Unless you’ve had sewer problems before, chances are you’ve given little thought to your main sewer line lately. This line runs from your house to the city sewer, and carries all waste and used water away from your home. While the city is responsible for the sewer, you are responsible for the line from your home until it connects to the sewer.
Even the most solidly constructed main sewer line is susceptible to damage or clogging over time. Here are some warning signs that there is a problem with your main sewer line.
Warning Signs of a Sewer Line Problem
Any one of these signs is an indication that something is wrong with your plumbing, and most of them point to a sewer line problem. If one or more of these symptoms occur together, the likelihood of a sewer line clog or damage is high.
- Persistent or recurring clogs in drains and toilets.
- Do you have a clog that just won’t clear, or a slow drain that’s gotten worse over time? It could be a clog in the direct line below the drain, but it may also be an indication of a larger problem.
- If the clogs come and go again, pay attention to the signs we mention below.
- Issues with multiple drains.
- Maybe it’s not just an issue with the shower drain, but your kitchen sink drain is also draining slowly. If multiple drains are affected, you most likely have a clog in your system that is located where multiple drains come together.
- Gurgling or smelly drains.
- If your drains smell like sewage or gurgles, there is definitely a clog somewhere it shouldn’t be. It could be in the main water drain, or it could be in your sewer line.
- Water backup in other drains.
- If you flush your toilet and the sink drain gets filled with water, sewage, or even just gurgles constantly, you have a clog in your system that is located where multiple drains come together.
- Sewage backup in your basement.
- This is an even more obvious sign that something is wrong with your plumbing, but it could be a main drain clog, or it could be a sewer line clog.
- The only way to know for sure is to ask for a professional diagnosis.
- Lawn changes.
- Is your lawn unusually green, especially along your sewer line? Are there pools of water in odd places? Is there evidence of sewage?
- If you answered yes to any of these questions, contact a professional immediately.
What Causes Sewer Line Issues?
You’ve answered yes to several of the points above, and you suspect you have a sewer line problem. But how did it happen?
Main sewer lines are subject to a lot of use. This pipe carries out all the waste from your household, and unless it’s brand new, has been doing that for years. There are a number of things that can cause sewer line issues, including:
- Tree roots
- Sagging sewer line
- Broken sewer line
- Debris flushed down the line
- Grease poured down drains
Any one of these things can cause significant issues along your sewer line. When you have a professional plumber or drain cleaner diagnose the sewer line repair, they can also tell you the likely culprit. If it’s something the previous occupants did, or something your family is doing now, you may be able to avoid the same issue in the future.
Finding the Source of the Sewer Main Line Clog is Vital
If you suspect a sewer main line clog, we recommend calling a professional immediately. A sewer main line clog is probably not going to repair itself, and has the capacity to get a lot worse very quickly. It’s important to call a professional plumber because if the clog is within your sewer line, it’s almost completely inaccessible, and will need to be carefully diagnosed.
At D&F Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, we use video inspection to diagnose sewer line issues. Video inspection is the easiest and least invasive way to find a problem without digging up your yard or guessing. This is also why you should call a professional who has experience with this technology; without video inspection, there will be a lot of guesswork, driving up the repair cost and time spent on the job.
After the source of the clog is found, whether it’s a cracked pipe or a tree root curled inside the pipe, the plumbing professional will be able to make an assessment of the damage, and estimate repair costs. Finding the source of the clog before repair begins ensures that costs stay as low as possible, and no unnecessary digging is done.