How Home Sewer Systems Work

The sewer is the dirtiest, most noxious and most toxic part of the city. One should be thankful for the complex drainage and sewage system that separates the sewer from your home. If the system is not working properly, poisonous fumes could make their way into your house and make everybody sick and nauseous.

Below are information on how home sewer systems work and how you can keep it that way to make sure your family is safe.


First and Second Lines of Defense

Your home sewer system begins with the simple strainer that’s covering your sink, laundry or floor drain. The strainer is your first line of defense, making sure no debris or solid materials can enter and clog the pipes.

The second line of defense is the P-trap or S-trap. Just beneath the drain hole is a curved pipe that is shaped like the letter P or S. The P-shaped pipe is called a trap because that’s exactly what it does – it traps and stores water. The trapped water blocks harmful fumes from within the sewer to escape into your home. It is important to not let the trap go dry. This mostly happens with the P-trap under the floor drain during hot and dry months. It is important to check the trap regularly and pour half a bucket of water into it when necessary.

From the P-trap, waste water moves through the pipes into the sewer system and eventually to a wastewater treatment bed, which could either be a man-made reservoir or a natural body of water.

How the Sanitary Sewer System Works

The network of pipes that runs from your kitchen sink, laundry area and basement drains all the way to the water treatment bed is called the sanitary sewer system. It also includes your toilet, by the way. This system is the most popular type of sewer among the three types of system because it is this type of sewer that deals with wastewater or sewage,which carries toxic fumes, toxic waste materials and harmful microorganisms. The other two systems are the storm sewer and combined sewer.

How the Storm Sewer System Works

Your storm sewer begins from the catch basin on your roof and down the eaves troughs, downspouts and weeping tiles through which rainwater moves onto street drains and watercourses. The ultimate dumping area is a nearby lake.

What is a Combined Sewer System?

The combined sewer, on the other hand, is a network of pipes that accommodate both sewage and rainwater.
Clogging: Common Causes and Solution

The objective for putting up a sewer system is to transport sewage and rainwater away from people’s homes to discard wastes and avoid flooding. These three types of home sewer system won’t work properly if there is clogging somewhere along the network of pipes. Simply put, if there is blockage somewhere, sewage and rainwater can’t flow properly to their final destination. As a result, wastewater or rainwater backs up to your home causing you serious plumbing problems. It is extremely important to keep your pipes clog-free or else you wake up to a basement full of rainwater or worse, a toilet flooded with stinky wastewater.

The most common objects that block drainage pipes are objects that people, for some reason, love flushing down the toilet. These typically include sanitary napkins, disposable diapers, garbage and hair. Likewise, people carelessly dump leftover food, broken dishware and grease down the kitchen sink.Sometimes the blockage may have been caused by an overgrown or wayward tree root underground, or perhaps the pipes have shifted and burst due to ground movements. These are some things you can’t possibly avoid.

If something is blocking your drainage the best thing to do is call a plumber. The clogged substancemight be located deep within the pipelines, way beyond your reach. You could end up making matters worse if you attempt to unclog the pipes on your own.Once your drain pipes are clog-free, the home sewer system should work perfectly. Your home should be safe from water backup and your family unharmed by dangerous toxic fumes.

Joyce Del Rosario is a blogger from Toronto Plumber, one the of the leading sites offering Drain Camera Inspection.

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