Periodic sewer line maintenance is a crucial part of home ownership that often goes overlooked. Not only can it help to avoid the pitfalls of a backed up sewer, but also save you money. When a sewer backs up, you could experience extensive water damage and a nasty clean up. With annual sewer line maintenance, the chances of a major blockage are reduced significantly.
Before the arrival of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) conduit, residential homes were fitted with all sorts of sewer line material. Two of the most common were clay and cast iron. Below we will discuss common problems associated with these materials as well as the proper cleaning and maintenance procedures for each type.
Causes of Sewer Line Blockage
Many circumstances can lead to a sewer line blockage and cause a backup. The most common are attributed to tree roots, scale or rust buildup and grease accumulation. Before moving forward with a maintenance schedule, it is important to identify the type of sewer line in your home. A professional plumbing contractor can help you determine which type of sewer line you have and recommend a cleaning and maintenance procedure.
Cast Iron Sewer Lines
Cast iron sewer lines came into play in the 1970s and are still in use today. Although the material is extremely strong, it is prone to a buildup of scale and rust deposits that create a rough surface on its inner surface. The rough surface acts like a catchall by trapping solids as they travel through the pipe, ultimately leading to a blockage. Proper cast iron cleaning and maintenance includes having the lines’ pressure water jetted to restore the smooth inner surface followed by annual sewer line snaking.
Clay Sewer Lines
Homes built before the mid-1950s are likely to have clay sewer lines. Because the pipe material was manufactured in three-foot sections, it requires many joints during installation. This ultimately proved to be its downfall as clay sewer lines were prone to extensive root invasion. Tree roots have a knack for snaking their way through the pipe joints and feeding on the water inside. As the roots grow, they can form thick masses (trapping solids) which ultimately create a blockage. To properly maintain clay sewer lines, have them professionally snaked at least once a year followed by a chemical treatment designed to kill and inhibit root growth.
To help absorb the annual costs of home maintenance, group them in pairs and schedule the procedures at different times throughout the year.
For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.
Image source: Flickr