Dealing with a clogged sewer line can be a nightmare. A large clog in this area can make your home’s plumbing unusable. If the line is completely clogged and you try to shower, use the toilet or even wash your hands, you could end up with nasty sewage water backing up. It could potentially overflow out of your floor drains, showers, and even your toilets. A severe clog can also lead to increased pressure inside a sewer line, potentially causing it to rupture and start leaking. If the sewer line were to break, you may need to have your yard dug up and the line replaced.
If you suspect that your sewer line is clogged, it is important that you contact a professional plumbing company to schedule a service appointment as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will get. It’s always best to act immediately. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for you to clear a clogged sewer line on your own as it requires special equipment. Here is a full overview of exactly what is involved when a plumber comes to evaluate and clean a sewer line.
Sewer Line Inspection
The first step to clearing a clogged sewer line is to inspect the pipe using a camera. Inspecting the pipe is important for locating the clog and determining the cause of the problem. Knowing the cause is important as this will dictate what method the plumber will use to clear the line. If the pipe is completely blocked and filled with wastewater, it may be necessary to use a rooter machine to poke a hole through the clog. This will allow the pipe to drain before inspecting it.
The most common cause of sewer line clogs is flushing things down the toilet that shouldn’t be there. This includes paper towels, diapers, feminine hygiene products, wet wipes, paper towels, hair clumps, and more. This is often a problem in homes with young children.
Putting a lot of fat, oil, and grease down the sink can also create major issues. They can solidify and stick to the pipes, which creates a sticky blob that can trap other solids. If the clog is caused by any of these issues, a rooter machine can break up the clog so that the pipe will drain freely.
Tree roots are another common cause of sewer line issues. Tiny roots can get into the sewer line through the joints where different pieces of pipe connect. Larger roots can also break the pipe and get inside as they grow out in search of water and nutrients. Once the roots are inside the pipe, they will grow much larger and start to take over. The water and waste flowing through the pipe act as fertilizer and nourishment for the roots. If the inspection determines that you have a lot of larger roots in your sewer line, hydro jetting is a preferred option for clearing the clog.
That being said, there are times when both rooting and hydro jetting together may be necessary. The rooter machine will first break up the clog and allow any waste and water in the pipe to drain. Then the pipe will be hydro jetted to cut through and wash away all the roots.
The easiest way to access the pipe for the camera inspection and to clean it is through the sewer cleanout located outside the home near the foundation. If your home is older and still has the original plumbing, it may not have any sewer cleanouts. In this case, the only option will be to either remove a toilet to access the sewer line or go in through the vent stack on your roof. Both of these options will make the job much more difficult, which is why we would highly recommend having sewer cleanouts installed if your home doesn’t already have them.
A rooter machine is a blade that is connected to a long cable. The cable is connected to a powerful motor that spins the cutting blade so that it can easily cut and break through any existing clogs. The blade is spring-loaded, which means that it expands to the exact dimension of the pipe. This allows it to completely remove any fats, solids, and blockages. When the blade spins, it acts like a drill bit that breaks through the clog and completely clears anything stuck to the walls of the pipe.
When using a rooter machine, the plumber will insert the cable and blade into the pipe until it reaches the clog and can’t go any further. They will then turn the motor on so the blade spins and cuts through any solids. If the sewer line is completely clogged and filled with water, it is usually necessary to use a smaller auger first to poke through the clog so that the water can drain. The larger blade is then used to shave the insides of the pipe clean and remove any small roots and solids.
Once the plumber has cleared the line and pulled the cable and blade back out of the pipe, they will check to make sure there is no mud on the cable. If there is mud on the cable, it indicates that you have a major sewer breach. It’s likely that you will need to have the sewer line repaired or replaced.
Hydro jetting works by spraying a powerful blast of water down the sewer line. The stream of water is so powerful that it can easily slice through large tree roots and wash them out of the pipe. This process involves running a long, flexible hose through the sewer line. As the hose travels through the line, the high-pressure stream of water will blast away any solid waste. It slices through roots so that the line is completely clean.
Hydro jetting is always the best option when large roots are present. Trying to cut through thick roots with a rooter machine can be extremely dangerous. Hydro jetting is also more effective than rooting, as a rooter only breaks up the clog. Hydro jetting will also wash all of the debris out of the pipe to prevent it from clogging again. There are some situations where hydro jetting may not be an option as it could damage the pipe. For instance, if your sewer line is old, poorly sealed, or made from PVC, hydro jetting isn’t a good option.
If you’re dealing with a clogged sewer line, Laury Heating Cooling & Plumbing is ready to help. We specialize in drain and sewer line cleaning as well as sewer line repair and replacement. With locations in Pennsville and Vineland, we serve customers throughout southern New Jersey. Our team is ready to take care of your plumbing, heating, or air conditioning needs. Give us a call today to schedule a service appointment.