If you had to clean a gallon of raw sewage out of your bathtub, how would you do it? Would you use bleach? Soap? Or would you buy a new tub? When your home plumbing system develops a blocked sewer line, sewage flowing into your bathtub — or your sink — is a very real possibility.
This plumbing emergency happens every day to homeowners all over the country. However, homes of a certain age in Ocean County are significantly more likely to experience the filth of a blocked sewer line – compared to national and New Jersey averages.
That’s no coincidence and it’s definitely not your fault. Let’s examine what makes Ocean County homes, of a certain age, significantly more likely to be hit with a stomach-turning blocked sewer line.
WHAT TYPE OF HOUSES FALL VICTIM TO THE BLOCKED SEWER LINE EPIDEMIC?
Typically, suburban homes built in the 1960s and 1970s are at the greatest risk.
If that describes your house, pay attention!
BLOCKED SEWER LINE EPIDEMIC: THE PROBLEM
In Ocean County during the 1960s and 1970s, most new homes that were built were attached to private septic systems. In the 1980s, when public sewer became the norm, those houses switched to the public sewer system.
A great idea in theory, but in practice, the sewer switch created costly blocked sewer lines for Ocean County homeowners.
When sewage workers separated a home’s sewer from the septic system, they cut sections of the pipe and routed it into the public sewer.
To connect the two separate pipes, the workers twisted a Fernco elasto-mechanical coupling — not a solid-material sewer pipe — to serve as the connection between the two pipes.
The upgrade plan posed two long-term problems:
1: Since the elasto-mechanical couplings weren’t properly bedded, they experienced excess stress and wear over years of use.
2: Even though Fernco elasto-mechanical couplings are durable and designed to last, they aren’t designed to twist. Yet the Ocean County sewer conversions of the 1960s and 1970s required twisting the elasto-mechanical couplings to connect homes to the public sewer.
Over time, the twisted, un-bedded elasto-mechanical couplings began to shear, meaning small holes began to appear.
Underground roots, looking for water, infiltrated the sheared coupling, growing into the sewer. These roots further tore open the shearing as they grew, eventually leaving a gap. With the coupling compromised, roots and other debris can block your sewer line. With your sewer line completely blocked, sewage has nowhere left to go but back into your home.
Master plumber and owner of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Frank Horvath believes approximately 80% of all stoppages in Toms River result from this issue — not from the homeowner making a mistake.
BLOCKED SEWER LINE: THE SOLUTION
Some plumbers like to apply a one-size-fix-all, short-term fix first — and ask questions later. Using a standard sewer line clearing technique like a cable clearing might temporary clear the roots growing in your pipe, but it’s a short term fix at best. If they have a path in, the roots will always grow back.
Our expert plumbers at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing prefer to begin by examining your sewer with our advanced sewer line camera. That will let us identify the location and cause behind your blocked sewer line.
If we find that your Fernco elasto-mechanical coupling is compromised, we will reconnect your sewer correctly — exactly how it should have been done in the 1980s. With a water-tight, root-impervious sewer system, you’ll stay 100% blockage free.
PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE INSPECTION
Pretty shocking stuff, huh?
Worried this could happen to you any day now?
Every house is different. Even if you are in a high-risk home in a high risk area, there are no guarantees. Roots could invade and block your sewer tomorrow — or in fifty years.
Want some certainty?
Bring out Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. Our sewer line experts can use our advanced sewer line camera to examine your sewer.
BLOCKED SEWER LINE: WRAP-UP
There’s so much to love about living in Ocean County — the frequency of blocked sewer lines just isn’t one of them. If you do experience the filth of a blocked sewer line, you’ll know the right questions to ask and the right plumber to call.
If you want to take the suspense out of your sewer line, give us a call to schedule a sewer line inspection.
Contact us for your emergency sewer line blockage, a sewer line inspection, and all of your plumbing needs.