A clogged sewer line is a red flag for bigger problems. If left alone, a small clog grows into a big clog, and the bigger the clog, the bigger the maintenance bill.
Blocked sewer lines are inconvenient for many reasons. They can impede water flow, and drainage and cause nasty backups in your plumbing.
At James Plumbing & Heating, we deal with sewer line clogs regularly. One thing we like to share with customers is the warning signs. If you know what the symptoms of a blocked sewer line are, you can quickly diagnose the problem and call for help. Here’s what you need to know.
Drains Stop Draining
One of the biggest indicators the sewer line is clogged is water that won’t drain. All the drains in your home eventually connect to the main sewage line. Some are connected to one another; others bypass each other to reduce contamination.
If you only have problems draining one drain, it might not be sewer line related. Instead, you could have a single blocked pipe. Like a shower drain clogged with hair. This is a fairly quick fix and one you may even be able to accomplish yourself.
If all or many drains are having issues, it’s likely the sewage line. This includes flushing the toilet and draining the laundry basin.
Drains Drain Slowly
It’s not just a complete pause in pipe drainage that points to a sewer line problem. Slow-draining pipes are just as problematic. One bright silver lining here is that slow draining means there’s still some room for water to drain. Just not as quickly as we’d like.
You may also notice your toilet needs to be unclogged frequently. Clear pipes shouldn’t require ongoing plunger use. If you find yourself with a plunger in hand more often than not, there’s likely a sewer line blockage in the building.
Smells and Sounds
Along with the obvious unmoving water, you can detect a blocked sewage line by:
- Strange sounds: Gurgling is the most common sound heard from pipes with blockages. This is the sound of water trying to go down and air bubbles rising. Gurgling usually means the pipe is still draining, just slowly.
- Bad smells: The sewage line is named for a reason. If the line is blocked or backing up into your home, you may detect some foul smells coming up the drains.
If you notice these things, call a professional. The sooner your pipes get the attention they need, the less damage they incur.
The Floor Drain is Leaking Sewage
Most homes keep the floor drain in the basement. This is a drain above the sump pump. If you notice bad smells or literal sewage rising from the floor, there’s definitely a blockage in the main sewer line. This is because the wastewater from your home has nowhere to go and is beginning to back up into the house.
Don’t tackle this issue on your own. There’s no quick fix for the floor drain. A plunger or auger won’t do the trick. A professional is needed to survey the pipe and see how deep the clog goes.
Flushing Toilets Causes Bathtub Trouble
Flushing the toilet should send wastewater away from the bathroom, not send it flowing into the bathtub. If you notice wastewater rising into your tub or shower, the sewer line is likely the culprit.
You may notice other areas of your home with similar problems. For example, flushing the toilet causes the basement wash basin to fill with water, or the washing machine, itself, to fill with waste.
Again, like the basement floor drain, the problem is that there’s nowhere for wastewater to flow. It’s forcing its way back up into your home by emptying into other drains and pipes.
Even if the problem comes and goes, the blockage doesn’t. If water begins draining more freely, it’s simply flowing around the blockage. Eventually, the problem will pick up where it left off.
Call a Professional
To fix a clogged sewer line, a professional will run a camera down the line to find the blockage. Once they know where and what the blockage is, they can begin removing it.
In extreme cases, some pipes may need to be replaced altogether. This is sometimes the case when corrosion has caused the pipes to cave in on themselves. This kind of blockage isn’t fixable by removing clogs.
If you live in Santa Fe and are concerned about your sewer line, James Plumbing & Heating can help. Call us today to learn more about our services and get rid of those nasty sewer line blockage symptoms.