You might never see or hear it coming, but the damage that a clogged sewer line can cause is extensive. Your home has many pipes that take wastewater from sinks, tubs, and toilets and feed it into your main sewer line. A clog in one of the pipes can be an annoyance, but a clog in your main sewer line can be catastrophic. A clogged sewer line will affect all of the drains in your home and could lead to sewage backing up into your house. What do you need to know and what can you do to prevent this?

Signs of a Sewer Line Clog

There are a few red flags that indicate your sewer line may be backed up.
* Multiple drains throughout the home are backed-up.

* You hear gurgling noises and the toilet bubbles as the sink drain or toilet flushes; water backs-up out of unexpected places, such as a kitchen drain when you flush the toilet.

* There is a sewage odor in the home.

* Water is coming up through the basement drain.

Causes of Sewer Line Clogs
Sewer lines are usually 6 inches or more in diameter so it takes more than just a hairball to clog them.

Common Sewer Line Problems

* Tree roots are by far the most common cause. The culprit does not even need to be on your property, it may even be a neighbor’s tree. The root can grow into the pipe and crack it or it can grow around the line and crush it.

* Large obstructions can cause a sewer line to clog. Diapers, papers towels, toys, feminine hygiene products, etc. are all things that should never be flushed down your toilet. What you are putting down the garbage disposal can also be a problem, so avoid putting oil and large amounts of food in the disposal.

* In older homes, the sewer line is often made of clay or cast iron pipe. These pipes break down over time and may become cracked or collapse.

* Sometimes the problem might be further down the line. If there is a block in the public sewer or water line, this could ultimately make it into your home. In addition, in some municipalities, sewer and stormwater lines are the same, so in heavy storms the system can be overwhelmed, causing a back-up.

What to Do in Case of A Clog

So the worst has happened and you think your sewer line is clogged. Here’s what you should do.

* First and foremost, put down the bottle of chemical drain cleaner. This will not work on the sewer line and can further damage pipes.

* Shut off all water to your home immediately. Any further use can cause sewer water to back-up into the home if it has not already.

* While you can attempt to clean the line yourself, this is not recommended since most homeowners will not have the expertise and tools necessary. A plumber experienced with sewer lines will be able to complete a video camera line inspection and determine the cause of, and properly address, the issue.

Having sewage back-up into your home, or just the possibility, can be a scary prospect. But don’t panic. Let the plumbing experts at PSI focus on your pipes and clogged drains so you don’t have to. Give us a call at 970.445.1235.

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