How To Protect Your Main Sewer Pipe

Your main sewer pipe is the pipe that carries all of your home's wastewater into the larger public sewer pipe that runs down your street. Most homeowners don't give their main sewer pipe a lot of thought or consideration until it becomes clogged -- and this is a mistake. Since repairing or replacing a main sewer line is expensive and labor-intensive, it's best to protect your main sewer line and prevent issues. Here's how:

Be careful where you plant trees and shrubs.

A common demise of main sewer lines is having tree roots grow into them, leading to clogs, leaks, and backups. Take a look at your home's blueprints, and figure out where the main sewer line is located. If you don't have blueprints of your home, the local sewer department or planning department should be able to give you this information.

Once you know where your main sewer line is, avoid planting trees or shrubs in that area. Most trees should be planted at least 10 feet from the sewer line, and if you're planting a water-loving tree variety like poplar or willow, you're better off leaving a distance of 20 to 30 feet.

Don't flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper.

Wet wipes, feminine hygiene products, and other items that say "flushable" are not as safe to flush as the label would have you assume. You might be able to flush these things for several years without issue. But if there are the beginnings of a clog in your main sewer line, these items may "stick" to the clogging material. Since they break down so slowly (compared to toilet paper) they'll make the clog larger and may contribute to a complete clog or sewage backup. Play it safe by only flushing human waste and toilet paper -- and make everyone else who uses the bathroom in your home knows this rule, too.

Be careful of what you put down the garbage disposal.

Grinding foods up with the garbage disposal should make them safe to rinse down into the sewer system. However, there is one thing that should still not go down the sink even when you do have a garbage disposal: grease. Grease and greasy foods have a habit of congealing in sewer mains. Once there's a layer of grease stuck to your sewer main, other food particles and toilet paper will stick to the grease and lead to a more extensive clog. Scrape grease and greasy food off into the garbage instead of sending it down the disposal. Your main sewer pipe will thank you. Talk to a sewer company, like Jarrach Cesspools, for more help.