main sewer line clogSewer lines help to transport water from a home to the sewer mains underground. Sewer lines are hidden away under the ground, so most homeowners don’t think about their sewer lines until they have a clog. If your main sewer line is clogged, all of the water from your home has nowhere to go. Eventually, this could lead to not only water but also raw sewage coming up through interior drains.

Homeowners can be left with a huge mess that has a horrible smell, and it can also be quite expensive to get the damage fixed. There are quite a few different signs to look out for that can help you to determine if you have a main sewer line clog. If you think you have a sewer line clog, then don’t hesitate to call in a professional plumber; they can quickly verify if you do have one so they can begin to clear up the clog.

Clogged Drains

A single clogged drain isn’t something to be too worried about. It’s when you have multiple clogged drains that you need to begin to worry. If the water from your sink, shower, bath, etc. drains slowly, it is a sign that you could have a main sewer line clog.

Other signs that your main drain line is clogged:

  • When you flush the toilet, water comes up through your bath or shower drain.
  • If water backs up into your shower or bathtub or the toilet water overflows when you’re using your washing machine.
  • If you are running water at a sink close to the toilet for more than a minute and the water level of the toilet rises or your toilet bubbles.
  • There is a horrible raw sewage smell coming from your drains.
  • There is a loud gurgle sound coming from your drains

Preventing sewer line clogs

There are few steps that you should follow to prevent a main sewer line clog:

  • Thicker toilet paper, feminine hygiene products and paper towels are common causes for sewer pipe clogs. To prevent clogs, try not to flush any of these down the toilet, instead, dispose of them in the trash.
  • When you are in the kitchen, avoid pouring fats, coffee grounds, and cooking oil down your sinks drain.
  • You could also install a catch-all, which prevents hair from going down the drains of your shower, sink, or bath.

Tree roots can be the cause of the clog

Another common cause for a clogged sewer line is tree roots. Tree roots can crush the sewer pipe, which especially happens in older homes that have older pipes that are collapsing. One of the first signs of a sewer pipe that has been affected by tree roots is a gurgling, bubbling toilet, and slow flowing drains. Again, call in a plumber immediately, as if action is not taken, an entire sewer line clog will develop.

Release the pressure of a build up

If you have a clogged drain and believe that the cause is a sewer drain block, it is really important to shut off the water. Some homeowners will have access to the sewer cleanout line. This should be outside, near your home – look out for a white pipe that is short and round, it should also have a rubber cap.

If you have one of these, remove the cap to release the pressure of a build up. A lot of people use chemical drain cleaners in hopes this will prevent any clogs. Another way to avoid them is to fill your sinks up full then drain them. This will create water pressure and help to make sure that water can flow through your pipes and also push out some of the waste that is sitting in your sewer line.

How the plumber will clear your sewer line

When you hire a professional plumber to clean your sewer line, they often start off by asking you some questions about the clog – how you noticed it, where the smells are coming from, which drains the backup is coming up, etc. They will then locate the clean out, which is a fitting outside. Opening up the clean out means the plumber has easier access to the sewer lines.

There are several different ways a plumber can eliminate a clog from your sewer line:

  • A professional plumber will use a drain snake, also known as an auger, on the clog to clear it. An auger is a long, flexible cable that is put down the drain and it fits around any bends in the plumbing. Most clogs are easy to reach as your plumber will have an auger that is a length of 50 feet or longer. This is a simple cleanout and one of the cheaper options for sorting the issue.
  • If your plumber cannot find the source of the problem, they will often recommend a camera inspection. A camera will be placed on the end of an auger and put down the drain; it will show the plumber a clear view of what is causing the blockage. Identifying the cause of the blockage will allow the plumber to come up with an appropriate solution.
  • Although an auger will break up the clog, it doesn’t clean out your sewer line. High-pressure hoses are the most effective way to clean a sewer line. The strong stream of water will clear up any residue that is within the sewer line, and it can also break up any clogs. This process will cost more than the auger, but it could mean clogs are a lot less likely, and the problem will not need to be addressed as often.

To ensure that the process is a success, the clean out will be reinstalled, and the plumber will check the drains in your home. If the process was successful, there should be no gurgling or bubbling, no slow draining water from baths, sinks, or showers and no sewage or waste coming up any of your drains.