Main Sewer Clogs: Causes, Warning Signs & Replacement Options

Do you know that the largest and most essential part of your home’s plumbing system, the main sewer line, can become clogged? This can be caused by the wrong use of drains, fixtures, pipes, and other factors. Learn what causes a main sewer line clog, warning signs to watch out for and replacement options available. Get educated on this important issue before it becomes an expensive problem.

RooterMan Plumbing is your trusted partner for all of your plumbing needs. Our experienced technicians have the skills and knowledge to diagnose and repair any type of sewer line issue quickly and efficiently. Whether you are in need of a simple drain cleaning or a complete sewer line replacement, our team can help. Give us a call today!

Common Causes of a Clogged Sewer Line

A slow-running sink or bathtub, or a clogged drain can be a source of inconvenience. However, it can be fixed with relative ease.

But when all the drains in your home are backing up at the same time, you have a bigger problem. This is usually due to a sewer line clog. When this happens, you’ll require significant drain clearing. If this fails, then the repair or replacement of the whole sewer line or a section of it will be necessary. Below you’ll find the first signals that you require a repair or replacement procedure.

Significant Pipe Damage

If your sewer pipes are ruptured, cracked, or broken sewage will not be able to flow through it anymore. This causes the water to back up into your home, resulting in health hazards and property damage. The main causes of sewer pipe rupture or crack are:

  • Shifting soil, use of heavy equipment above the soil, and other major activities can result in sewer line rupture.
  • Pipe corrosion due to age and lack of maintenance can also lead to rupture.
  • When the seals between the pipes are broken, they can lead to pipe damage.

A Sagging Sewer Line

Soil problems can cause a part of your pipe to sink. The low section will then accumulate waste and cause blockages.

Tree Root Intrusion

The roots of trees are attracted to water. That is why they often invade the outer perimeter of sewer lines, cracking them or further blocking them from performing their intended purpose. The tree roots will continue their growth inside the pipes, causing them to break and clog. This problem is more common in older pipes that are made of clay. Today’s pipes are made of PVC, a material that is stronger and with tight connections.

Flushing Debris Down Your Toilet

To avoid frequent plumbing problems you need to be aware of what you should and shouldn’t flush down your toilet. Never put anything other than human waste, water, and approved toilet paper down the toilet. Doing otherwise will clog the drain pipes and potentially cause damage to the whole system.

Pouring Grease Down The Drain

You should not pour grease, oil, and fats down the drain. These substances will cool and solidify over time, causing blockages in your pipes. Running hot water while pouring these substances won’t help either, as they will still solidify. It is safer to pour hot grease into a disposable container and throw it away once cooled.

What Are The Main Symptoms of Sewer Line Problems?

It’s important to pick up sewer line problems early in order to avoid costly repairs. Here are some signs of a sewer line clog:

• Repeated drain or sewer line clogs

• Gurgling from the toilets and bathtubs

• Several fixtures are clogged

• Obvious lawn changes

Repeated Drain or Sewer Line Clogs

If there’s a drain in your home that’s constantly getting clogged, it’s often a sign of a sewer line problem. If you’re unclogging the drain yourself and you’re seeing grease or other debris that would normally flow through the sewer, then this is definitely a red flag. You should avoid liquid drain cleaners and call a professional plumber as soon as possible.

Gurgling From The Toilets And Bathtubs

When you suspect that you have a sewer line clog, you should be on the lookout for unusual occurrences while using plumbing fixtures. Here are some red flags:

  • Water backs up from your shower or tub when you flush the toilet.
  • If toilet water bubbles, run water in the sink near the toilet for about a minute. If the water keeps bubbling or rising, you may have a clog.
  • You hear a gurgling sound coming from your toilet, bathtub, or shower when they are in use. When this happens you should contact a plumber immediately.

Several Fixtures Are Clogged

One of the clearest signs of a sewer line clog is when multiple fixtures in your home are clogged at the same time. If you have noticed that several drains in your home are having problems, it may be because there is an issue with the main sewer line and not just one single drain pipe.

Obvious Lawn Changes

Your sewer line goes through your lawn as it runs into the city’s sewage system. That is why you should be on the lookout for changes to your lawn: 

  • An indentation or sinkhole in your lawn could be a sign of a sewer line break.
  • A squashy patch of grass could be a sign of a collapsed or blocked line. This is especially suspicious if you’ve not had rain in a while.

What Are The Sewer Line Repair And Replacement Options?

Sewer line repair and replacement tasks should always be left to the professionals. It’s important that these jobs are done correctly in order to avoid further damage.

Video Inspection

An in-line video inspection camera can be sent through the sewer line to see exactly what’s causing the blockage. This is a great way to diagnose what kind of repairs are needed and it eliminates the need for traditional trenching. It is a cheaper option and works as explained below:

  • The camera captures images and sends them to a device controlled by a technician. The images are often recorded and reviewed.
  • Along with that, the camera’s radio transmitter identifies the exact spot and depth of the blockage. The technician is then able to determine what kind of repairs are needed.

If the technician decides that a sewer line repair or replacement is needed, there are several options available:

Traditional Trenching

This method involves digging up your lawn with a backhoe in order to reach the sewer line, usually from the house all the way to the street. Sometimes, depending on where your home is and the state of your pipes, this may be the only option. After the job is done, the backhoe is used to fill the trenches and restore the lawn.

Trenchless Sewer Repair And Replacement

This method of sewer line repair or replacement is less invasive than traditional trenching. It involves creating entrance holes where the affected pipe begins and ends, then pushing a new pipe along the length of the old pipe. This breaks up the old pipe and the new pipe takes its place.

It’s important to note that while trenchless repair can save you time and money, it may not be the best choice for all types of pipes. An experienced plumber will be able to evaluate your situation and advise accordingly.

Are You in Need of Sewer Line Repair or Replacement?

If you are experiencing any of the warning signs listed above, it’s important to contact the professionals at RooterMan Plumbing immediately. We will be able to assess your situation and offer you the best repair or replacement option for your needs. Ignoring these red flags could result in costly damage to your home and property. Make sure to address any plumbing issues as soon as possible to avoid further problems. Contact us today at 281.351.4422 to get started! We look forward to working with you.

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