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Unexpected Plumbing Problems: What You Should be Maintaining in Your Home: Sewers and Septic Systems

Keep Your Plumbing Clear

Taking care to limit the amount of waste that goes down your drains will prevent clogs and backups regardless of how your wastewater is treated. Never flush anything down the toilet except for human waste and toilet paper. Other paper products, dental floss, diapers, cat liter, packaging, feminine products, and solid trash should never be flushed down a toilet. These items can clog your sewer or septic system, causing a sewage backup inside your home. Additionally, never dispose of fat, oil, or grease down your kitchen sink. Store these cooking byproducts in a tin or glass jar and throw them away with your trash.

man planting a treePlace Trees and Bushes Carefully

The roots of bushes and trees can penetrate sewer lines, septic tanks, and lateral lines to cause backups or flooding. Before you add any landscaping, trees, or other large plants to your yard, make sure you know where your septic system or lateral sewer line are located. Avoid planting trees or bushes near these areas. It’s important to note that some trees can grow large root systems that may penetrate a sewer or septic tank up to 100 feet away. Trees that frequently cause problems include poplars, willows, and fruitless mulberry, Modesto ash, or eucalyptus trees. If you have a septic system, maintain only grass above the leach field to preserve the integrity of the soil.

Inspect and Pump Your Septic Tank Regularly

A septic tank must be pumped at regular intervals to prevent overflow in your yard and the backup of wastewater into your home. Your septic tank should be pumped when it is more than one third full or when the scum layer comprises more than one third of the total volume of wastewater in the tank. Annual professional inspections of your tank will keep you apprised of the tank’s condition and whether you need to schedule pumping service. Most septic tanks require pumping every one to three years, but your individual needs may vary depending upon the occupancy of your home and your average water usage.

Neglect is the number one reason homeowners must schedule septic system or sewer repairs. Keeping these few simple tips in mind will ensure your home’s wastewater is treated safely and efficiently to prevent costly plumbing problems. If you do experience a wastewater backup in your home, avoid trying to handle the situation on your own—call in a professional plumber for help.

Have you ever experienced a sewer or septic tank problem?

  • We’ve had a sewage backup occur—it was terrible!
  • I’ve dealt with the damage caused by questing tree roots
  • Our home has never had any problem—and now I’m going to take steps to make sure we never do!
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