Tips For Dealing With Slow-Running Sewer Lines

Have you recently purchased a new home? Are the drains running slower than you expected? Nobody likes having to deal with slow-running or clogged drains. Here are a few things that you can do to help the situation and keep it from recurring:

Avoid chemical drain openers: Many drain openers contain lye. This caustic chemical can get extremely hot when it reacts with the source of a clog, potentially warping your pipes or otherwise damaging them. If you insist on using chemicals in your sewer cleaning attempts, make sure to follow the directions exactly. You should also only use a little bit at a time. Chemicals will only work on certain types of organic-based clogs and will not work on clogs that are composed of inorganic things like toys that have been flushed down the toilet by a toddler. 

Use enzyme-based cleaners: If your drains have completely stopped up, it's time for a local plumber to perform a sewer cleaning of your drainage line. However, if they're still running very slowly, you may be able to reopen them with a bacterial or enzymatic cleaner. Unlike the usual cleaners based on lye or other harsh chemicals, enzymes and bacteria can slowly eat away at the organic material that is causing the problem. Depending on the product used, grease, hair and food particles can be digested by these types of cleaner. But if your issue is something like live tree roots or dirt in the line, the obstruction or obstructions must be removed manually. One company that might be able to help with this problem is Tierra Environmental & Industrial Services.

Try hot water: If all or part of the clog is made out of kitchen grease and fat, pouring hot water down the drain may melt the grease a little. While this is unlikely to completely remove the clog, it may give you a little more time while waiting for the plumber to arrive. However, melting the fat in your sewer line could actually result in the situation becoming worse and making the clog less water-permeable, so you should reserve this option as a last resort.

Before attempting any type of sewer cleaning yourself, be sure to check with a local plumber. Because different areas of the country are more likely to have certain types of sewer pipe, such as clay or iron, it's important to know that what you're planning will be safe. The plumber will be able to tell you whether what you are planning is likely to damage the line or if your only recourse is to have the line manually snaked out by a professional.