Avoid Block Drains
The first and easiest thing you can do is work to prevent major blockages in your drains. Clogs and blockages are the number one reason for major sewer line repairs and they are completely avoidable.
To start, do not put anything down the drain that your system is not designed to handle. Remember that while toilet paper actually dissolves in water over time, other types of paper do not. Napkins, sanitary products and paper towels will remain whole in the sewer system and eventually clog your sewer line.
If you have a child, make sure they do not put any small objects in the drain such as toys, food, or clothing. Even when something actually flushes down the drain, there is a possibility it will get stuck between your home and the final sewer outlet.
In the kitchen, avoid putting any grease or other food waste down the drain. Only use the garbage disposal for things that it can safely break up and run the faucet at the same time as you grind the food. This will ensure that it completely breaks down whatever you place inside before it is flushed through. Grease in particular is a major problem in pipes as it coats the lining and other items can stick to it.
Limiting Root Problems
Roots are another major issue for sewer systems that can be avoided. Most of the time, trees and shrubs are planted far from sewer lines, unless they are added after the line is installed. Make sure you know where your sewer line is located and do not place any plants with extensive root systems nearby. Additionally, keep all root systems properly watered. Roots will usually only extend toward the pipes under your home if they are looking for a water source and the sewer line can provide that source.
Trimming or removing trees that are growing too quickly may be necessary. However, you should also have a professional do a video inspection of your sewer line and check for any potential cracks and leaks. Any water escaping the sewer line, even in small amounts will attract root growth. If roots do grow into your pipes, immediate service is needed to avoid a complete break.
Performing Maintenance On Your Own
Regular maintenance on your drains goes a long way when you are trying to avoid problems in your system. Pouring boiling hot water down the drain once per week will help to break up any errant grease that may have clung on. You should also install strainers and traps wherever possible to avoid the impact of things like hair or soap scum building up in the drain.
Clear out your traps regularly as well. You can use an auger if necessary to avoid any buildup in the actual drain. If you notice any foul smells escaping your drains, it is likely due to a dried trap. If you use the fixture regularly, call a professional to have the trap and the drain attached to it checked and make sure nothing is flowing backward in your system.
The vents on your roof may also be a problem as air is required to push the water through the drains. If the air vents get clogged, sewer gasses can back up into your system and cause noxious fumes or smells to form.