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Friday, February 25, 2011

Homeowners Sewer Backup Information

I had sewer problems that I had to work through the local sewer company to get resolved. Sewage was backing up into our split level house due to clogged sewer lines. There was also a problem with roots in the line. I learned some things from the utility contractors that unclogged our sewer lines that could help you avoid some expensive repairs.

If the sewer system in your neighborhood is old, it's more important than ever to have regular maintenance. Maintenance can be anything from pouring yeast down a drain at night and flushing with water the next morning to having sewer lines replaced. The contractors say yeast is a better option because it’s cheap and non-toxic unlike Drano and Liquid Plumber.

Here’s a list of their recommendations to keep your sewer lines running freely.

DON'T put feminine products into the toilet. These products say that they're biodegradable on the package but the truth is they don’t breakdown in the sewer and can end up clogging your sewer line.

DON'T put “powerful” drain cleaners that are mostly acid into the sewer system. When you pour acidic drain cleaners into drains and toilets, they break down the sewer lines and cost more for the utility company to treat at the sewer plant. This is especially true of root killers that flow along the bottom of sewer lines and don't kill roots that grow into the top of the line anyway. The utility company has to remove the toxins in powerful drain cleaners from the water before putting it back into rivers and streams. Then the utility company has to ask regulators for rate increases  to cover the extra maintenance cost. These maintenance increases get passed on to you, the homeowner.

Don't put cooking grease into your drains (suggestion: save empty milk cartons or two liter soda bottles to pour the cooled grease from fried foods into. Then throw these bottles of grease out with the regular trash).

Don't wait too long to call the utility company. Call the utility company at the first sign of trouble to minimize damage and grief. The contractors say when we shower, oils from our bodies  and cooking grease will freeze in sewer lines when the weather is cold enough for long periods of time. Sometimes it's these frozen sewer lines that causes sewage to back up into your home. Call the sewer company at the first sign of a problem especially when the weather is abnormally cold for a long period of time. They can come out and clean out the lines to prevent bigger problems.

The last tip is to invest in a sewer maintenance contract. Utility companies and private companies offer sewer maintenance contracts that cover the cost of sewer repairs on your property such as having a sewer line replaced. Sewer companies usually won't be responsible for any sewer repair cost on your property. There's usually a point on your property where you have to assume responsibility for your sewer lines. Just by following this homeowners sewer backup information you can save a lot of time, money and grief.