If you need any more reasons to avoid sewer clogs, consider this fact: most standard homeowner’s insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for damage and cleanup if raw sewage backs up into your home due to a clog. The homeowner gets stuck with the entire bill. According to the Civil Engineering Research Foundation, sewage backups are increasing at a rate of 3 percent annually — mostly residential cases. To avoid sewer clogs that contribute to this alarming statistic, here are a few tips.

Watch What Goes Down the Drain

One of the main sewer-clogging culprits is FOG — the acronym that stands for fats, oil and grease. In fact, according to the EPA, about 60 percent of sewer clogs are FOG-related. Inside the sewer pipe, FOG hardens and gradually obstructs free flow. Fats, oil and grease should be collected in containers and thrown out with the regular trash, never poured down the drain.

Only toilet tissue safely disintegrates inside your plumbing. Any other paper or fabric product should go out with the regular trash and not be flushed. Disposable wipes, used paper towels, cotton balls — all of these will not disintegrate inside the sewer pipe and may form a future clog.

Schedule a Professional Inspection

Because your sewer pipe is underground, only a qualified plumber utilizing technology like video evaluation cameras can tell what’s really going on inside. Inspections every few years can help avoid sewer clogs from these common sources:

  • Tree roots penetrate sewer pipes through joints and obstruct free flow. Roots may grow very far from the nearest tree, so don’t assume your sewer is safe. If an evaluation reveals tree root intrusion, your plumber can discuss effective ways to clear the pipe before a blockage occurs.
  • Collapsing pipe segments are a problem, particularly with older residential pipes. If an evaluation reveals a deteriorating pipe, options include re-piping with continuous plastic pipe that has no joints and withstands aging. This can usually be done without excavating your yard.

For advice and professional service to avoid sewer clogs, contact the plumbing experts at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Plumbing.