April 03, 2017
Have you ever tried one of those energy-renewing colon cleanse diets? Did you feel better after?
Your sewer and drain components benefit from a good cleanse, too. Your San Diego plumber can be your best friend before major repairs are needed.
While your house won’t dance the night away, you might rest easier knowing you are not at high risk for clogs, sewer backup or overall sewer line repair and replacement issues.
This is all possible with 5 easy steps in drain cleaning that you can do both with and without a plumbing service.
Before we get into the steps, its important to understand the difference between a sewer and septic system. While most modern residential homes are tied into the city sewer system, septic tanks are still common, particularly in more rural areas of San Diego County.
A septic system collects waste from your home (black and gray) and holds it in a large underground collection box, called a septic tank. The tank utilizes natural bacteria and enzymes to break down the waste, liquefying it to then leach out to a field.
A sewer system flushes waste from your house, along with everyone else in the city and is collected at a waste treatment facility to then be disposed of.
Does it matter if I have a septic or sewer system in preventing backup?
Not really. But, a septic tank does require an extra bit of care to make sure that the system is working efficiently and won’t get overloaded when you have holiday guests.
1. Home Waste Management
Septic systems require a balance between bacteria and enzymes to break down the sludge. Old rural methods included tossing a chicken carcass into the septic system to increase ‘good’ bacteria growth.
Dozens of commercial products exist that are much easier to use. Simply flush them down the toilet once a month.
Sewer systems don’t require this much care. But, when things go wrong, sewer repair can be costly. Always inquire about a free estimate.
Both sewer and septic systems require bacterial balance to make sure sludge doesn’t build up where sludge shouldn’t build up.
In a modern, germ-a-phobic world, we actually do a disservice to our sewer and septic systems when we use anti-bacterial soap, bleach cleaners and disinfectants.
Remember when Grandma said, “let the kids play in the dirt. They’ll be healthier?” Grandma would say the same about your sewer system and what you wash down the kitchen sink.
Avoid flushing or draining fats, oils and cleaners. Throw away paper products, produce stickers and feminine hygiene products. These only clog drain systems and cause your toilet or other draining systems to back up.
Instead, put coffee grounds and eggshells in your orchids. Prevent drain problems and nourish your plants at the same time.
When you return from the beaches in La Jolla, rinse the sand from the kids and clothing outside.
At the end of the day, use common sense. Flush what is natural to flush in the toilet. Don’t let grease and fats go down the kitchen drain. This process is the first and in many ways, most important step with drain service and preventing clogs.
2.Tree and Root Maintenance
Tree-lined streets are highly sought after real estate in most markets. However, tree roots are not desirable to your sewer system.
Elm, oak, walnut, and eucalyptus are just a few of the common tree roots invasive to sewer lines. Invasive means they penetrate the pipe, restrict waste flow and lead to sewer backup.
If you are planting trees, consider establishing a barrier. There are two types of barriers, physical and chemical. Physical simply means a metal or wood material between the tree roots and the sewer system.
A chemical barrier takes the same line near the sewer pipes but uses a layer of either copper sulfate or potassium hydroxide to redirect roots away from the sewer system.
Look at the trees on your property, on the city sidewalk and across the street. Some oak trees have very long root systems that will extend across a street or from a distant part of your property.
If you are unsure as to whether a tree is problematic in your Hillcrest home, consider a video camera inspection.
3. Video Camera Inspection
To bring it back to human analogies, yes, this is like a colonoscopy for your home.
A licensed plumber will come to your home, send a camera remotely on a drain snake down your sewer system and look at the health of your pipes.
What can they see?
It’s not as dramatic as you might imagine, unless they hit a clogged section of the system. But they do see the health of the system, from sludge build up and tree roots to leaky joints and holes in pipes.
They can also determine if you need plumbing and drain cleaning because of sludge buildup. They can see those pesky roots penetrating the pipes or perhaps corrosion and cracks in the system.
A camera inspection also helps you note where your lines are so you can plan any landscaping or home improvement without busting into the city sewer lines.
4. Hydro Jet Cleaning
A drain service you should really consider is hydro jet cleaning. It may sound like a jet-ski party (this is San Diego after all). But, hydro jet cleaning is a drain cleaning service that sends a high-pressure wave of water through your sewer pipe sections.
The goal is simple: dislodge anything that is clogging or potentially clogging your sewer line. This includes grease, hair, dirt, sand, tree roots and that baby wipe.
A hydro jet cleaning forgives you for almost all of your sewer misbehaviors.
Your licensed sewer line technicians can advise you on how often your home warrants drain servicing. This will depend on the age of your sewer system, how much water and waste goes down it and what hazards like trees threaten the sewer line.
At the very least, hydro jet cleaning every other year helps prevent the need for bigger sewer repair.
5. Call a Trusted Rooter Service
Knowing when to call your trusted rooter service will ensure that you aren’t doing more harm than good with old-fashioned home remedies.
Will vinegar and baking soda really clear out the drain?
Should I just flush an over-the-counter product down the toilet monthly to prevent problems and do maintenance?
For minor problems, these solutions will work. But for the longevity of your drainpipes, avoid regular use of harsh, over-the-counter drain cleaners. They are corrosive and will shorten the lifespan of your plumbing, creating an even bigger problem down the road.
Trust Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Air for the care, maintenance and repair of your septic or sewer line components.
Our professional technicians serve all of San Diego County, from Del Mar Oceanside down to San Ysidro and everything in between. Ask about a free estimate for a sewer service charge so that you can keep the water flowing, the toilet flushing and the kitchen sink ready for your next meal prep.