Your sewer line channels all of the waste from your toilets, tubs, and sinks away from your home and toward the main sewer under the street. When it’s working as it should, you might not think too much about it.
However, when it breaks or collapses, there are usually telltale signs that something’s gone awry. When you know how to recognize these signs, you can take action immediately to schedule repairs and protect your property.
Not sure what to look for? Today, we’re sharing a few of the most common signs that your sewer line is broken and what to do about it.
What is a Sewer Line Repair?
A sewer line repair is a professional service designed to fix smaller issues that can affect your sewer line, such as minor clogs and cracks. By taking a proactive approach and addressing these issues before they snowball, you can usually avoid a costlier and more time-consuming project down the road.
Left untreated, even small concerns can grow over time. When that happens, your only solution may be a full-scale sewer replacement. Repair services can be accomplished quicker and more cost-effectively, so it’s important to know who to call.
At Dynamic Sewer & Drain, our plumbers are well-versed in every aspect of broken sewer line repair. We know the warning signs to look for and how to reverse them to keep your line in great shape.
How will you know when to call us? Thankfully, most sewer lines don’t simply fall apart overnight. Rather, they fall victim to smaller issues that tend to compound over time. By staying diligent, you can identify those issues as soon as they occur.
While you might be tempted to tackle the problem yourself, we always recommend letting an expert plumbing team like ours take the reins. We might live in a DIY-friendly world, but a clogged sewer drain pipe is more involved than a clogged toilet.
In your attempt to correct the problem with your line, you could wind up doing more harm than good. Instead of stressing and adding to your repair bill, call us the first time and we’ll set you on the right path.
How Do You Find Yours?
There might be multiple drains in your home, but they all lead to the same place: the main sewer line. This line goes into the municipal system or your septic tank system.
Before you experience a backup, break, or clog, take the time to pinpoint the location of this line. There are two places to look.
If your house has an indoor sewer cleanout point, start by locating it. These are typically located in basements, garages, and even crawl spaces. While you’re searching around, look for a pipe that’s about four inches around with a screw cap on the top. That’s it!
Other houses might have an outdoor sewer cleanout point. If you’ve searched throughout your house and can’t find the indoor point mentioned above, then head outside. Most exterior points are located at the foundation of a house, though you may also find yours near the street, where the sewer line and municipal sewer main join together.
Usually, the cap is visible and easy to spot. It sticks out of the ground just a little, though landscaping could obscure it from view. If you have a buried sewer cleanout, then it can be even more challenging to pinpoint its location. If you’re stuck, locate the main floor bathroom. Then, search on the closest side of the home. Read our blog on where to find your sewer line if you are still struggling to find yours.
Now, let’s take a look at a few of the most common problems you might encounter once you find it.
Signs of a Broken Sewer Line
1. Strange Smells In Your Home
If there’s something wrong with your sewer line, you might smell it before you see it. There’s a telltale odor that usually emits from your drains, though it can be difficult to detect it among all of the other scents lingering around your house. To some degree this is normal, especially considering the waste that passes through each sewer drain on a daily basis.
However, when your sewer line is working properly, it does a good job of containing those smells so they don’t waft throughout your home. If you notice a pronounced, pungent smell around the area, that’s an immediate red flag. Other times, it might be subtle, smelling more like mold or mildew. These are the common smells that indicate an issue.
Either way, go ahead and call us. We will come out and conduct an inspection to determine if the stinky culprit is indeed your sewer line or another plumbing issue that needs repair.
2. Your Toilet is Gurgling
You don’t expect your toilet to talk back to you. However, if there’s a problem with your sewer line, you might notice that not only does it flush slowly, but it gurgles as the water is going down the drain. It might also gurgle during the day for no reason, even when no one is using it!
These sounds usually mean that there’s a clog somewhere in your sewer pipes. If waste travels down the line and encounters the clog, it will have nowhere to go but back up. When this happens, it creates air bubbles in your toilet bowl, which leads to that ominous gurgling noise.
Our plumbers can perform a clogged sewer line repair to identify and remove the source of the blockage. By acting quickly, you can avoid a full sewer line replacement and return your bathroom to its normal, quiet state.
3. Mold is Growing on the Walls
One of the lesser-known facts about sewer line malfunctions is that they can increase the humidity level in your home. The excess moisture in the air creates a hospitable environment for mold growth.
In time, you might notice streaks of mold growing along your walls. While they can appear anywhere, they’re usually found on walls located behind plumbing fixtures, such as the ones under your bathroom sink.
Even if it’s just a little mold, don’t just wipe it down and walk away. Once mold has become visible, the issue is deeper than you think. Until your sewer line is fixed, it will continue to grow and pose a health risk to you and your family.
Our plumbers can inspect the area to determine if sewer line issues are the source of the mold production. If so, we’ll work quickly to resolve the problem, restoring your property and your peace of mind.
4. Drains are Slow or Not Properly Draining
Does it seem like you’re spending forever standing over the sink? If your drains are working slowly, your sewer line could be to blame. Even a small clog can cause a significant amount of damage, so it’s smart to call our team as soon as you notice a problem.
There are a few issues you could be dealing with, and the two most common are clogs and frozen/burst pipes.
If your sewer pipes are clogged, the obstruction could prevent water from flowing freely and quickly through your drains. If you attempt to dislodge the blockage by yourself, you could worsen the problem and cause more damage. Our plumbers know how to identify and isolate both minor and major clogs in the least intrusive way possible, preserving your pipes and preventing a costly replacement.
The other possibility is that the ground near where your sewer line is installed has frozen. When the pipes get too cold, it chills the water inside, too. This can cause it to flow more slowly. The water could even freeze and expand, which can crack or break the pipe.
This is a more serious issue that requires the attention of a professional plumber. We can determine the extent of the damage and advise on whether a repair or replacement is appropriate.
5. Puddles in Your Yard
You shouldn’t have to put on your rain boots every time you walk outside. In a normal yard, the soil absorbs water quickly and moisture disappears within a few hours. You can water your yard or enjoy a thunderstorm without worrying about major soft spots developing in your lawn.
What does it mean when there are puddles in your yard that aren’t drying up as they should? If they’re sticking around longer than usual, it could point to a sewer line problem.
Walk around the puddles and listen. Do you hear an unusual squelching noise? If so, it could mean that your sewer line is leeching water into the soil. The leak could be coming from cracks or breaks somewhere along the line, and it won’t stop until you address the issue.
Our plumbers can find and repair the damage, ensuring that no excess water makes its way into your lawn. This way, you can enjoy your outdoor space in confidence!
6. Your Toilet is Backing Up When Flushing
When your sewer line is working correctly, waste will travel down the toilet without issue. If it has started to come back up when you flush, there could be something wrong.
Often, homeowners don’t realize there’s anything going on with their line until they discover this warning sign. Then, they go to use the bathroom and wonder why their waste won’t stay down.
While the water that backs up might be clear, it will most often be murky and dirty. This means there’s a major clog somewhere in your drains. Check the other pipes in your house to see if they’re draining as they should. If your shower, bathtub, or sink drains appear to be backed up, this can confirm your suspicions of a clog.
First, turn off the water supply behind your toilets to prevent them from overflowing. Then, give us a call instead of reaching for the plunger. If the problem is with your pipes, it’s best to leave the repair to a professional. We can resolve the issue and remove the clog quickly so you can flush without fear.
7. More Frequent Visits From Pests
Remember the humidity and moisture that a broken sewer line can cause in your home? Not only does this encourage mold growth, but it also attracts pests.
Damp sewer lines emit a musty odor that they’re naturally drawn toward, and they’ll quickly move in and make themselves at home. If you’ve noticed an uptick in your pest population lately, this could be a sign that it’s time to check your pipes. They might nest on your walls, near your windows, or in the corner of your ceilings and baseboards.
To get rid of the unwanted visitors, you’ll need to take a two-punch approach. First, call Dynamic Sewer & Drain to resolve the issue with your sewer line. Then, call your local pest control company to get rid of the buggers for good.
We can fix the damage to your line, which will correct the humidity levels in your home and discourage pests from invading. The pest control experts will thoroughly remove existing pests and help you avoid a recurring infestation. They can also disinfect your home to prevent the spread of disease.
8. Super Green Lawn
We all want a green lawn, right? Yes, but not under adverse conditions. If you haven’t treated your yard but you notice that it’s suddenly bright green, this could be suspicious.
When a sewer line leaks, the water could accidentally “fertilize” your yard and make it appear more vibrant than normal. To see if that’s the problem, inspect your lawn closely.
Are there places where it appears to be greener than others? Do certain plants grow more freely in one spot? This imbalance could point to a sewer line problem. Our team can diagnose the issue and repair it quickly, helping your yard appear healthier and more uniform.
Why it is Important to Fix Your Sewer Line ASAP?
Whether your sewer line problem is minor or major, we always recommend calling us immediately. Most issues don’t go away on their own, and waiting will only make them worse. A minor clog is usually simple to treat on its own, but it could create a domino effect of problems if you ignore it for too long.
The same is true of at-home repairs. Instead of spending time, money, and energy on a band-aid solution that could cause more damage, go ahead and trust your sewer line to our team of experienced, skilled professionals. We’ll fix the problem the right way the first time, so you can avoid a major, unnecessary expense.
Contact Dynamic Sewer & Drain!
Don’t wait until you’re in the throes of a serious plumbing problem to call us. At Dynamic Sewer & Drain, we’re dedicated to helping our customers resolve their sewer line issues quickly and effectively.
We know how to evaluate existing sewer line damage, pinpoint the problem, and determine the full extent of repairs. Our team members are qualified, trustworthy, and have years of industry experience. We’ve built a solid reputation as a top residential and commercial plumber around Seattle, WA, and we’d love to add you to our list of satisfied clients. Your sewer line doesn’t have to stress you out! Contact us today to ask a question or schedule an inspection, and let’s connect.