There are many joys in home ownership, but like everything else in life there are also some challenges and the occasional issues. One of the more daunting tasks of the homeowner is dealing with sewer or plumbing concerns. After all, there is not much fun to be had dealing with clogged pipes, line back-ups, and obstructions. Fortunately many of them can be prevented by adhering to the following do's and don'ts of sewer and septic tanks maintenance.
Tips for Avoiding Sewer Problems
Some of the best things you can do to prevent sewer backups and blockages are:
- Always collect cooking grease, fats, and oils in a container to be thrown in the garbage. Do not just rinse these items down the drain.
- Be sure to throw away diapers, sanitary napkins, etc...in the garbage-NEVER flush these items down the commode!
- Install a sewer backflow preventer device (BPD) to prevent backflows or backups from the sewer.
- When it comes to landscaping, be sure that plants with spreading root systems are not planted near sewer laterals as the roots can invade the sewer lines causing blockages, backups and even result in burst pipes.
- In the case of slowing draining in bathtubs, sinks, showers and toilets use a plunger and then a plumber's snake to see if you can remove the obstruction. If this doesn't work, call a plumber as they have tools especially designed for this type of problem.
Preventative Maintenance for Your Sewer System
- On a weekly basis, use a mixture of 1 cup each of baking soda and salt plus ¼ cup of cream of tartar. Stir up the solution then pour into the drain followed by 1 cup of boiling water. Wait 10 seconds then run cold water down the drain.
- At least once month clean the drain. Pour a ¼ cup of baking soda down the drain followed by ½ a cup of white vinegar. Allow the mixture to set for 3 hours before rinsing down the drain with hot water.
- If you believe grease accumulation to be a concern, pour ½ cup each of salt and baking soda down the drain then flush with a teakettle of boiling water.
These chemical reactions work like the commercial products available a superstore, but cost a lot less!
Tips for Avoiding Septic Tank Problems
- Be sure to pump out the septic tank on a regular basis. However, do not use septic tank additives.
- Keep surface water from upslopes or roof drains away from disposal fields.
- Do not let grease or related products, as well as items such as chemicals or plastic enter the septic system.
- Never drive or park heavy vehicles on the disposal fields as this can compact the soil and crush the pipes.
- Don't overload the system with high volumes of water.
Don't wait for there to be a problem before checking or cleaning your septic tank or sewer lines; as Benjamin Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
For more information on care for your sewer lines please visit http://www.geneswaterandsewer.com.
Article indpendently authored by Janet Slagell. The content herein may or may not reflect the views and opinions of Gene's Water and Sewer.