Sewer line maintenance and inspections are inarguably one of the most overlooked areas of home maintenance known to man. Buried beneath the ground, sewer lines, for the average homeowner, are simply “out of sight, out of mind.” While neglecting this area of upkeep may seem like a low-risk error, a laissez-faire approach could have devastating consequences. Before proposing a better way, let’s take a look at a few of the myriad problems that could be brewing beneath the surface.
Old Materials – New Problems
These days you probably aren’t spending much time in a local video rental store, playing your favorite song on a cassette or 8-track tape, or placing many calls from a pay phone. That being said, the technology in your home may not be as up to date as you think. Over the years, sewer line technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, but that doesn’t mean old technology isn’t still out there waiting to fail. Clay sewer pipes have a long history, perhaps even dating back to 4000 BC! No doubt a revolutionary advancement in the plumbing world, clay sewer pipes began to be phased out in the 1960’s and 70’s. Amazingly, some clay pipe systems in America can still be found completely functional though installed over 100 years ago! While they served their purpose, the fact of the matter is that clay sewer pipes can age and crumble and have a low tensile strength, which means they can snap under extreme pressure. Even if your home does not have clay pipes, perhaps it was manufactured with Orangeburg pipe (fiber conduit) or early versions of thin-walled PVC. Both of these products were found to be thin, brittle, and notorious for issues of longevity and dependability.
At Heiland Home Services, we insist on respecting our customers and treating their homes as if they were our own, which has earned us the reputation of “Bringing Quality Back to the Trades.” Unfortunately, not everyone takes as much pride in their workmanship. It isn’t just old homes with outdated technology that experience sewer line problems. Problems in modern homes generally occur due to plumbing errors or lack of attention to detail in your system’s installation. Failure to properly glue PVC joints can create big problems down the road. Over-compacted soil around the line can stress and crack your sewer line. Bellied pipes with incorrect slope can create an area for waste to converge. In a perfect world, everyone would take the utmost pride in their work and these wouldn’t be problems. Then again… we don’t live in a perfect world!
The ”Root” of the Issue
Mother nature can be beautiful to look at, but difficult to manage. The most common enemy of your home’s sewer line is tree roots. After all, what is the job of a root? To seek, absorb, and transport water and minerals from the soil to the tree. And what is your sewer line primarily carrying? Water! Any gap, crack, or leak in a sewer line is just the opportunity a tree root is looking for to grow into that wet, damp space and tap into a consistent source of water. As the growing root breaks apart your sewer line, you may notice standing water on the surface of your lawn, spongy gras, or unpleasant odors. Beneath the surface, the tree root is slowly balling up or following and filling your sewer line, restricting it from doing its job of transporting waste from your home.
Believe it or not, these are only a few of the potential problems that could be affecting your home’s wastewater management system. We haven’t even gone into detail about the potential for pipe corrosion, foundation shifting, or the effects on your sewer line from excess rainwater or sinkholes.
While we could talk for days, let’s instead cut to the chase… You are probably not a sewer line expert, nor do you most likely want to be one. That’s where we at Heiland Home Services come in. When it comes to your home’s sewer lines, “it’s all about who you know.” Do yourself a favor and contact us today to schedule a sewer line inspection or regularly scheduled maintenance. Don’t wait for your system to begin working poorly or an expensive back up to cause a nasty flood with serious damage!