When none of the drains in your home are draining well, the problem is likely a clog in your main sewer line. Sewer clogs cause all sorts of problems that can be expensive to fix, so you know your best bet to prevent them in the first place. But what causes sewer clogs? And are all the causes preventable? Check out some of these common causes of sewer clogs so you can do your best to prevent them from happening!

1. Tree Roots

Tree roots love water; they’re always searching for the best source of underground water. Guess where there’s lots of water underground? You guess it–in your sewer pipes! Tree roots are strong and persistent–they will work their way into your pipes so they can party on your sewer water. Great for the roots–not so great for your sewer!

If you are planting a tree on your property, make sure to plant it far enough away from your sewer pipes that the roots won’t find their way to them. Most properties already have trees and those tree roots may already be on their way to your pipes (if they’re not there already!). Luckily, you have some options. If you have an older pipe, you can line it so that tree roots can’t break through. If you are putting in or replacing pipes, look into putting in a PVC pipe that is less susceptible to letting tree roots in.

2. Sewer Line Sag

A sagging sewer line is one where a dip develops in the sewer pipe, causing there to be standing water in the “belly” that is created. You may have no idea this is happening until there’s a problem. If you are putting in a sewer line, make sure the pipes are installed at a proper slope away from your house to prevent the pressure that would cause a sag. 

3. A Sewer Line Plagued by FOG

FOG stands for fats, oils, and greases. These slippery substances tend to solidify while in your pipes and can cause blockages. The best way to prevent a buildup due to FOG is to refrain from pouring cooking grease and other oils and grease products down your drain–and that includes your toilet. If you have leftover cooking grease, wait until it cools and then pour it into a container or bag that you can seal shut. Then you can throw it in the trash.

4. Debris

Aside from FOG, there is other debris that can get caught in your sewer pipes and cause a backup. Hair, feminine products, tissues, and “flushable” wipes are examples of common household items that people flush down the drain without a second thought. These items do not break down quickly enough (or at all) and tend to build up in your pipes until you end up with a major clog. Be conscious of what you flush down your toilet, and install a hair catcher or some other drain protector in the drain of your bath and shower. These proactive strategies will go a long way in protecting your sewer–and your home!

Sewer clogs can be extremely damaging to your home, your property, and your bank account. Luckily, many causes of sewer clogs can be prevented. The professionals at A&L Cesspool can help you protect your pipes against common causes of sewer clogs, and, of course, we are here to help if you do experience a backup!