Autumn is upon us, and we are all happily soaking up the last bit of sun we can. With the sunny weather in the Puget Sound traditionally lasting through late September to early October, the last thing we want to think about is the beginning of the rainy season. For those of you that have had the unpleasant experience of dealing with sewer backups (and the resulting messes they cause) thinking about sewer problems would not likely be something you want to do any more often than absolutely necessary either.
If you would like to prevent sewer backups, this is precisely the time to act. The majority of sewer backups in the Puget Sound area happen in the winter. This is largely due to the pipes being infiltrated with tree roots during the spring and summer when the trees are growing. The root growth will then block all or part of the sewer pipes. Pipes tend to see higher water volumes in the fall and winter due to heavier rainfall not generally present in the summer. People also tend to be in their homes more often in the fall and winter with the weather not being as pleasant outside. More time spent in the home and more rain water means much more water going into the drain pipes. The blocked pipes cannot handle the water volume creating the backups.
Have your sewer pipes checked if you haven't done so already!
A routine sewer video inspection is recommended every 5 years. For homes having a history of sewer problems, every 2 years is recommended. By inspecting your property’s sewer, you can find problem areas well in advance, and without having to wait until you actually have the mess to clean up. The cost for a sewer inspection provided by The Plumbing & Drain Company is usually around $200 - well worth the peace of mind in knowing any potential issue will be found and addressed BEFORE your holiday guests arrive.
Hopefully, there will be no problems - or any known problems that were present have not gotten worse. If you do find issues which need to be addressed, those types of problems are always far less expensive to deal with ahead of time. You get the added benefit of not having the hassle and expense of cleaning up a potential the mess.
Removing a small to medium root blockage can usually be done by simply cabling the drain. Serious root infiltrations and blockages can be resolved by jetting the drain with nozzles specifically designed to remove roots. Both of these options are much cheaper than even the deductible for cleaning up a sewage backup mess.
In some instances, where the roots have had long periods of time to grow, the roots will cause the pipe to break or separate. In these cases, a patch or liner can be installed to keep the pipe from collapsing. Sometimes this can even be done without any excavation. But, of course, if left unattended for too long, the pipe will ultimately collapse entirely. Once this happens, there is not alternative left but to dig up the broken pipe and repair. This can be very costly, especially in areas where the sewers can run as deep as 10’ – 15’, like Seattle and Tacoma.