3 Sewer Problems That Can Be Efficiently Prevented

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Purpose: To inform on how to deal with sewer issues in residential units.


  • What causes sewer smells in the house?

  • What do you do when tree roots get in the sewer system?

  • How do you prevent sewer backup?

Plumbing is one of those things that many homeowners do not even think about as the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind,” since most plumbing issues can go unnoticed for a long time.

The same goes for sewer problems. Taking care of the sewer line is critical because serious sewer issues can affect both the value of your property and the structural integrity of your home. Fortunately, most of these issues are preventable. You’ll just need to do some research on the topic.

For this article, we have picked three sewer problems that can be efficiently prevented without the help of a plumber.

Sewer Smells in the House

When homeowners realize that their property smells like sewage, they automatically assume that the problem was caused by either an external, uncontrollable factor or a blockage. However, this is not always true. Sewage smell is a common problem that can be fixed and prevented without professional assistance.

But before prevention, we should first address the causes. Very often, sewage smell is caused by a dry trap under the laundry tub, wash basin, or floor drain. Plumbing traps are intricate systems that retain a small amount of water every time a fixture is used to prevent debris and vermin from moving through the pipes into your home. A trap dries because of either misuse or a blockage. When that happens, sewer gases will slowly seep into the house through the pipes.

There are two ways to fix a dry trap: the simplest one is to let the water run for a while to reset the trapping system. Alternatively, you can use what plumbing professionals call a ‘’sewer rod’’.  A rodder, or a rod, is a flexible cable that people can insert into a sewer line either to push the blockage forward or pull it out.

Sewer rodding is a simple and effective preventive measure that all responsible homeowners should employ if they want to keep the plumbing infrastructure in good shape. Further reading on sewer rodding can be done in the linked article published by the experts at The Plumbing Info.



Tree Roots Plugging the Sewer Line

Tree roots will grow nearly anywhere and, if left unattended, can cause blockages that could affect the entire plumbing infrastructure. Here are some ways to prevent tree roots from blocking the sewing system:

·         Make sure to water the trees during a drought. When trees lack water, the roots expand to new areas in their search for regenerable water sources.

·         Plant trees at a safe distance from sewer lines. If you can’t identify the location of a sewer line, contact the utility company for more information.

·         Avoid planting trees that need large amounts of water to survive, such as willows, pink oaks, green ashes, Freeman maples, pears, and Atlantic white cedars. These tree species will slowly plug sewer lines while searching for enough moisture to satisfy their needs. If you still plan to decorate your backyard with trees but you are facing some space constraints, you can plant sewer-safe trees with contained roots, such as Japanese maples and serviceberry trees.


Sewer Backup

Another frustrating but entirely preventable problem is sewer backup. This is a serious problem that could turn your house into a health hazard and make it temporarily uninhabitable.

The best way to prevent this is being wary of what you throw down the drain. Meals and ingredients like spaghetti, tomato sauce, cooking oil, grease should be kept far away from the drains, because they can absorb water and cause blockages. Furthermore, it is a good idea to schedule a professional drain cleaning service to prevent any future issues.


Plumbing might seem like an alien concept to many homeowners, but most issues can be easily prevented without calling a professional. Taking care of the sewer lines is one of the best things you can do to ensure that your property will not be affected by an unexpected plumbing accident. The most common preventive measures include not throwing heavy food down the drain, keeping tree roots from clogging sewer lines, and using a sewer rodder to keep sewer gases out of your home.


Author:  Vincent West

Vincent West has an educational background in Engineering Design. He's interested in all things construction and workforce related. He’s a news geek, especially when it comes to keeping up to date with the industry’s biggest developments.


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