Regular sewer cleaning and maintenance of your Toronto home’s plumbing can help prevent backups. There are two types of backups that can occur, depending on the type of waste system in the home. For those in more rural areas, wastewater drains into a septic tank or leach field. Homes in suburban and urban areas are probably connected to the municipal wastewater disposal system. A septic tank backup means that sewage re-enters the home through the drainage plumbing.
Cleanup is hazardous and costly. Municipal sewer backups usually contain overflow from storm drains and wastewater from homes, which is slightly less hazardous, but can cause extensive, and expensive, damage. There are steps homeowners can take to protect themselves against the inconvenience and costs of backups.
The first thing homeowners should know is that their system is not designed to handle certain materials. Pouring things like fats, oils, and grease down drains will result in buildup over time, and, eventually, clogged pipes, requiring sewer cleaning. Running hot water with grease only pushes it further down the system, which allows the deposits to settle deeper in the pipes. Solvents, paints, and other harsh chemicals can also damage the drainage system and make sewer cleaning more hazardous and costly. Solids, like kitchen scraps, should never be put down drains. Even garbage disposal systems can contribute to the problem if they are overused. Homeowners should consider composting kitchen scraps to avoid overloading the drain system.
The bathroom can be another source of drain clogs. Personal hygiene products, plastics, paper towels, and baby and cleaning wipes should not be flushed. All of these items can become wedged in the system, causing the plumbing to back up. A good rule of thumb to remember is that the toilet is not a wastebasket. An excess of wastewater can cause problems with the drainage system as well. Today’s low-flow toilets pump less excess water into the system. Shorter showers are recommended, as well as turning off the water while using the sink for activities like brushing teeth or shaving.
Not all backups are caused by clogs. Sometimes during a sewer cleaning, a plumber may find that pipes are damaged or broken. Repair or replacement can be costly, so it’s important to avoid damage whenever possible. Trees should not be planted near lateral lines to prevent root intrusion. Care should be taken when digging or moving heavy equipment. A regular inspection of the lawn should provide clues to the condition of the pipes. A crack in a drainpipe may cause wet spots in the lawn, and the grass may grow more green and lush over a cracked pipe, due to the nutrients released into the soil from the waste leaking out. Homeowners should contact a professional immediately if they suspect a cracked or broken sewer pipe.
By taking some basic precautions, homeowners can extend the life of their plumbing systems and prevent backups and leaks. With proper care and regular sewer cleaning and inspection, the drainage system in a home should last for many years.
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