Did you know that the United States is home to over 500,000 miles of private sewer laterals (PSL)? These privately-owned pipes then connect to over 800,000 miles of public sewer lines. They work together to transport wastewater to wastewater management and treatment plants.
Thus, it’s thanks to modern plumbing and sewerage systems that sanitation is possible. If not for them, diseases like cholera, dysentery, and typhoid fever could occur.
However, a private lateral sewer can only do its job if all the drain lines connecting to it also work fine. Routine drain cleaning services can help ensure they do.
In this guide, you’ll learn how vital drain pipe cleaning services are to your health and home. Read on, as it can help you understand the importance of keeping the drains in your St. Pete home clean.
Prevent Clogs in Drain Pipes
Using drains to dispose of stuff they’re not designed to dispose of often results in drain clogs. The only things you should pour down drains are non-corrosive, non-flammable, non-greasy fluids. Examples include water, soda, juices, and liquid dish soap.
While fats, oil, and grease (AKA FOG) are in liquid form when hot, you should never use your drains for their disposal. These substances turn jelly-like as they turn cooler. Animal fats even solidify at room temperature due to their molecular structure.
Other things that should never go down sinks are coffee grounds, egg shells, and food scraps. Instead, they should go straight to the bin or a compost pit. If allowed to enter the drain pipes, they can mix with FOG and form even more stubborn clogs.
Even if you use your drains correctly, not everyone in your household may be as careful as you are. That’s why it pays to schedule a professional drain cleaning service at least once a year. It removes debris and solidified FOG before they can completely obstruct the pipes.
Keep Drain Lines Free of Fatbergs
FOG disposed of through drains can cause tiny fatbergs to form in the drain pipes. The term “fatberg” is a portmanteau of “fat” and “iceberg;” it’s a mass of solidified fat mixed with other solids. The latter include food scraps, hair, bits of soap, soap scum, dirt, paper towels, and wet wipes, to name a few.
Speaking of wet wipes, they are usually non-flushable, even if marketed as flushable.
Experts at the University of Florida say wipes barely break down despite being in the water for 24 hours. For the same reason, they remind everyone to flush only human waste (pee and poop) and toilet paper, also known as the 3 Ps.
If your household has been disposing of FOG or flushing stuff other than the 3Ps, now’s the best time to stop. Ask everyone at home to cooperate and tell them to bin wipes, cotton balls, or even paper towels. As long as it’s not part of the 3 Ps, they should throw it in the trash, even if its label says it’s flushable.
But even if you start using your drains properly, there could already be trash in your pipes. So, to be on the safe side, schedule a drain cleaner service ASAP. That can help ensure your drain lines won’t clog up due to fatbergs.
Avoid Dangerous Backups and Overflows
You may remember the sewage spill crisis if you’ve lived in St. Petersburg since or before 2016. If you moved into town after, lucky you, as you didn’t experience the disastrous event. From 2015 to 2016, 200 million gallons of sewage overflows and spills occurred due to heavy rains.
Thankfully, the city has since invested millions in improving its sewer systems. That doesn’t guarantee your home is 100% safe from sewage backups, though. Your home is still at risk of wastewater backups and overflows if it has clogged drain pipes.
Sewage isn’t only disgusting and foul-smelling; it’s also a health hazard. It may contain over 100 pathogens, including disease-causing bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Even touching the contaminated water can already cause infections.
You can avoid such dangers with a yearly indoor and outdoor drain cleaning service. The latter is just as crucial, as leaves, twigs, and other debris can block outdoor drains and pipes.
If you currently experience signs of clogged drains, though, please call a plumber now. That way, the plumbing expert can clean and clear your drains before backups occur.
Reduce Odds of Burst Pipes
Freezing temperatures, which are rare in St. Pete, are some of the most common causes of ruptured pipes. They cause water in supply lines to ice up, increase pressure from within, and break seals. Water can then keep flowing out of the burst pipes, causing indoor flooding and water damage.
However, clogs in drains and drain lines can also restrict water flow. That restriction increases pressure inside the pipes, placing extra strain on them. Unless relieved, the heightened pressure can cause the pipes to burst.
Like water supply lines, ruptured drain pipes cause indoor flooding and water damage. The primary difference is that the former spills out clean water. In contrast, burst drain lines spew out disgusting, hazardous sewage.
So, having your drain system cleaned yearly can help prevent pipes from rupturing. It’s also a good idea to have your plumber insulate exposed pipes to keep them from bursting.
Minimize Risks of Mold Problems
Molds only need three things to grow: moisture, oxygen, and organic materials. Your drains and drain pipes are almost always moist, and oxygen is everywhere. But if you have clogs made of organic waste, such as food scraps, then all three are present.
From there, the molds can reproduce by releasing spores into the air. Spores are like seeds; they can start growing in 24 to 48 hours if they land on something damp and organic. So if you have moisture issues in your St. Petersburg home, you may face mold problems, too.
Another way clogged drains can result in mold woes is when they cause plumbing backups. If not cleaned and dried immediately, water-damaged materials can nourish mold spores. Organic debris in wastewater can also be enough to feed these organisms.
Since drain cleaning removes clogs, it also helps keep clog-related mold issues at bay.
Keep Drains From Stinking
Molds can cause funky smells from your drains and drain pipes. However, other microorganisms in there can also cause stinky odors. That’s especially true for bacteria that break down organic materials like food scraps.
If your clogged drains smell like rotten eggs, it’s likely due to hydrogen sulfide. On the other hand, if they smell strongly like sweat or urine, it’s ammonia to blame. While these sewer gases aren’t dangerous at low doses, they can assault your sense of smell.
Sewer gases may also leak into your home if you have a blocked plumbing vent.
Dry plumbing, especially dried P-traps (the U-shaped bend in drain pipes), may also be to blame. In this case, try fixing the problem by pouring half a gallon of water into the drain.
If the foul smells don’t disappear, they’re likely due to clogs or blocked vents. A local licensed plumber can confirm and fix the root cause of the problem. Your drains, plumbing vents, or both may only need cleaning to stop them from making your home smell like a sewer.
Avoid Overtaxing Your Private Sewer Lateral
Your home’s PSL is the pipeline where all the other drain pipes in your home dump wastewater.
In most cases, a PSL travels from the exterior of a house, under the yard, and sometimes under the sidewalk. It then connects to the public sewer line.
Clogs can also form in the PSL, often due to the misuse of other drain pipes. Over time, it collects debris and tiny fatbergs until it becomes completely blocked.
When that happens, you can expect multiple, if not all, drains to stop working correctly. You’re also at risk of experiencing frequent water and mold damage-causing backups.
You can prevent such disasters by not using your drains as a disposal system for all types of waste. Yearly drain cleaning services can further protect your PSL from clogs.
Prolong the Life of Your Plumbing System
Properly installed, well-maintained plumbing waste pipes can last at least 50 years. By contrast, clogging, corrosion, and extreme temperatures can make them fail early. In outdoor pipes buried under the soil, tree root intrusion can also cause early failure.
While you can’t control temperatures, you can prevent clogging and corrosion. Proper drain use, flushing only the 3 Ps, and having your drains cleaned and cleared annually can all help.
Schedule Drain Cleaning Services ASAP
As you can see, drain cleaning services can help prevent clogs, backups, and burst pipes. They can also reduce the risks of pipes bursting and causing water and mold damage. They even help keep your home free of foul smells and prolong your plumbing system’s life.
All that should be enough reason to get your drains cleaned by professionals yearly.
If you’re ready to have your drains cleaned, Home Team Plumbing is happy to help. We service homes throughout Pinellas County, including St. Petersburg. Call us now to schedule your plumbing and drain cleaning services!