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Clogged Sewer? How To Find Out

Posted on: October 12, 2012

Ever hear this saying:  “It’s a dirty business, but someone has to do it!”  Well, we’re not sure, but it very well could have been coined in reference to clearing a clogged main sewer line. In fact, don’t look now, but your very own sewer line could be clogged even while you’re reading this article, but how would you know?

Here Are The Most Common Symptoms:

Multiple Fixtures Are Clogged
A very obvious sign of a sewer drain clog is when more than one plumbing fixture backs up at the same time. Toilets, tubs, and showers are the usual culprits.

Strange Reactions When Using Fixtures
The next thing to look for when you suspect a sewer drain clog is any unexpected or unusual reactions when using plumbing fixtures.  If, for example, flushing the toilet causes water to back up from your tub or shower, bingo…clogged sewer!  Another strange reaction is when your toilet water starts to bubble.  Should that happen, run water in the sink closest to the toilet for a minute or so; if the water bubbles or rises, then it wasn’t a fluke…it probably indicates a clogged sewer.

Three Common Causes of a Clogged Sewer:

Debris removed from a recent sewer drain cleaning.
Debris removed from a recent
sewer drain cleaning.

Broken Pipes
If the sewer pipes are broken or ruptured, the sewage won’t be able to properly drain through the system and will cause backups. Common causes include a sewer pipe rupture, including ground movement, increased traffic on the ground above, and type of materials used in construction.

Tree  & Shrub Roots
Older sewer lines were sometimes constructed out of clay or other porous materials. In addition, the connections between the pipe sections weren’t as tight as today’s PVC pipes. As tree and shrub roots grow, they search out sources of water. If they latch onto a sewer pipe, they will grow into the pipe in order to reach the water inside. Check out the roots pulled from a customer’s sewer line recently.

Debris, such as toilet paper, paper products or objects accidentally flushed down the toilet, can also cause the toilet to clog up. Toilet paper, in particular, can catch onto tree roots or other obstructions poking through the side of the sewer pipe. Over time, more toilet paper can begin to gather at the same spot, resulting in a major clog.

Also grease, fats and oil are a huge culprit in clogging lines. It is never a good idea to pour grease, oil or other fats down a drain. Always pour hot grease into a coffee can. Once it solidifies, you can throw it away. People mistakenly think that running hot water when the pour the grease down a drain helps wash it away. This is not the case, once grease cools off it hardens and sticks to your pipes.

What’s a Home Owner to Do? Call Len The Plumber

If sewage is coming up inside of your home Len The Plumber can help. Sewer and drain cleaning are just two of the many professional plumbing services we offer.  We’re always available to assist valued customer like you.

We’ll arrive and inspect your line to find out what is causing the back-up.  We’ll assess and see if it is a problem that falls on your property line. We’ll provide an upfront estimate for your approval before proceeding with any work. If it falls on the city’s side, we’ll advise you to reach out to the city sewer department to have fixed.

Whatever your plumbing issue might be, Len The Plumber will always be available the same day to assist.

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