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Richardson, TX has a robust sewer system made up of nearly 4,000 manholes and 525 miles of collection mains. Several city agencies play an important role in the maintenance of this system, including Utility Operations and the Richardson, TX Street Division. Although these agencies are responsible for installing new sewer lines and repairing blockages at sewer mains, any problem that occurs in your lateral line–the line that connects your home to the public sewer system–is your responsibility. If a problem develops in your lateral line, you’ll need to call a plumbing repair professional to fix it. To prevent sewer backups and keep your sewer system functioning properly, follow these tips.
1. Don’t Flush Anything Other Than Toilet Paper
Toilet paper dissolves in water, making it safe to flush as long as you don’t use too much of it at one time. Flushable wipes also break down eventually, but it takes them much longer than toilet paper to dissolve. Even though they’re marketed as flushable, these wipes often get tangled with other items in the sewer, causing problems that only a Richardson, TX plumbing repair company can solve. For peace of mind, throw so-called flushable wipes in the garbage instead of flushing them.
2. Throw Cooking Grease in the Garbage, Not the Sink
Working with cooking grease can be tricky. Although it starts out as a liquid at room temperature, used grease solidifies once it cools. If you put used cooking oil down the sink while it’s still hot, it will solidify in your pipes, which could cause a serious system blockage. Your best bet is to wait until it cools completely and then wipe it directly into the garbage can. You can also save used cooking grease in a coffee can or other container to be used for cooking additional meals. If you decide to save the grease, pour it into a container before it solidifies.
3. Have a Plumbing Repair Professional Check Your Connections
If you recently moved into a new home, your home inspector should have caught any problems with the plumbing connections. On the off chance that a hidden problem is lurking somewhere in your system, have a plumbing repair professional check the connections thoroughly. If you have a sump pump, French drain or other system used to prevent flooding connected to your lateral line, it will have to be disconnected and installed properly. Connecting flood-control systems to a lateral line allows excess debris to enter the line, causing blockages and other problems to develop.
4. Plan Your Landscaping Carefully
One common plumbing repair problem occurs when tree roots penetrate pipes, creating major blockages that can be expensive to fix. To reduce the risk of root-related problems, consult a landscaping professional before you plant any trees or shrubs. If you plant too close to your lateral line, there’s a good chance the roots will eventually grow enough to penetrate the nearby pipe. To avoid this problem completely, stick with flowers that have shallow roots. The roots won’t grow enough to penetrate your lateral line; as an added bonus, shallow-rooted plants do better in dry conditions.
5. Have Older Pipes Replaced
If you already have trees in your yard, reduce the risk of pipe penetration by having older pipes replaced. Older homes often have pipes made of terra cotta or steel, both of which are vulnerable to root penetration. Terra cotta pipes are porous, and they’re also more likely than other pipes to succumb to the pressure of a tree root pushing against them. After many years in the ground, steel pipes may be corroded, creating small openings where tree roots can make their way into the system. A plumbing repair professional might recommend new pipes made of polyvinyl chloride. PVC pipes aren’t completely impenetrable, but they’re less susceptible to root damage than steel pipes or terra cotta pipes.
6. Perform Annual Maintenance
Don’t wait until your sewer system is clogged before calling a plumbing repair professional. Prevent problems by having a plumber clean the sewer line once per year. These annual cleanings serve two purposes. First, the plumbing repair service will remove leaves and other types of debris from your lateral line, preventing it from getting clogged. Second, it gives you an opportunity to spot small problems before they turn into big ones. If the plumber notices that a tree root is getting too close to the pipes, for example, you can have a landscaper move the tree to a new location or remove it from your yard completely.
7. Have a Plumber Install a Backwater Prevention Valve
A backwater valve allows sewage out of your house but prevents it from coming back in, which can prevent major sewer problems from making a mess out of your basement. Be sure to contact a plumbing repair service rather than attempting to install the valve yourself. Installation can be tricky, and any mistakes could prevent the valve from working as intended, leaving you with a big mess to clean up if you’re affected by a sewer backflow.
8. Act Quickly if You Notice Signs of an Impending Problem
When a problem starts to develop in your sewer line, you may notice some signs of deterioration. One of the most noticeable signs is the smell of sewer gas in or around your home. If you smell sewer gas, there’s a crack somewhere in the system, indicating that a plumber needs to check your sewer pipes immediately. If you have a lawn, keep an eye out for patches of grass that are much greener and healthier looking than the others. You may have sewage seeping out of the system and fertilizing the nearby grass.
If your sewer is clogged, or you need a plumbing repaircompany to perform maintenance to ensure it doesn’t get clogged in the future, contact bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of North Dallas. Our friendly service professionals have the skills and experience needed to keep your sewer functioning properly.