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How to Maintain a Sewer Line


A flushing toilet

Sewers are meant to carry waste in any form from a point where it is not wanted to a place where it can be treated or disposed of; but what exactly is considered waste? The most obvious that comes to mind is water and waste from a toilet. But dirty dishwater from the kitchen sink, discharge from the washing machine, water from a shower or lavatory drain are all classified as waste that will need to be transported for treatment by sewer lines, in the interest of public health and safety. Learn more about how to maintain your sewer line below.


7 Tips to Keep Your Sewer Line Clean:


Limit Food Down the Kitchen Drain: Most food waste is heavier than other waste normally intended for the sewer line, therefore food waste does not flow out or through the line as easily and can easily gather in the line. The top foods to avoid putting down the kitchen drain line are:

  • Stringy or fibrous foods (ex., corn husks, potato peels)

  • Fats, oils and grease (FOG)

  • Egg shells

  • Coffee grounds

  • Starchy foods (ex., pasta, rice, beans)


Properly Dispose of Non-Food Items: Smaller items such as dental floss, rubber bands, hair twist ties, cigarette butts, hair etc., should never be flushed down toilets or drains. These items cannot break down enough to flush completely through the plumbing system. Since they are rigid materials, they can get caught in the line, catch and gather on other remnants leading to a blockage.


Paper-type products: Wipes for adults and toddlers, extra-thick toilet paper, tampons, paper towels, sanitary pads and other items labeled ‘flush-able’, can eventually get caught up in sewer pipes. You are strongly encouraged to never flush the aforementioned items. Note that one-ply toilet paper breaks up much faster than “soft, extra-thick or plush” toilet paper brands. If you choose a two-ply brand, look for one with the “septic and sewer safe” symbol.


Flush the Plumbing System: For maintenance each month, flush your system. Fill all or most of the water holding devices in the home including the washing machine (with no clothes or detergent inside), bathtubs and sinks to full capacity with cold water then drain all at once. While these are draining go around and flush all the toilets as quickly as possible.


Set Toilets to High Volume Flush: Newer, low-volume (“low-flush”, “low-flow” or “high-efficiency”) toilets are not always advisable when significant low areas or a negative slope has been identified by a good camera system. Although the average plumbing system will work fine with today’s low-flush toilets, we suggest you consider: the age of the sewage system, if there are identifiable problems such (ex., low areas) that already exist in the main sewer pipe before installing low-volume toilets, and scheduling a sewer line camera inspection before performing a bathroom remodeling project and/or changing out your toilets.


Tend to Your Roots: If roots tend to grow in your sewer line, make sure to hire an expert to mechanically clean the line at least once a year with a 3″ to 4″ blade. Ask your professional to clean the line, not just clear the line. Additionally, if you’re planning a landscape project or replacing trees in your yard, you should consider what types of trees to plant and where.


Naturally Clean Your Plumbing System: Drano and Liquid Plumber are considered harsh chemical cleaners and are very hard on most pipes, not environmentally friendly, and can be considered a short-term solution to a potentially long-term problem (if not treated correctly). Experts recommend using Bio-Clean Ultimate Drain Cleaning Kit which is a safe blend of bacteria and enzymes that can be used to regularly clean and maintain your plumbing system. We carry this product on our trucks for our customers to purchase.


If you need to schedule or discuss a video sewer line inspection, turn to Action Drain & Plumbing, one of the most respected local businesses in Spokane, WA. We have been in business for 40+ years and are able to provide the precise, highly efficient services you need to keep all of your plumbing functioning at its best. We provide a full range of services related to your pipes, from thorough unclogging, rootering, sewer inspections to leak repair, part replacement, water heater repair, sump pump repair and trenchless sewer line repair.


Én kommentar


Helen Orton
Helen Orton
07. des. 2023

Thank you Action Drain for the fast and excellent service you did for us. My washer was backing up and draining all over the floor..William came out and ran a line to the sewer, and also sent in the camera. He then did the standing pipe for the washer where the clog was. He got it going and I was so happy. We are both in our late 70"s and William explained everything and was so very kind explaining to us ..He is a asset for your company and I had never used your company before but you now have a customer for all my plumbing needs. I will let all my friends and family know what a great co…


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