Residential drain and toilet clogs are a part of life for any homeowner, but there are times when bigger problems in sewer lines can be mistaken for a simple indoor plumbing issue. Recognizing sewer line problems early on can help to save you time and costly damage to appliances and landscaping. Read on to learn about four signs that your plumbing problems lie in the sewer line.
Having a bad smell come from the pipes in your home is generally a precursor to having sewage come up through the pipe. In short, your pipes smell bad because gases are coming up through the plumbing and entering your home.
The only way this problem can occur is if there's a blockage in your sewer line. When your sewer line is clogged, your indoor plumbing won't fully evacuate into the sewer when you flush a toilet or allow water to drain. As remaining waste from your toilet breaks down within the plumbing, it will emit gases into your home. If you've noticed this problem, you should seek help from a plumber right away before it progresses into actual sewage backing up into your drains.
Sewage in Yard
When plumbing clogs occur within the pipes inside your home, it can cause water or sewage to back up into your house. However, if water or sewage is appearing in your yard, it means that the problem is beyond your house.
When your sewer line becomes clogged, the wastewater from your house may not be able to make it into the sewer. If it reaches a clog that it can't pass, it will instead emerge from the sewer clean-out. The sewer clean-out is designed to relieve pressure in the sewer line and prevent dangerous gases from entering the air you breathe, but sewage can back up into it and pour into your yard.
Multiple Drain Clogs
Having a drain clog on occasion is normal, but multiple drain clogs or frequent drain clogs could indicate that there's a bigger problem. If your attempts to clear the clogs aren't effective or the problem keeps coming back, the clog could be in your sewer line instead of your indoor pipes.
Water Drains, Solid Waste Doesn't
In some cases, you may find that your sinks can successfully drain, but toilets and garbage disposals don't. This is another indicator that there's a sewer problem—in this instance, most likely a partial sewer blockage.
With a partial sewer blockage, there's still a small opening that can allow fluid to pass through but not solid waste matter. This problem is easier to overlook, since most of your plumbing will still work. However, the more solid waste you send down the pipes, the more blocked the sewer line will become, so you shouldn't ignore this problem.
Getting the Fix
If you have any of these problems, you'll need to hire a plumber. Finding sewer blockages is a plumbing specialty, and they can be easily detected by using a sewer camera. These cameras travel down the sewer line and send a real-time image up to the plumber so they can find the clog. Sewer line cameras can also help to detect other more serious sewer line problems, like a break in the pipe. However, if your only problem is a clog, the plumber can break it up with a power snake.
Once the clog is broken up, your plumber will check all of the plumbing in your home to ensure that it's draining or flushing normally. If everything passes the test, you'll be able to use all of your plumbing normally right away.
Sewer line clogs can be mistaken for other plumbing problems, but early detection can help them from creating a major headache for you. If in doubt, call Aero Plumbing to have your sewer line checked to see if it's got an issue.