Never thought much about the pipes that carry your waste away? If you are like most, once something goes down the drain it’s out of sight and out of mind. So why is it so important to pay attention to the health of your pipes and sewer? From your house to the street, sewer system health is your responsibility. We’ll lay out some tips and recommendations for keeping your sewer system in tip top shape.
Down the Drain or Not
There are several things you should avoid putting down your drains or flushing down the toilet. Here are some common items that should never go down the drain.
- Greasy products, such as meat fats and cooking oils, can solidify in the pipes and form a greasy ball that will clog up municipal sewers. Always throw these away rather than pouring them down the sink.
- Bulky amounts of food or stringy and fibrous veggies can also clog up your plumbing, so it’s better trash or compost depending on what you have available.
- Hair is another big one to avoid, as it can clog up the immediate use of your drain.
To Flush or Not to Flush?
These items should never go into the toilet, even if they say flushable on the packaging it’s still safer to throw them in the garbage.
- Items like feminine products, diapers, baby wipes, and paper towels do not disintegrate quickly enough or at all. These items clog sewer systems badly and can cause difficult backups.
- Q-tips. Although Q-tips are small, they also do not disintegrate quickly enough and if they flush the wrong way they can become wedged in your pipes and you may have a clogged toilet on your hands.
- Dental floss, like grease, can form into a ball with other flushed items and create backups.
- Bars of soap are flushed more often than you might think. Bars of soap are bulky and often get trapped in the small pipes, causing your toilet to overflow and putting pressure on the sewer system.
Tree roots are often an unseen danger to sewer system health. Some tree roots can become extremely forceful in their pursuit of water and can run into your pipes. If a tree root breaks a pipe open, it can fill the waterway full of roots and dirt, preventing water flow and creating costly damages. Keep an eye on the trees in your yard and where the roots are positioned, and contact an arborist before you plant any new trees or shrubs in your yard.