Your sewer line is a vital, yet often overlooked, part of your home’s plumbing system. It silently drains away waste, keeping your home clean and sanitary. But neglecting this workhorse means you could face a messy (and expensive) sewage backup.

The good news is that with a proactive approach, you can prevent most sewer line problems. Here’s how to establish a routine maintenance schedule for healthy sewer lines.


Understanding Sewer Lines: What Goes On Down There

Before diving into maintenance, let’s get familiar with sewer lines. They’re typically made of durable materials like cast iron, PVC, or clay, and the main sewer line exits your home and connects to the city sewer system (public sewer) or a septic tank (private sewer).  Wastewater from your drains travels through this pipe, eventually reaching a treatment facility or being dispersed into the drain field (septic systems).

Over time, various factors can compromise its smooth operation. These can include issues such as:

  • Debris Buildup: Grease, food scraps, hair, and other materials can accumulate and form clogs within the pipes.
  • Root Intrusion: Tree roots can sneak into cracks or joints in the sewer line, causing blockages and potential damage.
  • Pipe Deterioration: Age, corrosion, and ground movement can weaken pipes, leading to leaks and potential collapses.


Why Regular Drain Cleaning Matters

Think of your sewer line as a highway for wastewater. Over time, debris like grease, food scraps, hair, and even mineral buildup can accumulate, creating blockages that slow down drainage or even cause complete backups. Fortunately, if treated early, drain cleaning can resolve most every buildup and blockage problem. 

Regular drain cleaning is akin to preventative maintenance for your sewer lines. It removes these build-ups before they become a major problem, keeping your system flowing freely.


How Often Should You Schedule Drain Cleaning?

The frequency of drain cleaning depends on several factors including the number of occupants in the home. More people using the plumbing system means more potential for clogs. Usage habits are another significant factor. For example, homes with garbage disposals or those prone to greasy dishes may require more frequent cleaning. And a common factor in our area is the intrusion of tree roots. Roots can infiltrate sewer lines, causing severe blockages. If you have mature trees near your sewer line, consider more frequent inspections.

As a general rule,  biannual professional drain cleaning is recommended for most homes as an essential part of a sewer line maintenance schedule. This proactive approach helps prevent clogs and keeps your sewer line functioning smoothly.


Here’s how regular drain cleaning benefits your home:

  • Prevents Clogs and Backups: A clean sewer line is less susceptible to clogs, which can lead to messy and inconvenient backups. Backups not only disrupt your daily routine but can also cause damage to your property and pose potential health hazards.
  • Reduces Foul Odors: Sewer line blockages can trap waste and create unpleasant odors in your drains and even your entire home. Regular cleaning eliminates these odors, keeping your home fresh and healthy.
  • Extends the Lifespan of Your Sewer Lines: Clogged and neglected sewer lines are more prone to cracks and leaks. Regular cleaning helps maintain the integrity of your pipes, preventing costly repairs and replacements down the line.
  • Saves Money: Investing in preventive maintenance through regular cleaning is significantly cheaper than dealing with emergency repairs caused by clogged sewer lines.




Proactive Practices for Everyday Prevention

In addition to scheduling regular drain cleaning by a professional company like NW Sewer and Drain, here are seven everyday practices you can adopt to promote healthy sewer lines:

  1. Be mindful of what goes down the drain: Avoid pouring grease, oil, or coffee grounds down the drain. These substances solidify and contribute to clogs.
  2. Use drain traps: These metal baskets in your sink and tub drains catch debris before it enters the sewer line. Empty and clean them regularly.
  3. Don’t flush non-flushable items: Paper towels, hygiene products, and other disposable items can cause blockages in your sewer line. Dispose of them properly in the trash.
  4. Be mindful of trees: When planting trees or shrubs, choose varieties with non-invasive root systems that won’t encroach on your sewer line.
  5. Treat garbage disposals wisely: Garbage disposals are not meant for everything. Avoid grinding bones, fruit pits, or excessive food scraps.
  6. Hot water flush: Once a month, pour a pot of hot water down your drains to help melt any grease buildup.
  7. Treat Clogs Early: If you experience slow drains, don’t ignore them. Try using a plunger or a natural drain cleaner made of baking soda and vinegar. For stubborn clogs, consider professional help before the problem worsens.


The Power of Professional Inspections

While drain cleaning removes existing clogs, it doesn’t identify potential problems within the sewer line itself.  For a truly healthy sewer system, homeowners would be wise to schedule professional sewer line inspections every two to three years.  These inspections, often performed with a video camera, can reveal:

  • Cracks or breaks: Over time, sewer lines can develop cracks due to age, shifting soil, or root intrusion. A professional can assess the damage and recommend repairs.
  • Root infiltration: Tree roots are notorious for seeking moisture and can burrow into sewer lines, causing blockages and damage. Early detection is crucial to prevent costly repairs.
  • Misaligned pipes: Improperly installed sewer lines can create low spots where waste accumulates, leading to clogs and backups.


The Benefits of a Maintenance Schedule

By establishing a regular maintenance schedule, you’ll enjoy numerous benefits, including:

  • Reduced risk of clogs and backups: Preventative cleaning and inspections minimize the chances of a messy and disruptive sewer line clog.
  • Early detection of problems: Catching issues early allows for timely repairs, preventing more extensive (and expensive) damage down the line.
  • Improved drainage: Clean sewer lines ensure smooth wastewater flow, preventing slow drains and gurgling noises.
  • Increased home value: A well-maintained sewer system is a valuable asset when selling your home.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing your sewer line is in good condition gives you peace of mind and avoids the stress of unexpected plumbing emergencies.


Crafting Your Personalized Maintenance Schedule

Now that you understand the dynamics of your home’s sewer functioning and potential issues to be aware of, let’s build your customized sewer line maintenance plan! Here’s a breakdown of four key actions and their recommended frequency:

  1. Drain Cleaning (Every 1-2 Years): Schedule professional drain cleaning with a high-pressure water jetting service every 1-2 years. This removes accumulated debris and prevents future clogs. Frequency may increase depending on factors like household size and usage.
  2. DIY Drain Maintenance (Monthly): Once a month, pour a pot of boiling water down your drains to loosen any grease buildup. Follow it up with a half cup of baking soda and vinegar solution to further clear any minor clogs.
  3. Visual Inspections (Every 6 Months): Regularly inspect your property for signs of potential sewer line problems. Look for slow drains, gurgling sounds when flushing toilets, or patches of soft, mushy ground near the sewer line – these can indicate clogs or leaks.
  4. Professional Inspections (Every 2-3 Years): Consider hiring a licensed plumber for a video camera inspection of your sewer line every 2-3 years. This allows them to identify potential issues like root intrusion, cracks, or misalignment within the pipes.


Partnering with a Professional Sewer and Drain Company

While some sewer line maintenance tasks can be tackled on your own, it’s always wise to have a qualified technician on your side.  A professional sewer and drain expert can:

  • Perform thorough drain cleaning using specialized equipment to ensure complete removal of debris.
  • Conduct video camera inspections to provide a detailed visual assessment of your sewer line’s condition.
  • Diagnose and repair complex issues like root intrusion, pipe damage, or leaks.
  • Offer personalized maintenance advice based on your specific plumbing system and needs.

And while some drain cleaning tasks can be tackled as DIY projects by homeowners, professional sewer and drain services offer several advantages, such as:

  • Expertise: Plumbers have the knowledge and experience to handle complex clogs and identify potential problems with your sewer line.
  • Specialized equipment: Professionals use powerful drain cleaning tools and video inspection cameras for thorough cleaning and assessment.
  • Safety: Dealing with sewage can be hazardous. Licensed plumbers have the proper training and equipment to protect themselves and your home.




Maintaining a Healthy Home Sewer System

By following these tips and partnering with a qualified plumbing company, you can establish a proactive maintenance schedule for healthy sewer lines. Remember, a few minutes of preventative care today can save you from a major headache (and expense) tomorrow.

Whether you are dealing with a clogged sewer line, a basement drain backing up, or any other plumbing issue, you can count on NW Sewer and Drain to provide exceptional service. We pride ourselves on our professionalism, knowledge, and commitment to customer satisfaction.

Don’t let clogged drains disrupt your daily life. Contact NW Sewer and Drain today for all your sewer line repair and drain cleaning needs. We are here to help you keep your plumbing system running smoothly and efficiently.

Skip to content