What You need to Know about Sewage Main Drains

Unfortunately, as it is not visible, the main drain can be something most people don’t know a lot about. Many homeowners don’t consider their home’s sewer pipes until there’s a problem–usually a sewer drain clog.

Here are a few commonly asked questions concerning a home’s sewer main drain.

How is a sewer main drain clog fixed?

Although a drain snake is generally used to locate and break up a clog in a branch drain line, a clog in the sewer main drain is a more serious problem, requiring the use of a sewer drain snake used through a key clean-out fitting. In circumstances where there is no clean-out, the process of clearing a sewer stoppage is significantly more difficult and will often require a professional plumber.

How do I know if I have a clean-out?

The only way to learn if you have a clean-out is to start looking for it. Houses are constructed differently, so sewer clean-outs can be found in various places. Sewer clean-out is generally quite inconspicuous. Additionally, a clean-out that is located outside can become hidden by landscaping as time passes. When trying to find the sewer clean-outs, the first place to look is close to the bathroom. In houses with basements, the principal clean-outs are often set into the concrete slab, close to the foundation walls. As soon as you know where to search it isn’t too tricky to discover the sewer clean-outs if you’ve got them.

What if I do not have a clean-out?

A clean-out is very important, particularly if you have sewer drain clogs often. If you don’t have one, you might consider having a main clean-out installed. Not only is it cheaper to have your main line snaked, but it may also function as a release when the main line is backed up, allowing water to leak outside instead of flooding the interior of the house.

What if the primary drain line can’t be cleared?

If you’ve tried using a sewer drain snake yourself without success, you might want to call a professional plumber. If the plumber tells you they tried to snake out the primary line and it can’t be removed, call a different plumber to get a second opinion before hurrying into having the main drain line replaced. The price to replace the line can be very high, therefore it’s well worth a second opinion before you spend the money.

This is really a matter of opinion. If your primary line backs up more than annually, then it might be worthwhile to have the problem area dug up and repaired, or to possess the line substituted. Many times, however, it is just an issue of getting the sewer main line snaked once every year or two. This is particularly true when the roots from big trees grow into the sewer line. The difference in price between snaking vs. digging up the line and either fixing or replacing it is significant.

Can I stop sewer main clogs?

There are several causes of sewer main drain clogs. Some aren’t preventable, such as tree roots and collapsing pipes. Other things can be monitored to help prevent frequent clogs. One important preventive measure is to be careful about what goes down the drain. Solid objects which are flushed down the toilet can get lodged and help cause a sewer stoppage.
Also, excessive food and oils washed down the kitchen drain may donate to sewer main drain clogs.

Is the homeowner always responsible for clearing sewer main drain clogs?

The location and reason for the stoppage will normally determine who’s responsible for the repair. Check with your city for drain service at first before getting any work done to your sewer main drain. Sometimes, the town or city will remedy the situation if the reason is on their end.