You come home from work feeling accomplished, but exhausted. All you want is to relax and just soak yourself in the bathtub, but when you turn on the faucet, murky water and offensive odor are coming out from the drain. Yikes! Why is this happening?  The likely culprit is a clogged sewer line due to a blockage.  But how do you prevent this?

Improper waste disposal.

Food particles or waste, cooking oils and grease, hair, tissue paper, wipes and other non-flushable items should be disposed in the trash and not thru the sink drain or toilet as they can accumulate inside drain pipes until the clog gets big enough to block wastewater flow. Preventive maintenance like applying enzyme drain cleaners monthly also helps.

Tree roots and broken pipes.

Watch out for trees in your yard as their roots can grow towards the underground pipes of your sewer system and eventually penetrate them.  And take note that tree roots can grow up to thirty feet long so even if you don’t have a tree in your yard, it could be your neighbor’s tree that is causing the blockage. Broken or cracked pipes likewise contribute to sewer backup. Older homes may still be using clay or cast-iron piping, which are prone to cracks. Heavy rains can also be culprits, especially for homes who don’t have a working sump pump to avoid a flooded basement. Municipal storm drains can only handle so much, and if they reach maximum capacity, the excess water may flow into the residential sewer lines. The best thing to do here is to have your sewer system checked by a competent plumbing company.

Early warning signs of blockage.

Among the early warning signs indicative of a blockage are gurgling sounds while draining, frequent clogs, slow draining water and wastewater coming out from other drains. A partial or mild blockage may be remedied by using a toilet plunger or applying baking soda and vinegar. For the latter, sprinkle baking soda down the drain, followed by a generous amount of vinegar. Leave overnight to fizz, then rinse with hot water in the morning. Using a drain snake can also help break up the object causing the blockage. But if the problem still persists, don’t hesitate to call for professional help.