Many Americans struggle to keep their main sewer line clean. It should come as no surprise as it is probably the least accessible part of your plumbing system. Even professional plumbers need special tools in order to reach it and clean it out!
There are a few great ways to keep your mainline free and clear of clogs. From easiest to most challenging, they are:
- Limit the use of toilet paper you use
- Do not put anything but toilet paper in the toilet
- Properly dispose of fats, oils, and greases
- Use garbage disposal for food items
- Use enzyme cleaners instead of caustic or acid cleaners
- Keep trees and big plants clear of mainline
- Use special tools to clean your pipes
These actions are primarily preventative – although a couple can be used to help mainline clogs.
1. Limit Your Use of Toilet Paper
Do you know those commercials where someone – or some animal – needs to go to the bathroom? At first, they pull off a heap of toilet paper, and then, in an almost comical moment of epiphany, they realize they can still get the same value from less toilet paper as more.
While we aren’t advocating for you to purchase brand toilet paper, we advise you to do as the commercials do and use less toilet paper.
Just because toilet paper degrades in water does not make it completely safe from clogging your pipes. This especially applies to flushable wipes.
In financial terms, less is more. Less toilet paper is more savings on plumbing repairs and on the cost of toilet paper.
2. Don’t Flush Anything Non-flushable
Just because it can fit in a toilet and be flushed out of the bowl doesn’t mean it belongs in your plumbing.
Some everyday objects you might think belong in your plumbing but may actually cause severe problems include:
- Paper towels.
- Disinfecting wipes.
- Small washcloths.
- Women’s hygiene products.
- Baby diapers.
- Adult diapers.
Even though these products seem to flush out of your bowl fine, they can get caught further down the line. These objects then become more expensive and difficult to remove.
If the clog is bad enough in your main sewer line, your yard will need to be dug up, and your pipe will need to be removed entirely! These are only in extreme cases where foreign objects clog a drain and become impossible to remove using conventional methods.
3. Dispose of Fats, Oils, and Greases ProperlyYou’ve probably heard not to dump grease down the drain, but do you know why?
The most straightforward answer is that they clog drains. But how?
Most of these organic products are semi-gelatinous. When you dump them down the drain, they may seem liquid and harmless, but when they cool down or catch on the walls of your pipes, they can become hard and begin clogging your drains.
These kinds of clogs happen more like heart attacks. It’s not that there is suddenly a large deposit blocking the flow of fluids through the space; it’s generally because of a gradual buildup of organic material along the walls of the tube or vein followed by a more significant catalyst.
They may become clogged by chance when something large becomes wedged in the smaller opening caused by the buildup. These clogs will either severely slow or completely stop the flow of water through your pipes.
4. Use Your Garbage Disposal for Food Items
Most home sinks allow and require a garbage disposal between the main drain and wastewater pipe. The purpose here is to prevent the food from creating clogs.
Instead of allowing foods to pass into your pipes unrestricted, garbage disposals grind your food into small pieces that can traverse easier through your sewage.
If you put food or similar organic items in your sewage, you risk clogging your drains.
5. Use Enzyme Cleaners Instead of Acids and Caustic Chemicals
Pipes erode and degrade just like everything else. Even though cleaning chemicals are generally the go-to for most clogged drains, they can damage your pipes even while trying to help break up a clog.
Acids and caustics are powerful chemicals that corrode and degrade all kinds of materials. They work well against food because they are particularly powerful. Unfortunately, they can also erode your pipes.
A pipe subjected to too many caustic and acid chemicals may be weakened and begin to leak.
Instead, use enzyme cleaners. These are tough on organic materials and relatively gentle on your pipes.
6. Keep You Main Sewer Line Free of Roots
Roots are a prominent cause of main sewer line clogs.
Many plant roots find their way into your pipes after detecting water from a small leak. Their root systems will naturally begin to reach for the source of water. Upon finding your pipe, the roots will attempt to infiltrate them to access more water.
Where you may have had a pipe with a leak that could easily have been fixed, you now have a more extensive leak and roots obstructing water flow into your pipes.
Plant roots can be a particular challenge to repair. Often requiring some sort of advanced cleaning tool and liner or replacement line to completely resolve the issue.
7. Use Special Tools to Clean Your Pipes
When your main line becomes clogged, there are special tools you can use to remove the debris from inside.
Plumbers use these tools frequently in the course of their jobs to clear out the sewer lines of homeowners they help.
These kinds of tools include jetters and mechanical snakes. They can be costly and potentially dangerous to operate.
Even though you aren’t required a license to own them, it may be best to enlist the help of someone who regularly works with them.
Get Back Fast with Quick Quality Plumbing
Preventative maintenance won’t help unclog anything when you have problems with your main sewer line.
For a faster response that works, contact Quick Quality Plumbing now! We have trained professionals always on standby, ready to assist you in your needs.