How Often Should Sewer Lines Be Cleaned?

Sink being plunged

The Need for Sewer Line Cleaning 

What can be more frustrating, and embarrassing, than to have the toilet stop up and overflow? Not to mention the nasty mess! Or what if the kitchen sink quits draining because of a grease build-up clog. It happens to all of us at some point in life – we’re either the one the toilet stops up or we’re the one that has to clean up and handle the sewer line cleaning

Does toilet paper clog sewer lines?

There are a few ways that toilet paper will clog a sewer line. First is using too much toilet paper and large amounts of human waste. (You know what we’re talking about). Yes, you want your toilet paper to be comfortable and absorbent, but it needs to be dissolvable too. When it doesn’t dissolve, it creates a blockage, and then you need a sewer line cleaning service. 

Another issue is a sewer line clogged with tree roots. Tree roots seek water, and if they pick up any hint of a small water leak, they will see that water and bust through the sewer line. Then as toilet paper and other matters are flushed, the toilet paper will eventually get snagged on a tree root. 

It’s only a matter of flushes and time before more gets snagged on that root or that toilet paper that is stuck starts blocking other matter from flowing on through. Before you know it, you’re calling a plumber for sewer line cleaning services. 

Then there are the no-no’s of what not to flush down a toilet, yet people will still do it. Disposable diapers are NOT flushable! Feminine sanitary products are not flushable. Nor are facial wipes or paper towels. Any of these will clog up a sewer line fast and you’ll be paying a plumber for a sewer line cleaning job over and over. 

How do you dissolve toilet paper in a sewer line?

Now that you know what will cause sewer lines to clog, with toilet paper being a common issue, we have good news for you! You don’t have to pay for professional plumbing for sewer line cleaning! Yes, there are ways to try and unclog your sewer line yourself, using these following techniques: 

  • A Plunger

Your first effort should be a toilet plunger for sewer line cleaning through the toilet. With both hands, gripping the plunger, press it firmly against the hole in the toilet bowl, and plunge with all the force you can. Usually, this get your sewer line cleaning of toilet paper clogs. 

  • A Plumber’s Snake

When the toilet plunger doesn’t do the trick, try a plumber’s snake. These can be in the kitchen sink, the outside sewer cleanout, the toilet, and the tub. Simply insert the snake in the toilet bowl hole and feed it through until you feel it hit the clog. Start turning the handle, the intention is to get the snake hooked on to whatever is clogging the toilet. Slow pull it out and it should have the clogging matter on the end. You may need to repeat this process 2 or 3 more times. 

  • A Chemical Additive

As a last resort of DIY sewer line cleaning, there are products you can purchase at your local big box home improvement store that are made specifically for dissolving toilet paper. Sometimes you’ll find it marketed as a septic tank additive. Be certain to follow the directions. 

Can you do sewer line cleaning with pressure washer? 

Absolutely! When the plunger, plumber’s snake or chemicals didn’t work for sewer line cleaning, get the power washer out!  You can purchase an attachment (called a sewer jetter) and the high pressure of the water will move through the pipes, breaking the clog up and send them on to the sewer system.

While the front jets are firing that high-pressure water into the clog, the back-firing jets are propelling the hose into the drain and are scrubbing the pipe insides. This method is one of the best for a sewer line clogged with grease, just power wash through the kitchen sink.

How often should sewer lines be cleaned?

The sewer lines for commercial property should have a professional sewer line cleaning every 20 months or so. Residential sewage lines aren’t typically used as heavily, and every 3 to 5 years should be sufficient, unless you have a lot of issues, like tree roots. For older homes with old trees around them, an annual sewer line cleaning is recommended. 

How much is sewer line cleaning?

Professional sewer line cleaning can cost anywhere between $175 and $500, with an average of around $320. If the plumber can accomplish the sewer line cleaning with a professional plumbers’ snake, the cost of that is typically just the service call, averaging around $100 and upward to $250 if after hours, a holiday, or weekends. 

Worker holding pipe and cleaning sewer

In Closing

We have provided you with a few different ways you can do your own sewer line cleaning. By knowing how to clean sewer line clog yourself can be a money saver, especially when these clogs happen on a holiday or weekend! 

Of course, a common question for anything household repair related, “Does homeowners insurance cover the main sewer line?” Technically, the sewer line portion that is on your property, in most policies, is considered “other structure” and will have the same protection as your home. Maybe. 

For instance, if your yard is damaged by an explosion and the sewer line is damaged, then your homeowner’s insurance will cover minus the deductible. If damage is caused by something that was not of your control, it will usually pay. This is something that should be spelled out within your policy. If you aren’t sure you understand the terms, talk to your agent. And if you need sewer line cleaning in Marietta, GA, reach out to BDS Plumbing Solutions Inc by calling at (770) 672-0095.