Sewer System Explained

The whole home sewer system is made up of multiple parts coming together to form on complete system (See diagram below). When buying a home this can all get overwhelming. When broken down however, it is basically four parts:

Internal plumbing: All of the plumbing drainage from inside the home i.e. sinks, toilets, tubs. These consist of multiple branches referred to as secondary line running through the home before tying into one branch before leaving the home this is the beginning of your mainline.

Transition Joint: is the joint where the line officially leaves the home or building and converts from internal plumbing to external plumbing which also usually is identified by a material change. This joint is important because it is located near the home’s foundation and if not connected properly can result in water damage to the structure.

External Mainline: This part of the line is on the exterior under the ground all the drainage has converged to form one line that leads to the city sewer or city main. This is where most of the root intrusion and cracking can occur.

City Tap/City Main: This is where the line from the home connects to the City main and the drainage flows into the city sewer and on to the treatment plant. The tap connection is where the home owner’s responsibility ends and the city takes over.


How to maintain your line

Maintaining your sewer line can depend on what type of material you line is composed of:

Lines composed of cast iron and clay should be regularly maintained. These lines should be cleaned every 1 to 4 years (depending on how aggressive your root growth is) with an auger or blading machine also known as a rooter. This will ensure that you line does not clog with roots (clay) or scale (cast iron) and create backflow into the home. Another option is by hydro jetting however, this is far more expensive in most cases and usually is not necessary except in extreme circumstances. Root kill can be used but can also be corrosive to the cast iron piping and can lead to accelerated breakdown of the piping. Be sure when choosing one of these products to check for corrosive properties.

ABS and PVC lines are for the most part self-maintaining and do not require the regular maintenance like the cast iron and clay lines. However, there are circumstances that can require a cleaning, i.e. flushing improper objects down the toilet or sink which can lead to a clog. In this case you would require a cleaning by auger or blade machine.

For any other questions about line maintenance feel free to give us a call!