When you take a shower, flush a toilet or run the dishwasher or washing machine, dirty water is produced. Your home’s drain system then routes that wastewater to your septic tank or public sewer.
You can imagine the activity in your sewer and drainage lines over time. Under certain conditions, they can become restricted or clogged or get damaged. Signs of a problem might be:
gurgling from toilets or drains
wet areas or sewer discharge in the yard
isolated patches of lush, quickly growing grass
extra moisture in the basement or around the bases of walls
drains running slowly
water backing up into the home
RJ Kuhn supports you with the resources and experience for fixing even the most complicated sewer and drain problems. If you have an issue with your sewer or drains, we can resolve it efficiently so your system gets back on track as soon as you need it to.
Your Sewer System: A Quick Overview
When you understand the workings of your sewer system, you are better prepared to maintain it for greater performance and ultimately fewer expenses.
Sewer systems have historically comprised different types of materials. The oldest sewer types in our area were made of clay, which was used until the mid-1970s. Cast-iron sewers have also been common during the last century and are still installed today.
In the late 60s and early 70s, plastic became more prevalent in sewer construction because of its low cost and ease of transport and installation. Plastic is now the most-used material in home sewer systems.
Today’s sewer systems must be installed with certain physical properties. For example, state and municipal codes mandate the pitch, size and types of sewer pipes for the home or building they serve according to their occupant load as determined by engineering standards.
Why Be Concerned with Sewer Cleaning?
Our homes and buildings depend on our sewer systems much more than we’re probably inclined to consider. Keeping the sewer system clean keeps wastewater properly flowing and minimizes the potential for major backups and related concerns.
Because the sewer system handles so much wastewater, it contains many bacteria and contaminated materials. In addition to creating a significant mess, a sewer backup can pose hazards to safety and health. Property owners also will usually have to remove and replace anything that came in contact with wastewater.
Sewer Problems: Most Common Types
In RJ Kuhn’s extensive experience with local sewer systems, the most frequent problem we see is infiltration of tree roots. Signs of tree roots in the line can be a toilet that flushes slowly or incompletely, foul odors, gurgling from drains, or back-ups in sinks, tubs or floor drains.
If left untreated, tree roots in sewer lines can lead to total blockage and damage pipes.
Clay pipes are the most susceptible to tree-root intrusion. Clay pipes have often been connected with a mortar joint. These joints and any cracks in the brittle clay pipe allow the thread-like tree roots to penetrate into the sewer. The trees love the water and nutrients and grow quickly. The growing roots can restrict or plug the sewer and break the pipe, allowing more intrusion. Because plastic sewer pipes are gasketed and tightly joined, they are more effective in preventing intrusion by tree roots.
Other issues we commonly see in local sewer systems include grease build-up, frozen or broken pipes, and problems from improper system installation. We also address complications caused by scaling and rusting of cast-iron pipes.
RJ Kuhn Sewer Cleaning: What to Expect
If you should run into a sewer problem, your solution with RJ Kuhn will always begin with an interview. We will learn exactly what’s happening and assess both subtle and obvious symptoms of the problem so we can promptly diagnose and correct it.
Once the issue is identified, we may address it with solutions such as:
cable rodders. Heavy-duty, flexible steel cables with specialty cutters and knives are pushed into the blocked line and turned inside of it. As the cable and knives spin, they grind the obstruction to clear it. These machines use high torque at low rpm to tear and scrape at solid obstructions, tree roots and hardened grease.
high-pressure water jetting. High-pressure water is used to cut, macerate and flush the blockage out and into the municipal sewer system. These “jetters” deliver water directly into the problem at pressures that can exceed 4000 psi. Jetters can liquefy and wash away heavy sewage, mud and gravel, grease and other obstructions.
Jetting is also very effective at clearing rainwater drainage systems: culverts under driveways, streets and roads; drain tile serving downspouts and sump pump discharge; pond drainage; wet-bottom and dry-retention drains for private owners, municipalities and homeowners associations.
high-speed carbide de-scaling. Specifically used to clean and smooth the inside of cast-iron pipes that have developed scaling and rust. Cast iron is very durable but does rust over its lifetime. Chemicals and age are the enemies of iron. Thankfully, iron is also very durable and can be rejuvenated. These machines use low torque at high rpm to scrape the surface of the iron with carbide blades. After the pipes are de-scaled and washed out, the smooth surface allows for better flow.
digital cameras. Once the drain is flowing, you always have the option of seeing the resolution or any issues that may remain. All of our trucks carry flex-shaft cameras that can go just about anywhere! The camera can provide us with valuable information regarding the condition of the problem and the condition of the pipe. Ask your RJ Kuhn plumber about being able to see inside your drains.
When You Need Sewer Cleaning Soon, Contact RJ Kuhn
RJ Kuhn helps you maintain a clean and operative sewer system that keeps wastewater in flowing lines where it belongs. If you have a sewer question or concern or an issue that requires immediate attention, we welcome the opportunity to discuss it and respond with precision. Just give us a call at 1-800-FIX-DRIP or (630) 554-3336!
24-hour emergency service is available when needed.
RJ Kuhn is a proud member of the Plumbing Contractors Association