The keys to a successful preventative maintenance of drain and sewer systems are regular attention and, pre-emptive steps to deal with problems, and proper construction.
Effective maintenance yields multiple benefits: increased performance of the system, lower costs of operation, and a longer lifespan. A properly maintained system will carry outflows more efficiently, giving it greater capacity, which is particularly important during outflow surges, such as during heavy rainfalls.
Because unanticipated repairs are more expensive than maintenance, regular maintenance saves money. Additionally, a poorly maintained system will greatly add cost if damages caused by flooding are factored into the total cost of operation.
Finally, a properly maintained system will last longer, as many sorts of damage arising from neglect can lead to the need to prematurely replace piping.
What does preventative drain and sewer maintenance actually prevent?
Proactive maintenance can prevent clogged pipes, unpleasant odors rising from the system, damaging backups and flooding, and costs related to repair on short notice and to repair the damage.
Improperly maintained pipes are highly subject to blockages either from tree root infiltration, from fat and grease coagulation, or from items entering the pipe that are unable to pass through the pipe unaided.
When a piping system is improperly maintained (or improperly designed), the venting system can become inefficient or be totally ineffective. When that happens, smells can rise from the system into inhabited areas of the home.
Backups and flooding
Backups and flooding are perhaps the most serious consequence of a badly maintained sewage or drainage system. A blockage – partial or complete – can lead to water rising from floor drains, tub drains, or sink drains and result in significant damage.
Effective maintenance can both prevent immediate problems and assist in detecting future problems. A well maintained system is unlikely to suddenly fail, so the high cost of rush repairs will be reduced. In addition, a properly maintained system will last longer, as it will be less subject to pipe damage from roots, pipe freezing, or other physical damage.
As a result preventative maintenance is cost effective – the old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is especially true with plumbing, where the cost of fixing damage caused by minor problems left to get out of control is almost always many times greater than preventative or proactive measures.
Good practices are important to preventative maintenance. Scheduled maintenance is a good way to prevent problems that would otherwise only be visible when they become an active problem.
Foresight in construction is important to prevent problems. A system needs ample clean-outs and access points; it should be designed oversized to handle unusual demands; high quality materials and construction should be employed; proper slopes should be implemented for horizontal pipe runs; properly sized strainers will help the system from admitting items too large to pass easily; and avoiding too-tight bends or bad joint fitting will enable the system to flow smoothly). Also in the area of foresight is not situating a drainage system where it will be subjected to root penetration.
Cleaning drains and traps regularly is important maintenance. The tools and techniques can vary. Some tools are specialized and not in the possession of non-professionals; for example, drain augering and roto-rootering equipment are expensive and specialized gear. Similarly, inspection cameras range in cost, although some limited devices for personal use are not very expensive. Drain snakes also vary in cost, with the least expensive manual devices within easy reach of many users. Professional drain snaking equipment can however be motorized and long reaching, with higher attendant costs.
Blasting and flushing with high pressure water (water jetting) will scrub an unclogged pipe and is a service offered by professionals.
Some simple tips should be followed:
- avoid putting improper items down the drain
- don’t pour grease down drains
- non bio-degradable items should also not enter the drainage system
- long, stringy items should also not enter the drains
Preventative maintenance is key to the most cost-effective and well-operating system possible. Some maintenance can be done by homeowners, but when professional tools and techniques are needed, contact Master Drain.
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