar. You should then put the plug in the drain and let the baking soda and vinegar mixture sit inside the pipe for around 30 minutes. This will help to loosen up any fat or other materials stuck inside the pipe. You will then want to flush the drain with a gallon or two of hot water to help fully clean out the pipe and wash everything away. If you do this every month, you can help prevent clogs and also keep your drains from smelling.
At Bill Metzger Plumbing, we specialize in professional drain cleaning services as well as drain and sewer line repairs and replacement. We can also take care of any of your water heater or water treatment needs. We provide residential plumbing services in San Clemente and the Orange County area. For more information or to schedule a drain cleaning service, contact us today.