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How Often Do You Need A Sewer Cleanout?

sewer cleanout
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Owning a home means maintenance is a fact of life, and one of the more unpleasant chores is having to conduct a sewer cleanout. But how often does it need to be done to forestall a potential backwash into your lawn, shower, garage, or even washing machine?

What Are the Causes of a Sewer Blockage?

Telling clues to a sewer that may need a sewer cleanout are a bad smell around your outlet and an ominous gurgle in your toilet. The threat of a backwash overflowing onto the bathroom floor is enough to create mild panic. It’s definitely time to call in licensed plumbing and drain cleaning experts such as Art Rooter, Sewer & Drain Cleaning.

This is not a job for the faint-hearted and it really is best to call a professional for help. They will look for various causes that can range from a tree root invasion or a bad construction job. In older homes, general deterioration due to age and corrosion may be the culprit. Faulty installation or design may have resulted in a long-term latent fault that finally causes a blockage. A common cause of a sewer blockage is a gradual accumulation of household debris that is disposed of down the kitchen sink such as grease, food particles, and other organic matter.

In the bathroom, hair and soap goes down the shower drain and gradually forms a film of muck, stopping the free flow of water in the drain. Items other than toilet should never be flushed down your commode because they are frequently found to be culprits of a blockage.

Did you know that in countries such as Costa Rica and Panama, flushing any items other than natural waste down the toilet may be legally prohibited due to poor infrastructure and narrow pipes? A no-flush policy of toilet paper and other physical debris prevents frequent sewer cleanouts from having to be undertaken.

What are the Best Methods to Clear a Blocked Sewer?

It may be tempting to attempt a sewer cleanout yourself before calling the experts. A professional will save time and money by inspecting the pipes with a specialized camera called a borescope. This consists of a flexible pipe which is inserted into the drain and sends images back to the attached camera or monitor for identification of the cause of the blockage.

However, remember that some household methods may clear a small blockage but be careful that no further damage is caused by inserting sharp objects or corrosive material into the system.

Three tips for cleaning your drains that you can try at home:

  • Use a commercial drain cleaner which contains enzymes and bacteria that will break down organic matter
  • Use a drain snake, which consists of a metal cable that unwinds from a drum and is fed manually through the pipe. When the offending obstruction is found, the sharp end catches the object which is then hauled back through the pipe and removed
  • A mixture of baking soda and vinegar cause a chemical reaction that helps to break down grease and fats

These methods may only be partially effective and will not be of any help if the pipes are clogged with large debris such as tree roots.

How to Prevent a Sewer Blockage

Preventative maintenance is always the best route before expensive repairs that may be incurred by a blocked sewer. It’s a good practice to call in a professional plumber about every 18-24 months to undertake a thorough inspection of your sewer system before any problems occur.

Be aware of the types of material that may be getting into your sewer system, like lint that accumulates from your laundry. Despite the convenience, try not to dispose of food waste down a kitchen drain; rather use it as compost. If you are environmentally aware of water wastage, you may use the eco-flush option on your toilet but give it a full flush every now and then to dislodge any unseen waste.

Schedule A Sewer Cleanout with A Local Plumber

With a little forethought and preventative maintenance, a sewer cleanout doesn’t need to be as intimidating as it first appears.

Watch for warning signs such as exposed tree roots or damp, mossy areas that are evident on your lawn. Make a habit of cleaning stray hair in the bathroom basin or shower and most importantly, do not dispose of grease or oils down the drain.

Cleaning out your sewer sucks; when in doubt, call a professional drain cleaner! Sure, we don’t have the most glamorous job, but we love what we do! A plumber from Art Rooter, Sewer & Drain Cleaning are here to help with all your drain and sewer needs! Call us today at 1-833-470-2880 to schedule an appointment with a local plumbing expert.


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