Home Repair Tips – Sewage Systems

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Plumbing    by: ITC

Sewage lines have only two parts:

• Drain pipes

• Vents

Fixtures drain into a straight pipe which empties into a larger pipe. The larger line is made of 4- to 8-inch pipes laid on a slant to carry water and waste into the sewer.

Vent pipes are installed at each drain to let air into the system. Without vents, water would drain very slowly and be pulled out of the traps. Vents also release sewer gas above the level of the house.

To clean a clogged vent, inspect the vent at the roof. Sometimes birds build nests in vents. If that is the case, it is simply a matter of removing the nest. You may have to run a rod or auger down the vent to clear it. Use a cone- shaped cover to keep things from falling in the vent pipe.

Sewer lines have one or more clean- out plugs that can be removed. If the clog is near the clean- out you may be able to remove it with a wire or sewer rod. Sometimes a garden hose will work if the water is turned on full force. You can also use an auger. Heavy-duty ones up to 100 feet long can be rented.

The drain system is set up to remove waste quickly and thoroughly. Vertical pipes are placed as straight as possible. Horizontal pipes are slanted toward the sewer.

Air vents keep water in the traps and help speed up drainage. They also release sewer gas.

Occasionally tree roots are attracted to the water in a leaking sewer line and grow into the pipe. You can clear the line with a motorized, heavy-duty auger. First estimate the distance from the center of the street (where the main sewer line is) to the cleanout plug that is most distant. This is the length of the rooter you will need. Feed the cable until it meets the roots. Then feed slowly as the blade cuts the roots. Flush with a garden hose and run the rooter through again. Remove the rooter and replace the cleanout plug.

Cleanout plugs provide access to drain lines. If water leaks out when you open the plug, the clog is farther along the line. If water does not run out, the clog is between the fixture and the cleanout.

An auger or snake may be used to break up the clog. A power auger is needed to clear tree roots from a sewer line. Estimate the distance to the main sewer line so you will have an idea of when the rooter has run the entire length of sewer pipe.

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