Sewer Lines and Main Drains

How do drain lines work?
• All drain pipes must be connected or linked to a network of ventilation pipes that go up the roof. Ventilation help prevent sewer gases from getting out of drains and living quarters.

It is highly recommended by experts that a sewer should be inspected by a drain camera before purchasing a home. The inspector should make sure that the venting pipes are present.

• Majority of plumbing drain fixtures have curved pipes called ‘traps’ or sections of drain pipes that hold or handle a little water that forms an airtight or very tight seal that keeps foul gases in the drain and out of the home. This pipe section can be easily removed when clearing clogs.

• Toilets have their own traps that keep standing water in the bowl. Toilet drains have the largest drain pipes in the entire drainage system of homes.

• All the drains of a house meet below the house in the main drain that carries wastewater to the local sewer lines or the septic system. The clean-out access is in the crawlspace or basement and is usually a y-shaped piped.
Clogs in the sewer lines may not be noticeable but they can cause extensive damage to homes.

Sanitary sewers versus Storm sewers
The two types of sewer systems in most homes include the stormwater systems and the sanitary sewers. Stormwater drains or systems carry and bring rainwater, road runoff, and groundwater to open bodies of water like streams, rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans. Sewers made for sanitation purposes, on the other hand, carry wastewater from commercial and residential buildings to water treatment facilities where the contaminants in the water is removed.

Since the 1930s, sanitary drains and storm drains have been separately installed to prevent cross-contamination. In most homes, the home’s drainage system is usually connected or linked to the city’s sewer system by a concealed underground drain pipe or otherwise known as the lateral line. This pipe is usually 10.16 to 15.24 cm in diameter and is installed at a slope to make use of gravity in letting water flow.

The size of the house’s drainpipes is usually determined by the amount of water flow possible and the type of water material that goes into it. Bathroom sinks usually have lower volume and little solids in the water. These pipes are usually 1 ¼ inches in diameter. While bathtub, kitchen sink drains and washing machine drains carry larger volumes of water with food and other solids in kitchen sinks. Therefore, larger pipes are necessary. These pipes should at least need to be 1 ½ inch in diameter.

Plumbing beneath or underneath the house is usually large enough to accept or take in water flow from any home drain fixture. Pipes two inches in diameter are most common. These drainpipes flow out the toilet drain and exit the building. Toilet drains are usually the largest drains and they should match the line that goes to the city’s sewer system.

Clogged Drain Pipes
Blocked drains can often be fixed easily if they are confined to specific fixtures like a sink drain or a toilet. However, if all drains are affected, or if there are warning signs like water is not going down the drains or if the water is backing up in another, this means that the main drain is blocked or clogged. When you are experiencing such a problem, it is best to call a blocked drain plumber who specialises in cleaning drains.

If the blockage is caused by something that was flushed down the toilet, it is best to clear the blocked drain with a plumber’s auger or drain snake. If the cause of the clog is tree roots, there might be a need to replace the broken pipes through an excavation project.

When sewer lines become clogged or if damages occur, the homeowner’s responsibility starts at the connection point to the city’s sewer system which includes the lateral lines and all drain plumbing in the house. Repairs, unclogging and maintenance of these lines should be done by the homeowner with the help of a drain cleaning service or experts.

Indoor pipes might be easier to repair, while underground lines need specialised equipment, tools, and the help of a professional drain cleaning expert to fix the problem.

Trenchless Sewer lines
When there are leaks or punctures in the sewer lines and needs to be repaired, this can be a messy job. However, some owners opt for a trenchless sewer repair that requires little digging.
The repair makes use of a fiberglass tube that is coated with epoxy resin. The tube is inserted into the punctured, broken or damaged pipe and is blown up like a balloon. After some time, the epoxy hardens, and a pipe is created within a pipe. This repair costs thirty to fifty percent more than conventional excavation or digging. It is best for pipes under decks and stone patios built over the path of the sewer line.

Preventing and avoiding sewer lines from clogging
Preventive maintenance can save a homeowner thousands of dollars in potential damages. Do not flush items like gauze, cotton swabs, tampons, diapers, paper towels, maxi pads, and other heavier materials because they are not designed to break down easily.

If you are purchasing a home inspect the sewer lines before buying. Consider examining the pipes with a drain camera to determine the pipe condition. Have tree roots cleared if they are beginning to grow inside drain pipes and before they cause bigger problems. Consider having insurance policies that will cover sewer line repairs.

If you need professional help on a unblocking a toilet or blocked drains, contact the blocked drain experts on 0412 738 874 or leave a message.

Helpful details for a Blocked Drain and Emergency Plumber situation:

Triple zero – 000
City of Melbourne – Floods and Storms
Yarra Valley Water
Victoria State Emergency Service

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