Sewer System Maintenance Basics

Nobody likes to work with sewer systems but you will certainly notice a sewer system problem very quickly. Few repairs are as urgent as sewer system repairs. Most people can live with a broken window pane or that a wall that needs to be repaired but virtually everyone wants plumbing issues solved as soon as possible. Here is an overview of the possible problems in the sewer system of a house.

First it is important to remember that every plumbing fixture in a house is joined by the same drainpipe. This means that a lot of different waste is going through the same pipe. A problem in one part of the sewer system could quickly spread to the whole sewer system. The sewer system in a house is very simple, in essence it made up just a few basic building blocks.

Every plumbing fixture has a p-trap, its role is to prevent sewer gases from passing back into the house. At the same time, it allows water and waste to enter the sewer system. Most p-traps look like U but if you take into account the pipe that connects it to the drain pipe and turn it 90 degrees anti-clockwise it looks like a P. The water that is trapped in the p-trap seals off the off the pipe for gases.

The waste pipes carry away the waste water from your plumbing fixtures. Vent pipes travel upwards, through the roof. Their task is to remove or exhaust sewer gases. Note that local building codes typically regulate what materials are allowed for drain and waste pipes.

You avoid a lot of potential problems by paying attention to what goes down the drain. Cooking grease for example can over time cause blockage, which will be very difficult to get rid of. A drain screen is a cheap way of preventing larger pieces to enter the plumbing system.

A garbage disposal grinds food scraps into small particles so that they can pass through the plumbing system without causing any clogs. That is how they work in theory but you should still pay attention to what you feed your garbage disposal. Also, always use plenty of hot water to make sure that oil and similar material move done the plumbing system rather than getting stuck in the p-trap.

Nowadays you have plenty of commercial drain cleaners to choose from. Most of them work reasonably well. But be sure to follow the instructions and don’t use them unless necessary. The chemicals could damage the pipes if used in larger quantities.

Knowing how to use a plumber’s auger can save you a lot of money. The plumber’s auger is used through the clean-out port which provides easy access to the inside of the waste pipes.

Unfortunately, also blocked vent pipes can cause problems. Generally, vent pipes are best cleaned from the roof. This can be both difficult and dangerous so once again, prevention is the recommended strategy.

The p-trap is very important part of the sewer system. Unfortunately, it can also create problems. The p-trap can collect a lot of various stuff which starts to clog it.

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