A clogged sewer line
can be a major headache for any homeowner, causing raw sewage to flow back up your drains, flooding your home and causing costly damage. Fortunately, there are some warning signs of an impending problem that can allow you to take proactive action before your home is at risk of water damage.
Multiple Backed Up Drains
While it is common for a drain to back up and indicate a drain clog, if you have multiple backed up drains, it is a warning sign of a clogged sewer line. If you have slow flowing water in bathtubs, showers, and toilets or notice gurgling sounds in different areas of your home, it is an indication that your main sewer line may have become clogged.
Water Backs Up When Using Plumbing Fixtures
If you flush your toilet and water starts to gurgle up your shower drain or tub, it means that water is trying to leave, but is being blocked by a clog in the sewer line. Escaping water backs up to the lowest point, and that is usually your shower drain.
If you’re using your washing machine and your toilet or shower drains starts to overflow, it means that water is being forced to go elsewhere as it can’t drain from your appliance.
Take note of any unexpected water backing up when you use appliances or plumbing fixtures as this is a reliable indicator of a clogged main sewer line.
Drainage at Your Sewer Clean Out
If you’ve never heard of a sewer clean out, you’re not alone. This is typically a black or white pipe fitted with a threaded cap, providing access to your sewer line. This is designed to make it easier to clean any clogs. To locate your sewer cleanout, walk around the sides of your house near any bushes. If your home was built before 1978, it is possible that you won’t have a sewer line cleanout, but most properties after this date were fitted with one.
Once you’ve found your cleanout pull or screw off the cap. If the sewer water starts to flow up and out of the pipe or is standing in the pipe, there is a clog somewhere in the line.
Clearing a Clog in Your Main Sewer Line
Clearing a clog can be accomplished with several simple steps. Firstly, you’ll need to shut off the mains water supply to your property. The shut-off valve is usually located in your garage, near your water heater, in your basement or inside your water meter box near the street.
Next, you’ll need to call in a professional plumber who can clean your sewer lines. This is usually a 2 step process involving running a drain auger through the sewer line or using a fiber optic camera to check the line for damage or obstructions.
Clogs can be caused by a number of issues including old pipes no longer able to handle the volume of water and waste, items being accidentally flushed or root intrusion into the pipe.
An experienced professional will be able to determine the underlying issue and correct the problem as quickly as possible.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.