Your Home’s Sewer System

Your Complete Guide

Your home sewage system is an integral and very important part of your home’s plumbing system. However,  many homeowners don’t often think about it until a problem occurs. 

Here at Barker and Sons, we want to ensure that every household is doing all they can to limit their need for sewer repairs. From how it works, to preventative tips, here’s your resource for all things sewer related: 

The 3 Main Components of a Home Drainage System

Your draining system is a staple in your home and one that has brought convenience to us for many years. But are you fully aware of how it works? It first starts off with 3 main components:

  • Ventilation Pipes: Would you have guessed that some of the most important parts of your plumbing don’t even carry water? When it comes to draining sewage from your home, having adequate ventilation allows stinky odors and toxic sewer gases to be carried up and out of your home.
  • Curved Traps: Take a look at the plumbing for your toilets and sinks, you’ll notice that the pipes directly underneath form an S or a P shape. The purpose of this is to keep a tight water seal between the opening of your drain and the piping itself, keeping smelly odors out. In toilets, these traps also keep standing water in the toilet, so an empty bowl could mean a trap problem.
  • Main Drain: All drain pipes in your home come together and meet just below your house, at the main drain. Here, wastewater is carried out to your municipal sewer lines or septic system, depending on which one is used in your area.

If you’re purchasing a home, make sure to have a qualified plumbing inspector evaluate the home’s sewer line and drainage system before you sign on that dotted line. Though they can be repaired, plumbing problems can be a huge and costly inconvenience if not handled properly from the start.

Do Your Part to Prevent The Need for  Sewer Repairs

Now that you know a bit about how your system works, now it’s time to consider a few extra prevention tips to keep them free from damage: 

Keep grease out of your drain. Grease will harden in your pipes and trap other particles from moving freely through the drains.

Keep flushable wipes out of the toilet. Regardless of what the label says, these things are pretty indestructible and can wreck your entire sewer system.

Keep hair from going down the shower drain. Whether you buy yourself a handy little strainer or simply collect all hair strands at the end of each shower and throw them in the trash, you want to be conscious of where stray hair is going and keep it from gathering up inside the drains.

Keep tree roots away from your sewer lines. Tree roots can grow right into your sewer line, causing pipes to break, crack, and run improperly. Avoid this by keeping an eye on root growth and planting new trees a minimum of 10 feet from the mainline.

Don’t flush foreign objects. From baby wipes and paper towels, to tissues, q-tips and even clumps of hair. We know it may seem tempting, but keep anything other than toilet paper out of the bowl – even if they claim to be flushable! Read our full list of household items that commonly cause drain & sewer clogs.

Be particular with your toilet paper. To bounce off the above, be careful when restocking your roll. Sure, that super soft triple-ply name-brand might seem like a dream, but it will also make your plumbing more susceptible to clogging.

The Warning Signs to Look Out For

Though prevention is something everyone should practice, issues can occur, and often leave us subtle and not so obvious signs before they do. Here’s what to look out for: 

  • When toilets, tubs, and sinks are experiencing problems at the same time.
  • You notice certain plumbing fixtures are being affected by the use of others.
  • You hear a gurgling sound in your toilets and or drains.
  • Obvious drainage at the clean-out.
  • Trees/roots near your sewer lines.
  • You notice a sour smell in or around your home.

Sewer Clean Out 

When you have a major plumbing problem in the home, a sewer cleanout can be a big help. Your sewer cleanout may not be easy to find, but it’s an extremely important installation that allows you to keep your sewer line clean. Move your bushes around and you might discover a white or black pipe with a removable cap. If you spot one, you’re in luck!

Made up of the main body and a threaded cap, a sewer cleanout is built to prevent clogs and debris. Typically, they are at least six inches in diameter, which means it takes a lot to block them up. To do so on your own, here are a few steps below: 

  1. Begin the search by looking for a sewer cap or cleanout cap in the front of your yard. As you go, be sure to look under and behind bushes, since these caps aren’t always obvious at first glance. If you still can’t find it, don’t leave the front of your home without inspecting the space near your home’s foundation.
  2. Should your sewer cleanout fail to be in your front yard, dedicate some time to checking out the sides of your home. More specifically, take a look at the exterior under and around your bathrooms.
  3. If your sewer cleanout is nowhere to be found outdoors, venture inside and take a look around your toilets. Although this isn’t common, there are some homes that have the cleanout inside rather than outside.

When it all comes down to it, finding your home’s sewer cleanout can be rather difficult, so don’t get discouraged if you can’t find it the first time around – we can help. 

Why inspect sewage lines?

If a sewer line is damaged, then the pipe may need to be excavated. So, it’s a smart idea to have your sewage lines inspected regularly to catch any problems before it’s too late. Barker & Sons offers non-invasive inspections that include a camera inspection of your sewer line.

How can sewage line problems be fixed?

Cleaning sewage drains may sound like a nasty process. However, Barker & Sons’ services include Trench-less No-Dig solutions, Bio-Clean (Green Cleaning), and high-pressure water jetting to get sewer pipes open and flowing. Our repair and replacement of sewer and drain pipes is backed by a full warranty.

If you believe your home is having sewage problems, give us a call. Barker and Sons plumbers in Orange County can give your sewage line a thorough inspection and help protect your family and your home from dangerous and damaging sewage spills.