Sewer lines are hard to see because plumbers bury them a few feet in the soil. The main sewer line connects small sewer pipes that transport dirty water from the kitchen sink, toilet, and bathroom and ends at the wastewater treatment plant. Although the sewer line is not visible on the surface, you can tell when there is a clog. You will notice slow drains from your sinks and the bathroom, constant clogging of drains and toilets, dark water, gurgling sounds, and odors. You could also see flooding in the garden. Experiencing a blocked sewer line can be terrifying, but it is a fixable problem. Use vinegar, baking soda, a plumbing snake, or factory-made enzyme to clear the clogs.
Alternatively, you can hire professional plumbers to deal with the clogs. J. Blanton Plumbing deals with sewer line clogs and cleaning drains. They have a qualified team that works 24/7, and through them, you can learn more about caring for your sewer line.
Signs of a clogged sewer line
Sewer lines can clog due to overgrown tree roots, flushing the debris down the toilet, and pipe damage. Although the lines are buried a few feet under the ground, you can see signs of clogging. Some of the ways to tell you to have a clogged sewer line are the following.
1. Backing water in the tubs and toilets
Have you ever flushed a toilet, and instead of the dirty water draining, more dirty water comes to the surface? That signifies a clogged sewer line. The clog makes it hard for the stagnating water to flow to the wastewater treatment plant. So when you flush the tub or toilet, the dirty water has nowhere to go, so it moves backward. Blocked sewer lines can cause flooding in the toilets and bathtubs. In addition, when the dirty water backs up, it causes odors in the house because it is a mixture of waste materials. Even worse, the backing water can cause bacteria growth, compromising your family’s health.
2. Slow-draining sinks and bathtubs
Besides getting dark, dirty water back into the sink after flushing, you could also notice that the sinks take longer to drain. This happens when there is a clog in the sewer line. The clogging could be due to solid materials or broken pipes. Slow-draining sinks and bathtubs can affect other fixtures in the home and cause odors. The clogs can also lead to flooding and moisture in the basement, so keep an eye on that.
3. Gurgling sounds in the plumbing system
Failure of the main sewer line to work correctly can cause weird sounds in the plumbing system. This comes from water and air bubbles when you flush a toilet or drain the washing machine. Other sounds due to blocked sewer lines are strange hissing or tickling noises. The sounds are often on the walls, ceiling, or the basement, where the small drainage pipes are mainly located.
4. The constant need to unclog
If your toilets and sinks are constantly clogging, the problem could be your main sewer line. Clogs in the tube cause a halt of operations at the small drainage leading to clogs in the sinks and bathtubs. Most homeowners quickly unclog the small drains, but this does not fix the problem until a plumber checks and unblocks the sewer line. So, constantly unclogging the sinks and toilets is not a problem every homeowner goes through, so ensure you hire a professional plumber.
5. Flooding in the garden
Another sign of a clogged sewer line is flooding in the yard. Most sewer lines pass through the yard to the water treatment plant. The clogs could cause these pipes to leak. The water seeps through the soil, and after saturation, it floods the garden. Since sewer line water is dirty, you could also notice odors in the garden. The foul smell travels into the rooms, making them an uncomfortable place to stay.
How to treat clogged sewer lines
Clogged sewer lines are hard to deal with because they affect other parts of the plumbing system. If you see any signs of a clogged sewer, your first resort could be contacting a plumber. However, these tips will help you deal with the problem before the expert comes.
1. Turn off the faucets
More water flowing in the blocked sinks and toilets can cause more trouble. It makes the house messier, the sinks fuller, and it can cause flooding. Ensure you turn off all the faucets to stop more water from flowing. If you have toddlers who won’t understand the importance of refraining from using the faucets, turn off the main water valve. Check for the valve’s wheel in the basement or near the water meter. Shutting down the water flow in the home also ensures there are no leaking pipes or automatic processes like draining dishwashers. Home flooding can cause mold, mildew growth, and destruction of wooden floors and walls.
2. Ask for a camera inspection
Sewer lines are not visible like other tiny plumbing lines. Therefore, you need a camera to see the extent of the damage. This enables you to know the cause of the clog and determine the best unclogging method to choose. Using a camera also helps you see other damages in the plumbing system that the blocked sewer line caused. Once you know how bad the situation is, you can explain it to your plumber, who will advise whether to replace or repair any damaged pipes. Before getting a camera inspection, note that these services are expensive. Ensure you negotiate the costs with the expert before the assessment not to pay unreasonable prices.
3. Call a plumber
Once you determine there is a clog in the sewer line, call a plumber. Plumbers have the experience and expertise to repair clogging pipes and will advise you on how to keep your sewer line safe from clogs.
Realizing that your sewer line is clogging can be traumatizing. Most homeowners think about the mess caused by those clogs, like toilet and sink blockages, odors, and other plumbing problems. The good news is these clogs are repairable. Call an experienced plumber to remove the clogging materials and get advice on caring for your sewer line.