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You wake up and walk downstairs in your Dalworthington, TX home only to notice a foul odor that seems to be coming from your basement. At first, you don’t think much about it because every so often your drains smell like sewage, but after a while, you decide to investigate. What you are met with is an even more offensive find. Your basement is covered in sewage backup with wastes, used toilet paper, and other disgusting sights scattered around the floor. Before you can even take a deep breath you know you need to call the plumber. As shocking as this may be, understanding why it happened can help prevent the same scenario from replaying itself in the future.
At some point in your home owning experience, you are going to have a clogged drain. It is an unavoidable fact of life even if you have the best drain habits. However, if you notice multiple drains in multiple areas of your home backing up or at least draining slower than usual this is an indication that a sewer drain clog may be on its way to forming. The following is a closer look at sewer line clogs and why they happen so that you can prevent the above morning from happening in the first place.
A Dalworthington, TX plumber that understands sewer clogs is your best friend when it comes to keeping your drains clean. Regular drain cleaning service and good drain habits are both instrumental in keeping water flowing out of your home as intended. First, though, let’s look at why sewer line clogs occur so that you can proactively treat and prevent a clog from catching you off-guard again by adjusting your habits or trouble-shooting known issues properly.
Why Do Sewer Lines Clog?
In a perfect world, water would flow into your home and then seamlessly exit your home once filled with wastes via your sewer line. However, from time to time debris and other wastes may build up in your sewer line until you have a full-blown clog. Why does this happen? Here are just a few of the main causes.
Improper Toilet Use
Believe it or not, the way you are using your toilet can contribute to a sewer backup that results in a phone call to a plumber to resolve. It is very easy to treat your toilet like a trash can and drop some pieces of bathroom waste in it during your morning or evening routine. Floss, cotton swabs, small tissues, contacts, and other common bathroom trash is very tempting to flush and walk away from. Unfortunately, these small pieces add up and your sewage system cannot walk away.
Your toilet is only meant to handle toilet paper and human wastes. Add anything else into the mix and you are just slowly counting down the day until you have a blockage on your hands. Keep in mind that while your sewer line can clog, so can the direct line under your toilet. Clogs can form in more areas than one and cause a backup that leaves you with feces all over your room. Unless you want to walk into a horror scene that leaves you screaming before calling a Dalworthington, TX professional, it’s best to stick to the rules when it comes to toilet use.
In addition, it is paramount to add that flushable wipes should never go down the toilet. While they are marketed as flushable, the truth is that this claim does not have to be proven. There is no association that actually backs up the claim that they can be flushed. In truth, while a flushable wipe will go down the drain, they will not dissolve which is where any plumber will tell you the problem starts.
Toilet paper is designed to instantly disintegrate when it hits the water which you can easily test and watch. However, flushable wipes do not dissolve. When dropped into the water they maintain their form. This means that they are still in mostly whole form as they travel down your drains, unlike toilet paper that instantly starts the dissolving process. Flushable wipes will cling to the side of your drains and your sewage lines. They are also the most popular reason why septic tanks die prematurely. Ask any professional and you will get the same answer under no circumstances should you use flushable wipes.
The second reason that people end up with repeat sewage clogs is because of tree roots that sprawl out under the ground disrupting the sewage line. This is even more likely if you own an older home or if you have an older tree in your front yard. Tree roots naturally grow towards sewer lines because the wastes ironically are nutrient-rich. The high amount of moisture in the line also attracts them.
Unfortunately, as the roots grow they can crack or seep into damaged sewer lines and make the damage even worse. Eventually, they will grow into the line and act as a trap for debris until enough of a build-up occurs that your line completely blocks and you need an emergency plumber.
Unfortunately, while a plumber has specialized tools that will remove the tree root and restore accurate flow to your sewage line, they cannot stop the roots from growing back. In this situation, it is best to set up a routine proactive drain cleaning routine with your plumber. The best way to address continual root growth is by staying ahead of it and clearing out any baby roots that are growing through small cracks before they have the chance to become large roots that block the line. Tree roots began as some wisps so it is impossible to stop these feather-like roots from slowly getting in, but good drain cleaning maintenance can help prevent you from waking up to a smelly and disgusting mess coming out of your floor drain.
Hidden Damage to Your Sewer Line
If your sewer line has not been cleaned or replaced in the last decade, there is a good chance that your sewer line itself may be contributing to the problem. Over time it is only natural that your sewer line will begin to corrode, sag, and crack or can be damaged by outside intrusions. Due to the fact that it is buried ten or more feet under the ground, you would never know if your sewer line is damaged. If you continue to do nothing about the situation, your line will continue to clog.
A trained plumber however can use a sewer line inspection camera to get a good look at the condition of your sewer line. This can be done as part of a routine drain cleaning service and is a good idea if you have never had it done. If any problems are identified then your Dalworthington, TX plumber can sit down with you and discuss the various options you have in front of you.
Improper Garbage Disposal Use
Guess what, the same way you can’t use your toilet as the trash can you cannot use your garbage disposal in place of the trash either. It is very easy to toss just about any scrap in there, especially when you are busy cooking, but unfortunately, this is not a great plumbing strategy. Outside of the toilet, garbage disposals are one of the main areas of the home where plumbers often find problems. This is because people toss just about everything in their garbage disposal leading to large clogs that lead to an emergency call to a Dalworthington, TX plumber.
There are a few things that should never go down the toilet that may surprise you unless you happen to be a plumber yourself. Some of these things include pasta, rice, eggshells, and other extremely porous foods like fruit or vegetable peelings. The problem is that while these items appear to be biodegradable, they expand when left in water. So while they may go down your disposal, they can get caught in debris in your sewage line and then over time expand and cause blockages as they continue to buildup. In addition, remember that non-food items should never go down your garbage disposal unless you want to find yourself on the phone with a plumber.
Common Signs of Clogs in Your Sewer Line
Now that you know what causes clogs and blockages in your sewer line, it is important to understand what the signs are of a clog. While a huge backup in the basement near the floor drain is certainly an indication that it is time to call a plumber, chances are good that your sewer gave you a few signs before you got to this point. Knowing the signs can help you call a plumber before a major flood or disaster occurs which will save you both time and money. Here are just a few of the most frequent signs that indicate you may have a sewer line clog forming.
One clear give away of a brewing issue is bubbling toilets or drains. You should never hear the water bubble in your toilet after your flush or near a drain after the water has gone down. The bubbling is caused by pockets of air that are able to hide within the debris that is forming a partial blockage in your drain. If you hear it, this is a sign that it may not be a bad idea to call a Dalworthington, TX plumber and schedule a drain cleaning to get ahead of any future issues.
Drains Are Starting to Drain Slowly
Another clear sign that something may be wrong with your sewage system is when multiple drains in your home start to drain slower than usual. If you are only noticing this in one location in your home, then the clog is likely localized. For instance, if you only notice the kitchen sink draining slowly then chances are good that the obstruction is due to a clog in your kitchen drain or the garbage disposal. However, if you notice the problem in the kitchen sink and the bathroom sink or any other combination of drains in your home this indicates a much larger problem and a call to a plumber is in order.
Sewage Odors Near Drains
Your drains should never smell like sewage. Unless you happened to flush the waste down the drain within seconds of smelling sewage, any sewage odors near your drains indicates the presence of a clog. Not only is the smell offensive, but it is an early indication that a clog containing mold and bacteria is growing in your drains and you need to take immediate action before the problem gets worse.
Wet Patches in the Yard
Finally, if you notice wet patches in your yard even though it has not rained in a while then you may want to investigate further. Wet patches can appear if your sewer line is leaking since the moisture will be drawn upwards towards the sun. If you notice the wet patches along with a sewer smell out in the yard near where your sewer line is buried this is a clear indication that something is wrong and a call to a plumber is in order.
If you have noticed any of these signs, or any other signs that indicate you may have a sewage issue it is important to promptly call a Dalworthington, TX plumber. Getting ahead of the issue is always the best course of action. Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Fort Worth is always happy to come out to your home to inspect or perform a drain cleaning. Give us a call today if you have any concerns and we can talk about what may be causing the issue and how we can help solve it.