Skip to content

Here’s what you should do to care for your home’s sewer line

Chances are that you don’t spend much time at home thinking about your sewer line. Most of the time, the sewer line is out-of-sight and out-of-mind. However, sewer line problems can result in expensive headaches for homeowners. In this article, we’ll review what you can do to care for and protect your home’s sewer line, including preventing clogs and guarding the line against tree roots.

Watch what you put down the sink

Unfortunately, many homeowners have gotten into the habit of treating their kitchen sink like a trash can. After all, the garbage disposal makes this a convenient way to get rid of waste. However, not everything should go down the sink. In fact, certain food waste has a propensity for getting trapped deep in the sewer line, where it can start to form a clog.

Sewer line clogs are bad news. As the clog begins to impede the flow of wastewater to the municipal sewer, all your home’s drains begin draining more slowly. When the clog reaches the point where it constricts the entire line, there’s the potential for a sewer backup event. When this happens, wastewater can no longer exit the home ecosystem. What goes down, unfortunately, must come back up. The result can be a disgusting and devastating flooded home, costing thousands in potential repairs and mold remediation work.

You can do your part to avoid a sewer line clog by disposing of these particular items in the trash, not down the sink:

  • Oils
  • Grease
  • Eggshells
  • Rice
  • Produce Stickers
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Flour
  • Potato Peels

Clear out the shade trees

Your front yard trees and bushes might look nice, but they could pose an imminent threat to your home’s sewer line. First, figure out where the line runs from your home to the municipal sewer underneath the street. You can typically do this by tracing a line from the sewer line drainout to the street. Next, determine if there are any trees within the immediate vicinity. As a general rule of thumb, you want to have ten feet clear on each side of the line to prevent tree roots from getting close to it. However, every tree and bush is different: some with faster-growing, more aggressive roots may need to be relocated even if they’re more than ten feet away.

The consequences of having trees close to the line could be severe. Here in Albuquerque, tree roots are ever-thirsty for valuable water and nutrients. Even the smallest leak in the line will begin to attract nearby roots to grow toward this life-sustaining source. Eventually, the roots—looking to absorb the most-possible liquid—grow either around or into the line. This can either exacerbate an existing leak or lead to a clogged sewer line.

When it comes to nearby trees, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By preemptively relocating nearby trees to other parts of your yard, you may save yourself and your home from a sewer line nightmare down the road.

Schedule a sewer line inspection

The plumbers here at Wagner have professional-grade tools we use to inspect and assess the state of local sewer lines. Arguably, the most useful of these tools is the endoscopic camera. Essentially, this is a tiny camera attached to a snake tool. During a sewer line inspection, we feed this snake down one of your drains and into the sewer line. As the snake is pushed further into the line, we can watch through video to visually inspect for any cracks, clogs, or other problems.

A sewer line inspection doesn’t always have to be something that gets scheduled once you know you have a problem. In fact, it’s a great preventative maintenance step. Since many clogs—whether caused by grease or tree roots—form slowly over time, a camera inspection can determine if there is a growing problem that needs to be preemptively dealt with. Our plumbers can then use specialized tools to clear the forming clog before it completely blocks the line and causes a sewer line backup.