Some causes of sewer line backup are outside your control, such as tree roots growing into the line or a collapsed sewer line. For these causes, all you can do is keep up with regular maintenance and inspections. But some backups happen when your main sewer line becomes clogged, causing sewage to back up into your home rather than flowing into the community sewer system. Prevent sewer line backups caused by clogs by following a few simple rules. Make these habits second nature and you’ll be safe from clogged sewer lines.
Drain Maintenance Habits That Prevent Sewer Line Backups
Garbage Disposal Etiquette
How many times have you heard or used the phrase, “He/she eats like a garbage disposal.” The idea is that, like a garbage disposal, this person will consume anything and everything. But that’s not how a garbage disposal works. In fact, there are many do’s and don’ts of proper garbage disposal maintenance.
Abusing your garbage disposal by using it to dispose of foods it wasn’t designed to handle will damage your disposal and clog your drains. General rules of garbage disposal maintenance:
- – Do not force large quantities of food down at once
- – Never put egg shells down the disposal
- – Avoid highly fibrous foods like corn husks or onion skins
- – Never put any non-food items in the disposal
To Flush or Not to Flush?
You know when you’re in a public restroom and you see a sign on the stall door imploring you to flush only toilet paper down the drain? The warning might also include a list of prohibited items, such as napkins and diapers. And if you’re like most people, you ignore it.
We’ll assume you have enough common sense not to try and flush a diaper down the toilet, but the other items probably seem pretty harmless, right? Wrong. Even products like facial tissue do not dissolve as easily as toilet paper does. Items such as paper towel or feminine products will not deteriorate and easily cause a serious clog once they reach the main sewer line.
Bottom line: If the question is “to flush or not to flush?” the answer is almost always “Not.”
Greasing the Drain
In short: don’t do it. When you have a pan full of leftover oil or cooking fat, pouring it down the drain is a tempting prospect. Pour the grease down the drain, run the water, and poof! It’s gone. Out of sight, out of mind. But not out of your drain. Grease and fat, though liquid in form when you dump them down the drain, will harden as they cool. Over time, grease and fat solids will build up inside your pipes, eventually creating a tough clog.
Pour grease and fat into the trashcan instead. Allow fats to cool to a solid before disposing them into the trash, and wipe pans down with a paper towel before washing. Do not rinse greasy pans with hot water. Fats and oils are found in the following food items: meats, butter and margarine, dressings and sauces, and dairy products. Be conscientious as you are cleaning up these items in order to prevent sewer line backups.
Clean Drain, Happy Drain
Even when you’re maintaining good habits to keep your drains healthy and prevent sewer line backup, you should still clean your drains on a regular basis. Like any other part of your home, regular cleaning is an important part of drain maintenance.
The easiest drain cleaning method, which you can do with items that you can probably reach without even walking away from the sink, is the baking soda and vinegar method. Choose whatever method works best for you, but stay away from chemical drain cleaners.
Drain maintenance isn’t hard, but so many homeowners neglect it in favor of instant convenience. Next time you’re tempted to pour grease down the drain or flush something you shouldn’t, remember that the momentary convenience will be far outweighed by the considerable cost of paying for a cleanup crew after a sewer line backup. Prevent sewer line backups by making drain maintenance habits part of your daily routine.