Near the town of Kusadasi, Turkey, lie the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus. Its history dates to 2000 B.C. Marble roads and solid granite columns abound. An elegant mosaic-covered sidewalk remains in tact. The shop of a spice vendor can be viewed just as it was when it was open for business 20 centuries before Christ walked the earth.
Even the "user-friendly" portion of a public bathroom remains fully in tact. Open trenches remain beneath solid stone benches (with strategically placed holes in them). Unlike folks today, Ephesians didn't have to worry about toilet paper clogging up their sewer system.
Now, 4,000 years later, when a sewer backs up, it still can cause problems. However, unlike the Ephesians, we have the "sewer auger," a snakelike tool made of ultramodern coiled spring steel that is designed to travel within a sewer pipe -- in line and around corners -- to dislodge obstructions.
The snake is inserted into the sewer line in one of two ways:
--Through an outlet adjacent to a fixture.
--Through a removable cap known as a cleanout (a flat cap with a hex nut in the center).
Either method is acceptable depending on where a clog exists. Sometimes the cleanout is best and other times removing a fixture (such as the toilet) or the fittings next to a fixture (such as the sink trap) can be better. It all depends on which access point is closer to the clog and easier to access. Always start cleaning closest to the point of the backup. Generally speaking if only one fixture is clogged it means that only the line near that fixture is blocked. Cleaning down line or at the main line when a "branch" (or secondary) line is clogged could prove to be an effort in futility -- beginning to clean beyond the obstruction just doesn't work. Regardless of how you attempt to access a sewer line, there are some commonsense rules that should be followed to make your cleaning attempt a successful one.
Backed-up sewage can exist beyond (uphill from) the point you intend to access for cleaning.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.