The Warning Signs of a Main Sewer Line Clog

The sewer line in your home is one of the most important parts of your plumbing and removes wastewater from your property. If it becomes blocked or damaged, it can bring about issues that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy! So, the sooner you can detect a clog or blockage, the faster you’ll be able to fix it without unnecessary cost or stress.

What causes a main sewer line clog?

A number of different factors can cause your main sewer line to block. They can get clogged by debris from flushing the toilet or emptying the sink – items such as paper towels, excess grease, and other waste can lead to a build-up of material in the main sewer line and, over time, this then blocks the pipes.

Mature trees are also notorious for causing your sewer line to become blocked or damaged. The root system of trees tends to follow the sewer line as they grow, and they will seek out pipes because they contain nutrients that the tree needs to flourish. Eventually, the tree roots can penetrate weak spots in the pipes, such as the joints, and ultimately cause blockages that can lead to a total collapse of the pipe.

Sewer lines can also break due to old age and the simple passage of time. Many sewer pipes were installed a long time ago and will generally be in poor shape as a result. Many of these older pipes are made from steel, clay, or tile and are prone to deteriorate over time. Throw in some tree roots or excess debris, shifting soil or freezing temps, and the problem can develop.

How do you know if you have a broken line?

When it comes to a broken sewer line, the main indicators or most common red flags will be the sound of your toilet suddenly bubbling or emitting strange sounds. You might have trouble flushing the toilet or draining your sink, and end up with water or raw sewage backing up out of a drain or the toilet.

Other signs that your main sewer line is broken and not working could be the sight of grass in your front or backyard becoming quite lush in certain areas outside – almost unnaturally so – which can be evidence that material is escaping into the ground around the piping. Related to this, you might also see that your lawn is soaked during dry periods and when it appears obvious that the lawn isn’t wet from the rain. Again, this could be a sign that wastewater is escaping from the line and into the lawn.

What is the remedy for a clogged or broken sewer line?

The best way to prevent blockage is to have your sewer pipes regularly inspected and cleaned by a professional to avoid problems in the future. 

If you do get a clog in your plumbing system and you have a feeling that your main sewer line could be blocked or damaged, there are several courses of action to take. Most of these will include hiring a professional to help with the problem, and approaches will include:

  • Running a cable (a drain snake or auger with a sharp blade on its tip) into your sewer line and through the clog to try to dislodge and remove it.
  • If the general location of the problem is known and is accessible, then a professional can also put in a new trenchless line or carry out a spot repair to resolve the issue.
  • If the problem can’t be found, a camera inspection can be carried out to try to find the problem and its exact location. The professional should be able to quickly understand whether tree roots are the issue, whether you have a broken pipe, and where the problem is situated so that it can be fixed. 
  • Another remedy is to try to clear the blockage with the use of hydro jetting, where a high-pressure water jet travels through the sewer line to clear any blockages.

Talk to Ashton Service Group who are experts at diagnosing the source of your sewer line problem with professional tools and training.

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