5 Easy Tips For At-Home Drain and Sewer Maintenance

Your home’s sewer and drain system is not something that should be taken for granted. In fact, it’s one of the most important systems within your home. But, somehow or another, homeowners everywhere seem to neglect their drains and sewers and only think about it once problems arise. Well, if you like big repair bills, the #1 way to make sure you wind up with one is to do absolutely nothing with regard to drain and sewer maintenance. That is the underlying issue after all. It’s not that people purposefully neglect their drains and sewers, it’s more that they just don’t know what proper drain and sewer maintenance actually is.

Bob Oates Plumbing, Sewer, and Rooter has been providing impeccable Sewer repair in Seattle for nearly 20 years. They’ve seen the full gamut of issues, from a simple clogged drain to a complete sewer line overhaul with trenches dug deep into the customer’s yard - if there’s one thing they know, it’s sewer repair and maintenance. Here are 5 easy tips for at-home drain and sewer maintenance courtesy of Bob Oates’ Plumbing, Sewer, and Rooter!

1. Never, Ever Pour Grease or Fat Down the Drain

Grease goes in the trash, plain and simple! Grease, even when it’s piping hot, will eventually collect and harden within your sewer line, which can lead to clogs, or worse, ruptures. Whatever state it’s in, whether it’s hard or soft, you should always avoid putting grease down the drain. We know it might seem convenient and harmless in the moment, but the problems that a grease-ridden sewer system can cause can be pretty costly.

If losing the convenience of pouring grease down your sink is too much for you, you should opt for a grease receptor. Since grease is lighter than water, a receptor will trap most of the grease while allowing water to freely flow to your sewer line. If you’re after a more low-tech solution, you can do one of three things: 1) wipe up grease with a paper towel 2) collect it in a jar 3) wait until it’s cool and scrape it off. In any of these scenarios, the grease is going in the trash.

Now, if grease somehow makes it’s way into your drain by accident, pour a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and some boiling water down the drain to help clear it out.

2. Treat Your Toilet Nicely

According to Bob Oates, almost everyone mistreats their toilet in some way or another. You heard it here first: toilets are not trash cans, but if you treat it like it one, then you’re bound to run into some expensive issues. The only things that are meant to be flushed are human waste and toilet paper. Anything else is trash!

Your toilet can clog fairly easily, so if keep flushing things that you’re not supposed to, you’ll eventually have to break out the plunger and get to work. But really, a simple toilet clog is the least of your concerns. Sometimes unflushable items can make their way past the toilet and clog up the sewer line itself, resulting a sewer cleaning or repair that’s far costlier and much more inconvenient than your typical toilet clog.

Also, you should avoid using a chemical de-clogger when dealing with a particularly stubborn toilet clog. Start with the trusty plunger, if that doesn’t work, you can try fishing a wire hanger down the drain to try and break the clog’s seal and relieve some pressure. Aside from that, your best option is consult a professional plumber to avoid causing more harm.

3. Use Enzyme-based Drain Cleaners Once a Month

One of the biggest aspects of sewer and drain maintenance centers on cleaning. Sewer cleaning and inspection in Seattle is one of Bob Oates’ core services, and they can attest that regular cleaning, whether on your own or professionally conducted, is the best longterm method for maintaining your drains and avoiding a costly repair in the future.

The professionals are obviously there for a reason - they do it better. But if you’re going to commit to cleaning your drains regularly on your own, you should definitely opt for a natural Enzyme-based drain cleaner. There are plenty of different cleaners available, but enzyme-based drain cleaners are recommended as chemical cleaners are often harsh and harmful to the environment, and your pipes.

Yes, using drain cleaners frequently is the best method for preventative maintenance on your own, but remember a chemical cleaner can harm your pipes and cause further issues down the road, and drain cleaners in general are useless for clogs that you’re currently dealing with.

4. Be Careful When Dealing with Clogs

It was just stated but it bears repeating: you should never use a drain cleaner to fix a completely stopped clog. Take it from the experts - it doesn’t work and often causes more harm than good. Unfortunately, when it comes to a clogged toilet or drain, people tend to get a little desperate and they might try some pretty ridiculous stuff to try and remedy it. Of course, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re bound to cause more harm than good, and you’ll wind up with a much more expensive problem than you began with.

Plus, the traditional DIY methods for dealing with a clogged drain or toilet or plenty effective - there’s no reason you should try and reinvent the wheel. Boiling water, vinegar, and baking soda is a great method for dealing with sink or shower clogs, and a plunger should suffice for your typical toilet clog. If you can’t deal with your clog with one of these low-tech methods, it’s probably time to call a professional.

5. Make Sure You Have Your Sewers Inspected Regularly

The #1 way to maintain your drains and sewers, and to avoid costly repairs in the future, is to have your sewers and drains regularly inspected by a certified professional. You may think you know what you’re doing, you may think your sewer is operating just fine, but trust us, you’re better off at having your sewers inspected, cleaned, and maintained by those who know what they’re doing. Nowadays, plumbers can inspect sewer lines using video sewer inspections, allowing them to quickly assess the issue and provide a quote. Furthermore, if it turns out that you do need a sewer repair, many professional plumbers in Seattle now offer trenchless sewer repair, which allows them to effectively repair and extend the life of your sewer, without having to dig up your yard.

The professionals at Bob Oates can handle every aspect of your sewer line maintenance - cleaning, inspection, repairs, they do it all, at the right price. Bob Oates has been servicing the greater Seattle area for nearly 20 years. They truly care about your home’s plumbing performance and regardless of your particular issue, they’ll work with you to find the most cost-effective, long-term solution.

Thank you for reading!

Austin Schneider | austin.schneider@rsir.com | Realogics Sotheby's International Realty