Keep Your Sewer System Flowing Freely With These 5 Tips

A bathroom

A backed-up sewer system is a situation no one wants to face. The smell alone is enough to make you cringe, never mind the idea of raw sewage entering your home. Following a few simple tips can help you avoid sewer system backups.

1. Don’t Use the Toilet as a Trash Can

There are very few things that should be flushed down your toilet. Most of them originate inside your body. Resist the temptation to flush wet wipes (even if they claim to be flushable), feminine products, and cat litter. They can cause clogs in main lines that lead out to your sewer system.

2. Scrape Plates Before Rinsing

Keep food items out of the drains by scraping scraps and bits off your plate before you rinse them or load the dishwasher. Don’t pour cooking grease (or any other kind of oil) down the drains either. Instead, pour it into a container and allow it to solidify before dumping it into the trash.

3. Avoid Planting Trees Over Drain Lines

Trees develop extensive root systems that search for groundwater in the surrounding soil. The moisture from sewer lines is an attractive, surface-level source of water to those thirsty roots. Plant any landscape trees or large shrubs at least 10 feet from the lateral sewer lines to avoid trouble.

4. Have a Backwater Prevention Valve Installed

This is basically a one-way check valve that will prevent sewage from flowing back into your home. it is generally installed close to where pipes leave the house. Even if there is a problem in an exterior pipe, sewage will not be able to flow back into the house.

5. Schedule an Inspection if You Suspect a Problem

If you notice signs like slow drains, a sewage odor outside the house, or gurgling noises when you flush the toilet, you should schedule an inspection. This way you can detect the problem before sewage backs up into your home.

While there are some sewage and plumbing issues that are beyond your control, you can take action to help prevent system backups. Be sure to also keep your cleanout cover accessible in case there is a problem.