Every home owner experiences infrequent clogged sinks or toilet drains from time to time, but a clogged sewer line is another story. Out of sight and out of mind, your main sewer line stays hidden beneath the foundations of your home, until a blockage obstructs the flow of septic water and you find yourself incurring a fortune in water damage. These blockages could be due to malfunctioning of backflow preventer valve, intrusion of protruding tree roots inside the sewer lines, leading to cracks and breaks, or due to build of sediments. If you spot any of these signs, your sewer line may be clogged and needs instant inspection.
Simultaneous Drain Clogs
The pipes from toilets, sinks, showers, bathtubs and water appliances do tend to get clogged at times due to the buildup of hair, grease, debris and even paper towels, but if all the drains in your home appear to be malfunctioning simultaneously, there is definitely a sewer line blockage. To check for a sewer line blockage, turn on all the faucets and check if the water flows effortlessly down the drains without causing bubbles or backing up. If all drains seem to be choked up, this is a clear sign of a sewer blockage. Also let the showers run free for a few minutes and check if the water goes down the drain or accumulates in puddles. Flush your toilets to see if the water backs up or percolates after flushing. This is a definite sign that there is a blockage in your sewer line since your toilet is directly connected to the sewer. Even if your toilet suddenly becomes slow to drain, call up a plumber without waiting for a total fixture breakdown.
Water Flowing Through One Drain Affects the Other Drains
If you are experiencing a sewer line blockage, each drain will likely affect the others. For instance, you may hear gurgling sounds in the sink or shower drain when you flush the toilet, or if you flush one of the toilets, you will see water backing up in the shower drain. Toilet water may back up or you may hear gurgling sounds each time you use the washing machine. The water level in your toilet rises when you are using the bathroom sink, and so on. In addition to sinks that refuse to empty and shower drains that are proving to be a nuisance to clean, gurgling sounds and rising water levels in the toilets are the most common signs of sewer line blockage.
The unmistakable odor of sewage around your house is an obvious sign that there is an issue with the sewage line. A sanitary sewer is airtight, which means that if you can smell any unwanted odors from any of the drains in the property, there is probably a leak or a crack in the main sewer line or an excess of retained waste water in the pipe because of a blockage.
When waste water seeps out of the main sewer line, mainly due to blockages, the septic water ends up pooling in your yard. An unexplained wet patch during dry weather or an extra green and lush patch of grass in only a certain place in your yard, may indicate a sewer leakage underground. Sewer water acts like a fertilizer and helps give plants the extra nutrients they need to thrive. Upon digging, you will inevitably find a break in the pipe right under that green patch of grass.
Drainage in Sewer Cleanout
One of the most common signs of a sewer blockage is septic water draining out of your home’s sewer cleanout. If you don’t know what a sewer cleanout is, it is a pipe that connect your home’s plumbing to the main sewer line and gives plumbers access to sewage systems for inspections and routine clearing. You can find your home’s cleanout in the basement, other crawl spaces at home, or somewhere outside your home. Any sewage buildup or seepage from a cleanout drain indicates a blockage in the main sewer line.
Basement Drain Overflow
Basement floor drains are usually the lowest drains in your home, which means that a sewer line blockage usually affects the basement floor drains before any other place. Even a seemingly minor looking seepage through the basement drains should raise a red flag, as well as any inexplicable smells or odors emanating from the basement drain. If you notice signs of liquid influx or even smell of sewer gas, call up a professional immediately for further investigation.