Why Sewer Drains Clog And Two Ways To Fix The Problem

A clogged sewer line is a big problem since it affects the drains and toilets in your home. When it's blocked completely, you could have a plumbing disaster to deal with if someone uses a toilet or takes a shower. In some cases, sewage might even back up into your house and overflow onto the floor or ooze into your tub. This problem can be avoided by having your sewer line cleaned out when it first shows signs of slow movement. Here's why your sewer pipe is vulnerable to clogs and your options for having it cleaned.

Why Sewer Clogs Happen

The sewer pipe is exposed to all kinds of threats since your bathrooms and kitchen empty into it. Food bits, grease, hair, lint from a washer, soap scum, garbage disposal waste, and toilet paper all float through the pipe. When you add in things like wet wipes, cigarette butts, and kitty litter, there's a potential for a serious clog to develop.

Even if you're careful about what you put in your drains, the sewer pipe can clog off due to corrosion, scale buildup, root invasion, or collapse. Clogs can happen instantly or they can build gradually as debris clings to the sides of the pipe. As the clog gets bigger, your drain is slower to empty since it's harder for waste to pass through.

How To Clean A Sewer Pipe

A sewer pipe is cleaned by hydro jetting or snaking. The sewer is usually accessed through a cleanout portal outside your house. The first step is to make sure the clog is actually in the sewer and not in a drain that leads from the kitchen sink or a toilet. If all your drains empty fine except for the kitchen sink, then you can narrow the clog down to the kitchen. If all your drains are slow, the sewer pipe is probably to blame.

You can rent a pipe snake to clear the drain if you know how to use the equipment, but hiring a plumber could be the best choice. A plumbing company, such as Two Men and a Snake, might use a pipe camera first to see what's clogging the pipe and to determine the condition of the pipe. If the pipe is corroded or cracked, you need to proceed carefully when it's cleaned. Hydro jetting might not be the best option for a weak pipe since it could cause damage. When the plumber knows what's going on in the pipe through a video camera, then it's much safer to proceed with the work.

Both snaking and hydro jetting clear a drain, but each acts in a different way. Hydro jetting uses a blast of water to clean the sides of the drain and push the clog through. Snaking punches a hole in the clog so water can flow through normally, but there's still a possibility that some of the clog—especially if it's roots or scale buildup—will remain on the sides of the pipe or in the seams. Snaking usually costs less though, so it could be your preferred option. Your plumber can help you decide on the right way to clean the sewer so your clogging problem is over.