Last month we talked about how plumbers can fix sewer backups and get your plumbing back on track. Before that, we talked about what to do when a backup. Well, this time we want to talk about how you can prevent sewer backups in the first place! Think of it as a New Year’s Resolution from Economy Plumbing Services: avoid a sewer backup, prevent them!
Sometimes a sewer system is just poorly designed at the municipal level. There’s not much you can do in that case to prevent a backup, but we got a few other tips that are totally within your power!
How to Prevent Sewer Backups
Update Old Sewer Lines
The older the sewer lines the more likely you are to run into a problem. While there’s no guarantee when and where they might collapse on you, the older they are the higher and higher risk you run for a pretty terrible nightmare. In prior decades plumbers would install cast iron or clay pipes. Both materials are much more brittle than the modern plastic piping available. Tree roots can easily infiltrate and breakthrough these types of pipes, and the shifting of the soil can crack the pipes no problem.
If you have old pipes or suspect you might, look into getting them replaced earlier rather than later. It’s just as expensive but when you do it on your schedule you won’t have to deal with an emergency when your plumbing breaks down entirely.
Dispose of Waste Properly
Want to know the best way to prevent a sewer backup in the first place? Know what you can and can’t dispose of down the drain safely. This will help you prevent clogs in any sink/drain as well as clogs developing further down the line and creating a sewer backup!
One of the biggest culprits for clogs is grease. DO NOT pour any grease down a drain, ever! Grease and oils flow when they’re in a liquid form but as it cools and solidifies it turns into a slow, thick sludge that will cling to the sides of the pipes and help other waste find a foothold on its way out the pipe.
Toilets and drains are not trash cans. The only things that should be flushed are waste and toilet paper. Not baby wipes, not feminine products, not diapers nothing but toilet paper. Even products branded as ‘flushable’ rarely are.
Get to the Root of the Problem (Tree Root that is)
Tree roots are one of the most common enemies of a working, stable plumbing system. Tree roots naturally grow out through the soil searching for water to help the tree grow. Often that means seeking their way towards the pipes running from your house to the city sewer system. When the roots find this ready source of water they’ll grow along the pipe til they find a joint and start growing into the pipe, bursting the pipe or growing inside and causing a full blockage.
Prevent this from occurring in the first place in a few ways. For one, newer pipes have a smoother plastic material that encourages roots to grow around rather than through. You can also move trees from around your pipes, cut the roots up, or sow with salt along the pipes to prevent tree roots from growing near them in the first place. This final option is pretty intense and usually best served by doing it at the start, when the pipes are first installed.
Following these steps will prevent a clog from developing in your pipes, and with clogs not developing you won’t have to worry as much about a full-blown sewer backup. And that’s the peace of mind we all want!
Have plumbing troubles already? Give Economy a call!