For many homes in Los Angeles, sewer lines have the biggest potential to cause major plumbing problems.
Although necessary in any LA residential and commercial property, if they are old and neglected, they become a weak link for the owner and residents. Not counting the most serious scenarios like pipe breakage and damages caused by tree roots, sewer line also have a nasty little habit of clogging every once in a while, mostly at the most inconvenient time.
Clogging of the pipes is a big warning sign that your pipes are long overdue for a check-up and thorough cleaning
The Main Causes of the Clog
One of the main causes for the clogged sewer drain line is the battle with the trees. No matter how deep you place your pipes, a tree root will get to it. And it’s perfectly natural, as roots are attracted to the warmth and moisture around the pipes and will do everything in their power to get to that source of nutrition. Eventually, roots find the loose parts around the joints and once they are in the pipe they continue growing. Over time, toilet paper and other debris get caught on the roots and voila- we have a nasty little clog.
Less often the cause for the clogs is just plain old human-factor and an incorrect disposal of the sanitary products, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, etc.. But it would take a lot of such debris to be flushed to clog the pipe itself, if we know that the standard sewer pipe is 6 inches in diameter
The Warning Signs of a Clogged Sewer Drain
In any case of a clogged pipe, you can count on your house basically ‘talking to you’. You just need to listen carefully:
- Despite your best efforts to clear your drains, the water is still running slowly. Therefore, if you tried every DIY unclogging tip and nothing changed, then you have a blockage in your sewer line.
- If your toilet, kitchen sink, tub, and shower are also backed up, the clogged sewer line is causing this. The toilets have the most direct route to the sewer and the biggest drain line, so if anything is wrong with your sewer line, your toilets will show the first symptoms.
- Another nasty sign of a clogged sewer line-when you flush the toilet, water comes back up, or comes in the tub or shower.
- When you run water in your bathroom sink, and you hear your toilet making bubbles and gurgling sounds, that is a sign that your pipes are full of air bubbles cause by a blockage somewhere.
- If your toilets overflow when the washing machine is draining, you probably have a clogged sewer line. However, take note if you flush and the water flows away as usual. If this happens then you have another plumbing problem, but it is not a clogged sewer line.
4 Easy Steps to Unclog Your Sewer Line
Find the cleanout line and release the pressure
If you have water coming back up to your house, there are some things you can do to avoid the water making even more damage.
Turn off the main supply and try to find your sewer cleanout line. Look everywhere-your basement, roof, and yard until you find a white pipe sealed with a screw-on cap. Once you remove that cap, you will release the pressure in the sewer line and make the water overflowing in your house to drain back down the sewer line.
Chemical drain treatment
This treatment is recommended only for killing out the tree roots in your pipes. Once upon a time, every plumber would tell you to flush out copper sulfate down the toilet to kill tree roots, but this substance flushes away quickly and you need to repeat this many times in order to clear the clog. Not to mention that the usage of copper sulfate is prohibited in some municipalities.
A good substitute for this is cleaning the pipes with root-killing foam. Just flushing away this foam containing the herbicide dichlobenil down your toilet will get rid of tree roots in a few hours. However, it may take months for the dead tree roots debris to be completely flushed from the pipes.
Mechanical drain cleaning
The most popular and the most effective tool in a plumber’s arsenal is definitely auger or draining snake. It is a specially designed, flexible cable comes in various sizes and shapes, and can be pushed into the sewer line until it reaches and breaks apart the clog. There is also a great hydro-jetting method where a plumber uses a high-pressure water to blow the debris down the sewer line. Make sure you leave this job to the Los Angeles experienced plumbers, since an incorrect usage and appliance of both methods can severely damage your pipes.
Take a Peek Inside the Pipes
If everything else fails, the best solution would be to ask for a camera inspection and see what the real problem is. This mini-camera, when lowered into your sewer line, can show cracks, breaks and many other problems that may require immediate attention besides cleaning the clogs.
BONUS MAINTENANCE TIP
Once a month, you should pour one cup of baking soda, followed with a cup of white vinegar down the drain.
Fill the sink all the way to the top with hot water and wait and hour. After the hour is up, flush everything down the drain. The combination of chemicals and high water pressure will clean your sewer pipes in no time. This will help you with a regular pipes maintenance and prolong the life span of your sewer system.