Just as residential sewer main lines need regular plumbing maintenance, so too do commercial buildings. Over time, solids collect in the sewer line, and tree roots can intrude into the line and exacerbate the problem. While one drain that is clogged is a simple problem anyone can solve themselves, sewer line clogs need to be handled by a licensed plumber.
If your commercial building's drains have stopped flowing well and it's time to call out a plumber, then it's important you understand the process they will take to clear the sewer main. To this end, the plumber will use the steps listed below:
Step 1: Video Pipe Inspection
Unarguably, one of the best innovations in plumbing during the last few decades was the invention of fiberoptic pipe inspection cameras. It used to be a plumber had to guess what was happening in sewer lines and act accordingly. Thankfully, they can now put a simple video camera down into the line and look to see what the problem is. This is fantastic because it allows for more accurate repair solutions.
Step 2: Drain Augering
If the plumber inspected your commercial building's sewer line and discovered a clog, then they will first try augering to remove it. A sewer main line auger is a long, coiled metal tool the plumber feeds into the sewer's service port.
Once inside the sewer, the auger is rotated and hopefully removes the clogging material. However, if the sewer has tree roots intruding into it or the clog is too severe, then it will need to be cleared with hydro-jetting.
Step 3: Drain Hydro-Jetting
If the clog in your commercial building's main sewer line is not adequately removed with an auger, then the plumber will use a hydro-jetting tool. Hydro-jets are connected to the end of a water hose and are essentially mini pressure washers. The strong stream of water cuts through a clog and is more effective for clearing tree roots than augering, but hydro-jetting isn't without risks. Old clay sewer pipes can be damaged by hydro-jetting.
Repairing a Sewer Line Damaged by Hydro-Jetting
Finally, if your building's sewer main line is damaged by the hydro-jetting, then all is not lost. The line is now clear, and so it can be lined with a flexible pipe to prevent it from leaking. This process is referred to as a trenchless sewer repair because it can be completed without ever having to dig up the pipe.