WHO SHOULD YOU CALL FOR YOUR SEWER OR SEPTIC LINE INSPECTION?
It’s important that you work with a full service company, especially if you have a septic system or are considering buying a home with a septic system. You should make sure the company can not only inspect your lines, but can follow through on repairs to your lines or septic system, either immediately or in the years to come. Finding the right company will ensure that the inspection and any necessary repairs are done by one company and not a group of sub contractors who may not take responsibility for their work. Be sure that your inspector is ATT (Alternative Treatment Technologies) and O&M (Operations and Maintenance) certified, and that they are part of a Preferred Plumber Program. Your real estate agent may be able to refer you to a full service company that provides comprehensive inspection, maintenance and repair services, and that has all of the necessary certifications.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN SEWER LINE & SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION?
When it comes to sewer and septic line inspection, the plumbing company inserts a snake attached to a small video camera into the clean-out and snakes the camera through the sewer. You can watch the image on a monitor, and even request a recording of the inspection in the event documentation is of value. Not only will the plumbing company find out if the sewer line is clean or clogged, but the inspection will disclose the condition of the sewer. Ask the contractor to tell you what kind of material was used to construct the sewer line and whether that type of material is considered good construction today. Some sewer lines are made up of different materials, from concrete to clay to cast iron.
How Often Should Sewer Lines Be Cleaned?
This is an excellent question. If your home is older, the likelihood that an immediate sewer line cleaning would benefit you is very high. As a solid preventative measure, sewer lines should be cleaned once every eighteen to twenty-two months. If your home has been experiencing frequent problems with your sewer lines, it is recommended that you contact a plumber and schedule a video inspection. There are many different systems in your home that require maintenance. HVAC system maintenance is incredibly important if you live in an older home with original ductwork.
How Do You Dissolve Toilet Paper in a Sewer Line?
While toilet paper is specifically manufactured to dissolve and break up in water, if too much toilet paper has been stuffed in a tight space, such as in a pipeline, it can become a gummy mess. Most specialists recommend a closet auger to help dissolve the toilet paper in the drain. Augers are known as long pieces of wire or thinly shaped metal that is inserted into the toilet drain. These mechanisms have small hooks or barbs on the end that are designed to break up clogs and help separate the paper.
Does Toilet Paper Clog Sewer Lines?
With regard to whether or not toilet paper can clog a sewer line, homeowners should exercise caution. Any kind of debris, including toilet paper, can clog a sewer line. Over time, toilet paper, sanitary napkins, facial tissues, feminine hygiene products and more can clog the sewer line, causing a dramatic loss in the function of your plumbing. That’s why it’s crucial for homeowners to secure an appointment for sewer drain cleaning particularly if they have an older home and haven’t secured the service in recent memory.
What Is a Belly in a Sewer Pipe?
Sewer line bellies are sags or low spots in sewer lines. A normal sewer lateral (seen below) has a slope that uses gravity to help regulate the flow. A bellied sewer line interferes with the normal flow of waste water through the pipe, leading to backups and other problems because the water and sediment collects in the belly.
What Causes Sewer Bellies?
Poor planning and bad installations are often the root cause of sewer line bellies, as proper bedding compaction, good materials and correct slope are the most important factors needed to prevent the problem. However, natural occurrences like major tree roots, earthquakes, sun or heat, rain, and even cold weather fluctuations can lead to the shifts in the soil that eventually cause bellies.
How Can You Diagnose the Problem?
Sewer pipe bellies should be diagnosed by plumbers using the most accurate video inspecting technology. A professional sewer camera inspection will allow the service technician to push a video camera through the pipe, giving you a close look at the entire sewer lateral and allowing the plumbing team to accurately identify the issue. Even slope issues can be detected at this preliminary stage of the process.
Sewer Line Channeling Repair
If after reviewing this article you find that your sewer line is channeled and not bellied, then you may be a candidate for trenchless pipelining. Since a channeled pipe does not necessarily have an issue with slope, pipelining may be the solution you are looking for. Pipelining is a non-destructive, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly method of repairing a damaged pipe from the inside by means of inserting an epoxy saturated felt liner into the pipe and letting it cure in place. What that means for you is no digging up your floors or destruction inside your home to repair your sanitary drainage pipes. You won’t even need to leave your home during repairs. The result is a brand new, PVC quality pipe within the old one with a manufacturer’s 50 year life use expectancy.
Sewer Line Belly vs. Channeling – Why the confusion?
The issue lies with the company performing the video inspection. At first glance, both conditions may have the same symptom – the camera going underwater during a sewer video inspection. However, only after thorough investigation with a jetter can the problem be properly diagnosed.
In conclusion, a belly in a sewer line and channeling are easily confused. We have found that when our customers mention they have a belly in their sewer line, 99% of the time the line is channeled instead. Since a sewer line belly is accompanied by an issue with the pipe’s slope, conventional replacement is the only repair option. However, channeling differs in that the pipe’s slope (in most cases) remains functional. This means that channeling may be repaired by trenchless pipelining, saving you time, money, headaches and the mess associated with conventional replacement.
Sewer Inspection Problem – Tree Roots
When your sewer system was installed, chances are the vegetation wasn’t mature and no one suspected that your system could be compromised by a tree root. Roots are relentless and powerful and can crush a pipe or offset it, creating all kinds of problems with the flow of your system.
Unfortunately, most people do not think about their sewer line location when planting a tree. Often we see trees planted directly above a sewer line in front yards.
Root intrusion is very common in older clay and cast iron sewer lines. Newer PVC lines have a lower chance of having root issues.
There are several ways to handle this issue, including replacing the old line with a more structurally sound one like plastic. You can treat the line with a poison that will make the roots retreat. You can also rent a power auger which will clean out the line and will need to be done on a routine basis.
There are also hundreds of rooter companies that will come out and run a power auger down your sewer line for a low fee. We recommend that you do this often if you have a clay line.