Is Your Toilet Slow To Flush? Your Sewer Line May Need Cleaning
When you notice your toilet bowl seems slow to empty, you should take that as a warning sign a clog is building. It's probably just a matter of time until your drain or sewer starts backing up, and you have a mess on your hands. Before that happens, you'll want to have your sewer line cleaned out. Your plumber has a few different options for sewer cleaning depending on the type of clog. Here is what you can expect.
Blast With Water Pressure
Clogs that develop due to the buildup of grease, hair, and toilet paper can often be cleared by rinsing the drain with a water hose under high pressure. The water jet busts through the clog and knocks sticky debris off the sides of the pipe. This is an effective method of cleaning your sewer pipe, and it's a good choice as long as the clog isn't caused by tree roots.
Cut Away Tree Roots
Tree roots are a big problem for sewer drains because the roots burrow into them seeking nutrients and water. The network of tiny roots catches bits of paper and other solids as they pass through the drain, and this creates a clog that's difficult to dislodge. Tree roots need to be broken up with a blade on the end of a drain snake. The problem with tree roots is they may grow back eventually. If that happens, you'll need your sewer cleaned out again. You may want to remove trees in the yard or replace the damaged pipe to keep the roots out for good.
Pump The Septic Tank
If your sewer line empties into your own septic system, then a slow toilet could indicate it's time to have your tank pumped out and cleaned. This needs to be done every few years, and if you don't keep up with it, sewage may seep into your yard or back up in your drains. If your tank has been cleaned recently, then it may be one of the previous scenarios. In either case, you'll need to call in a contractor to locate the source of the problem.
While you can handle some plumbing clogs on your own with a plunger or by cleaning out the traps, cleaning a sewer line is a little more involved. Special equipment is needed to reach the clog deep in drains, and since it contacts raw sewage, it is easy to contaminate yourself if you aren't careful. That's why you should leave sewer cleaning to the professionals. Just don't wait too long, or your toilet may stop up completely.