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"How do I know if my sewer or drain pipes need to be cleaned?"
If you detect any of the following issues, chances are that you have a drain pipe problem: Bad Odors – from your drains, or near the outdoor sewer cleanout (outside the home). Drainage Issues – multiple drains in the home are slow, or you are regularly fixing drainage issues in the home. Water Back-up – around the main drain, or in the shower/bath when the shower is not in use. Water Pooling – near the sewer cleanout. Gurgling Sounds – from or near the pipes.
"Should drains and sewer pipes be cleaned regularly?"
In most cases, you can have your sewer pipes cleaned on an as-needed basis. However, there are a few exceptions:
Old Drainage Systems Drain pipes installed before the 1970's may consist of materials like concrete or iron that are prone to tree root intrusion or simple deterioration.
Previous Drain Issues A history of clogs and/or drainage issues may warrant a regular cleaning or inspection schedule.
Some professionals recommend cleaning your drain and sewer pipes every 1-3 years. Contact a local pro to determine what is best for your home.
"Who should I call if I can't fix a sewer pipe clog myself?"
If you believe the problem is within your property lines, you can contact: a general plumber, or, a drain cleaning company that specializes in clearing major blockages, including roots that have broken into the system.
If you go with a general services plumber, make sure they understand the issue as you see it, and have experience with sewer line cleaning and clearing.
If you believe that the issue is outside of your property line, contact your municipality for guidance. The homeowner’s responsibility typically ends at the property line.
"What needs to happen if tree roots have entered a sewer pipe?"
Once tree roots have entered the pipe, the roots will expand and begin blocking debris and waste in the line.
To address the issue, you should contact a sewer rooting company ("rooters"). T hey will use equipment that feeds into the drainage system and breaks down the roots. If breaking down the roots by feeding a rooter into the pipes fails, they may need to dig down and access the pipe directly. In some cases, root damage to pipes is severe enough that the pipes must be replaced.
"What is the difference between rooters and water/hydro jets?"
Traditional rooters feed a steel cable into the home’s drainage system. At the end of the cable is a head with blades that rotate while pushing through the system. These blades cut through and ground up roots and other build-up, allowing what remains to exit the sewer system.
Water/hydro jets use a hose with a nozzle attached to the end of a machine that pressurizes the water. With the water running, the hose and nozzle are fed throughout the drainage system to break up any debris that's blocking the system. This high level of water pressure can break up and/or force through many objects, but isn't always successful with intractable roots.