Although necessary, sewer lines are notorious for having problems. To prevent issues from developing, proper maintenance and care are essential. When a problem does arise, repairs should be done quickly. Depending on the problem and level of severity, the solution might be a DIY fix or require a professional plumber.

5 Common Issues

Listed below are five of the most common problems associated with sewer lines:

1. Worsened Clog – Often, a clog can be cleared easily using a snake, but there are times when a snake can actually worsen the problem. More than likely, the size of the overflow pipe is inadequate to properly clear the branch line. Because of this, the snake itself can become stuck. The resolution is to open up the access panel so the trap can be removed. From there, the branch line can be cleaned.

2. Clean-Out Plug Removal – Sometimes in older homes, removing the clean-out plug is a challenge. Usually, elbow grease is required along with the use of standard tools. For instance, a ball peen hammer and steel chisel can be placed at a 45-degree angle and turned counterclockwise to open the plug. If that fails, a sawzall can be used to chisel through the cast plug surface. After the center is removed, the threads can be pried out with a heavy-duty screwdriver.

3. Tough Clog – Often, major sewer line clogs are caused by tree roots, so no matter how strong a snake is used, roots will not dislodge enough to stop clogging problems. Because of this, it is imperative to hire a professional who possesses the expertise and specialized equipment to scrape roots from the interior of the pipe.

4. Grout Clogs – Old and new grout can create a stubborn clog. A common misconception is that hot water will soften the grout, allowing it to flow freely through pipes. In actuality, grout material is designed to set up in water. Although a snake or reputable product might help, often a professional plumber is the only real solution.

5. Slow Drains – Sinks that drain slowly are another problem. Typically, when more than one drain moves slowly or backs up into another, two lines on one branch are connected prior to going into the main drain. Drains become clogged with hair, hardened toothpaste, soap scum, and other things that build up within the piping. While small clogs can be released with a hand snake, larger or more intense clogs need to be released with an enzyme-type cleaner or handled by a pro.

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