We try to blog here at Garvin’s as much as possible, and sometimes we forget what we’ve covered and what we haven’t. Well, we just realized that we’ve never broken down the different parts of your sewer system, so here it is. We’ll also tell you exactly what parts of sewer drain cleaning are your responsibility.
But first, let’s talk about what the sewer isn’t. The pipes that bring fresh water into your house isn’t part of the sewer system. Neither are your sprinklers or your garden hoses. ”Sewer” is only about the stuff that’s leaving your home, so let’s break it down a little bit more.
Drains: Drains are the first part of your sewer system and the part with which you’re most familiar. These include sink drains, shower drains, washing machine drain, dishwasher drains, and toilets. In modern houses, most of these are made from plastic, no matter what the fixture itself is made out of. Drains use gravity to move water from the drain and to the sewer pipes.
Perhaps the most amazing part of a drain is the trap, also called U-traps, S-traps, J-traps, or P-traps. These bends in the drain trap a small amount of water in your pipe, and while at first that might seem like the opposite of what you’d like, it actually plays an important part in your drain system. The water acts as a non-permeable barrier for gas, preventing sewer gases from coming back up into your home. Hurray!
Upper house lateral: When the drains come together they form the first part of the sewer line. Since the sewer line that leaves your house is called the house lateral, this first part is called the upper house lateral (since it’s the portion most uphill). This is the part of the sewer line that you’re responsible for, and the part that you’ll have to hire sewer cleaning for when you have a house-wide clog. Common problems include pipe breakage and tree roots that get in as they search for nutrients.
Private cleanout: Most houses have a private cleanout outside of the house, and it’s likely you’ve never even noticed it before. It might be hiding in your front bushes, wait for the day you need sewer service!
Lower House Lateral: Once you reach the property line of your sewer line the problem is no longer yours (well, it’s not yours to have to clean…you might still have to deal with the effects of a backed up sewer). If the problem is beyond your property line, the city will need to clean it out, usually via the…
Public Cleanout: The lower house lateral is still pretty small, so it’s not like the public workers can just climb in there and clean it out. And they don’t want to climb down into the sewer every time there’s a clog on their watch, so they have a cleanout where they can send down their own rooter service.
The Sewer: This is the public sewer system where everything people put down their drains eventually goes. It’s much less glamourous than it is on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
So there you have it…the life of sewage! Having problems with a clog in your drains or the upper lateral? Give Garvin’s Sewer Service a call for the best in sewer drain cleaning!