There’s a lot to know about the plumbing in your Murrieta, CA home. With a vast network of pipes traveling through the building and several underground pipes traveling towards the municipal sewer system, understanding what different components are and how they work is key to finding the right plumber to fix them. This is especially true when it comes to drain lines and sewer lines. The following is everything you need to know about drain and sewer systems, including who you should hire to fix them.
Drain Lines Are Inside of the Building
Although the words “drain” and “sewer” are often used interchangeably, they actually mean two very different things. A drain is a pipe that serves a single building. It routes wastewater out of the home and towards the municipal sewer system. In general, most drains are inside of the house. However, there are likely both natural and artificial drainage systems that are part of your landscaping.
There are many different types of plumbing drains. You’ll find drains at your kitchen and bathroom sinks, connected to your commodes, and at the backs of all water-reliant appliances. Even your air conditioner has a drain line that routes water out of the building. All of these drains converge at a central drain line that connects to a municipally managed wastewater system. The primary goal of all drains (including the drains that are part of your outdoor landscaping) is to deposit wastewater into a sewer system or a nearby reservoir.
Your Sewer Line Is Outside of the Building and Underground
Sewer lines are always outside of the home and underground. These networks of pipes carry wastewater and solid waste to municipal treatment centers. All of the drains in your home lead to the sewer main, and all sewer mains lead to water treatment facilities. This is where solid waste is strained out and chemical treatment and other processes are used to clean water and return it to the potable water supply.
There Are Three Sewer Types
Three different sewer types are frequently used in residential and commercial developments. The first of these is the sewer that collects the rainwater and other runoff that travels through your landscaping drains. This sewer line routes this relatively clean water to a major body of water or reservoir. The second sewer type and the one that most homeowners are familiar with is designed to move wastewater and solid waste to a municipal treatment plant. Finally, during emergencies and when water treatment plants are at full capacity, a third sewer line called a combined sewer system collects both runoff and wastewater and releases them into the environment before treatment. Combined sewer systems are only used to mitigate extremely heavy flows of wastewater, such as in the event of sewer ruptures, floods, or other severe weather events.
Some Sewer Repairs Are the Responsibility of the City or County
All drain issues are the responsibility of homeowners themselves. Fortunately, you may be able to avoid drain problems entirely by keeping these features clean and well-maintained. Scheduling annual plumbing inspections and paying for professional drain cleaning service every two years should be sufficient for keeping most issues at bay.
Sewer line problems are a bit different. When sewer problems arise, you aren’t necessarily responsible for resolving them. If a blockage exists along your home’s sewer line, your plumber will determine the location of the obstruction. If the issue is located in a section of the sewer line that travels under your house or through your yard, you’ll have to pay for the needed repairs. Problems that exist in sections of sewer lines that lie off of your property are the responsibility of the city, county, or other municipal body that maintains the local sewers.
In Murrieta, four water districts maintain all of the city’s public wastewater systems. These are the:
- Eastern Municipal Water District
- Western Municipal Water District
- Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District
- Ranch California Water District
If you have problems along your sewer line that originate from a blockage that lies outside of your property’s boundary lines, you should share your plumber’s findings with the water district for your area. This entity will perform all of the necessary sewer repairs, including (in many instances) any secondary issues resulting from a municipal sewer blockage that affect personal property.
How to Know if You Have a Drain Problem or a Sewer Problem
There’s one easy way to determine whether or not you have a drain issue or a major sewer problem. This is simply determining how many drains are affected. Sewer lines carry all of your wastewater away from your home. When they get blocked or malfunction, waste and wastewater back up into the home via all drains. Thus, if all of the drains throughout your home develop problems at the same time, you likely have a sewer line issue. However, if you have a single drain that’s backed up, slow-moving, or emitting strange sounds or foul odors, your problem is probably drain-related and requires a simple and relatively low-cost intervention.
Common Repair Techniques for Drain Lines and Sewer Lines
Accessibility is a key factor when setting plumbing repair prices. Most drains can be accessed directly, and most drain line blockages can be cleared in a quick and non-invasive fashion.
Comparatively, sewer line problems typically require light digging, major trenching, or the application of advanced “no dig” techniques. Hiring a general plumber to handle your sewer line issues could leave you paying far more for repairs than you normally would if hiring a company that handles sewer line problems all of the time. Companies that specialize in sewer line repairs tend to have all of the necessary equipment on hand for these projects. Conversely, many general plumbers rent the needed tools and then charge their clients equipment rental fees, truck stocking fees, and other additional or even hidden charges.
Hiring a seasoned plumber with sewer line experience comes with other benefits. With a qualified professional on the job, you’ll have access to a greater range of repair techniques. These include trenchless pipe repair, sewer line camera inspections, hydro-jetting, and hydro-steaming. With hydro-jetting, it is often possible to clear blockages caused by aggressive tree roots and invasive weeds, without having to disturb the surrounding landscape at all.
Drain repair techniques are much less invasive. While both hydro-jetting and hydro-steaming can be applied in certain interior building areas, many drain blockages and other drain problems can be resolved with plunging, snaking, or other basic, hands-on measures.
Drain and Sewer Maintenance Tips
Although your drain line and your sewer line are two totally different things, both are major parts of your home plumbing system, and the two are inextricably linked. One cannot function without the other.
The level of maintenance that your drains receive will have a definite impact on the health of your sewer line. To protect both features, avoid putting non-degradable items into your plumbing system such as “flushable” personal care wipes, paper towels, and grease. The same build-ups of fats and oils that can clog your indoor drains can also cause blockages along your home’s sewer line.
You should also avoid putting corrosive drain-cleaning solutions into your plumbing system as much as possible. When these products aren’t effective at clearing blockages, they remained trapped in plumbing for hours or even days at a time. Given their corrosive nature, they can eventually erode or eat through pipes or cause other forms of structural damage.
Taking good care of your landscape will also protect your sewer line. Given the vast amounts of moisture and raw nutrients that they hold, sewer lines are often encroached upon by aggressive tree roots and weeds. Replacing outdated clay pipes at your property exterior and regularly weeding your yard are two effective strategies for preventing sewer line blockages.
We’ve been proudly serving homeowners throughout Murrieta, CA and the surrounding area since 2000. We offer heating, cooling, plumbing, and indoor air quality services. We also provide sewer line service, drain cleaning, hydro-jetting, and preventative maintenance plans. To schedule an appointment, get in touch with We Care Plumbing, Heating and Air today!
Author Bio: Rusty Cochran
Rusty Cochran is the President of We Care Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning. We Care began humbly, operating in his family’s living room. Under Rusty’s strong leadership, We Care has grown from 2 employees to over 200 employees. We Care Plumbing, Heating and Air has gained recognition across the HVAC industry, receiving numerous awards and certifications, including being named the ACCA Contractor of the Year, The Map Presidential Award several times, Angie’s List Super Service Award, NATE certification, and multiple Dave Lennox Awards. LinkedIn Profile