We would like to pass on some advice on how to prevent sewer back-ups. It’s not that we are extremely fond of discussing such disgusting topics but “it happens” and it can be difficult to clean up. Typically, we are talking about more interesting facts, and rarely ever think about “sewer back-up”… until it happens and by then it’s too late.

How to Prevent Sewer Backups

A sanitary sewer back up can be a stressful and costly problem not to mention, an awful mess. Raw sewage and nasty water can come back up through your toilet, your tub and sink overflowing into your bathroom, kitchen or laundry room. Luckily, many sewer back-ups and overflows can be prevented through preventative maintenance. Advanced Property Management tenants, are responsible for the stoppage of toilets and clogged drain lines. The main sewer line is usually located in the street, across the street, or in the parkway in front of your rental. Homeowners are responsible for any tree roots or other acts of nature that may cause plumbing issues. The city is responsible for back-ups caused by structural defects, such as a cracked pipe. They are also responsible for total sewer blockages located in the right-of-way.

Here are a few things you as tenants can do to help make sure sanitary service lines remain unobstructed:

Roots:  Roots are the number one cause of sanitary sewer back-ups. Shrub and tree roots seeking moisture make their way into sewer pipe cracks. The roots may start out small, entering through a crack in the pipe, but as the tree or shrub continues to grow, so does the root. After time, this causes the sewer line to become obstructed with roots and waste builds up resulting in a sewer back-up. Some homeowners who have recurring problems in roots have them cut out once a year. Homeowners will be invoiced for any blockages caused by roots in the sewer line.

How to Use Salt to Get Rid of Tree Roots in Sewer Lines:

  • Pour a 4-pound box of rock salt down a toilet and flush. Pour the salt down the toilet in the evening before you and other household members go to bed, since the salt water should remain in the sewer line for at least eight hours. Do not use any other drains in the house to avoid diluting the salty water solution
  • Flush the toilet again after eight hours. You may also resume use of any drain in the house after eight hours.
  • Repeat Steps 1 and 2 every month. Tree roots in the sewer line will eventually die from absorbing the sodium from the rock salt. Repeat the process monthly to keep the lines clear.

Paper Products: Paper towels, diapers and feminine products cause a great deal of problems in residential sewer lines. Unlike bathroom tissues, these products do not deteriorate quickly. They can become lodged in portions of your sewer line, causing a sewer back-up. Rather than taking a chance, dispose of these paper products in the garbage.

During the past months several Advanced Property Management properties have experienced sewer blockages. As noted on the invoices we received from the plumbing company, these blockages were caused by feminine products being flushed down the toilet. The expenses incurred was charged to the tenant. Please do not flush feminine products down the toilet, this includes tampons.

Avoid pouring cooking oil or other grease down the drain. Some people assume that washing grease down the drain with hot water is satisfactory. This grease may go down the drain, cool off, and solidify either in the drain or in the property owner’s line. When this happens, the line constricts and eventually clogs. Instead, pour grease into a heat-resistant container, let it cool and throw it in the garbage.