Most people rarely think about what happens after they turn off a faucet or flush the toilet. A carefully designed system drains wastewater and solid waste from your plumbing fixtures to the city sewer main.
But what happens when something goes wrong? What types of services will fix your sewer system or prevent problems from forming?
There are two types of sewer services: drain cleaning and sewer cleaning.
This guide explains how your home’s wastewater system works and then gives you the information you need to decide if you need drain or sewer cleaning.
Your Home’s Wastewater System
To better understand the sewer services you need, it helps to have a better understanding of how your drain system works.
The drain that you see in the shower or sink is the beginning of the drain pathway. Right below each plumbing fixture is a curved section of pipe called the trap. You may be familiar with the P-traps found underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. The trap holds standing water, which prevents sewer gases from coming into your home.
Branch drain lines connect each of the drain traps to large-diameter vertical pipes. These pipes lead to the main drain line that connects to the municipal sewer system.
Most of your home’s drainage system is not usually visible. Drain lines are hidden within the walls, ceiling, and floor. The mainline runs underneath the basement or foundation slab.
Sewer services keep this vital system in perfect working order.
When Do I Need Sewer Services?
Sewer cleaning services can help you in an emergency. They are also available for regular maintenance to avoid a crisis in the first place.
When you have a problem with your home’s drainage system, you know you need sewer cleaning services. Any of these signs indicate that you have a problem with the drain lines or sewer line:
- Slow or clogged drains
- Foul odors coming from the drain
- Faucets that gurgle when you turn them on
- Foul odors outside
- Waterlogged grass
If you notice a slow drain soon enough, you may be able to clear the blockage yourself. Try pouring boiling water down the drain. You can also remove the P-trap to clear out anything that is stuck inside.
If your DIY methods don’t clear the drain, it’s time to call a plumber.
Regular maintenance of your drainage system will help you avoid problems. Simple things like disposing of cooking oil in the trash instead of pouring it down the drain can prevent drain clogs.
You should also schedule a plumber to perform routine maintenance of your drainage system. Most of the pipes are hidden from view, so having a professional do a thorough inspection from time to time can find a problem before it gets worse. Regular maintenance can prevent expensive damage to your home.
Types of Sewer Services
Now that you know a little more about how your home’s wastewater system works and when you may need sewer services, it’s time to look more closely at the two types of sewer services available.
Drain cleaning services focus on the pipes and drains inside the house. Clogged or blocked drains are a common problem. A drain cleaning will remove the clog so that the drain and pipe can flow freely again.
Your plumber has two primary tools for cleaning drains. An auger or “snake” reaches down into the pipe to either break-up or remove the clog. Plumbing snakes are usually used to fix a drain issue rather than for preventive maintenance.
A hydro jet shoots a high-pressure stream of water through the pipes. Before hydro jetting your pipes, the plumber will do a CCTV video inspection. The video will show if any pipes are broken or collapsed. It will also show whether the pipe is in good enough condition to handle the high-pressure water.
In summary, hydro jetting can remove practically any clog. In comparison, a snake might leave small pieces of the clog in the pipes. The hydro-jet will remove everything. Hydro jetting also cleans the inside of the pipes, which helps prevent new clogs from forming.
Sewer cleaning services focus on the main drain line that connects the drains in your home to the municipal sewer system.
The mainline can become clogged from everything that goes down the drains in the house. Tree roots are another common cause of problems in the mainline. Tree roots grow towards areas of moisture and nutrients, which leads them to the sewer line. Over time, they can clog and even break the mainline.
If all of your drains are running slowly, you may have a clogged main line. Additionally, foul odors or water seeping up into the yard are other signs that the problem is in the main drain line.
Hydro jetting will clear blockages and can also be preventive maintenance of your main drain line.
Preventive maintenance is crucial because hydro jetting will remove tree roots before they break the pipe. Replacing your main drain line can cost more than $3,000, and homeowner’s insurance is unlikely to cover it. A little preventive maintenance goes a long way towards saving you from these types of unexpected expenses.
Which Sewer Services Do I Need?
The type of problem you’re having will determine if you need drain cleaning or sewer services. If a single drain is clogged, drain cleaning will clear it. If all of the drains are blocked, or odors and water are seeping outside, you need sewer cleaning.
For preventive maintenance, complete cleaning is recommended. You can be sure that your whole drainage system will be in top working order.
Now that you know the difference between a drain and sewer cleaning, you’re ready to make an informed decision.
Contact us when you’re ready to schedule your drain or sewer cleaning.