Causes, Signs And Treatments For A Clogged Sewer Line

Posted on: 4 February 2015

Most people never give their sewer line a second thought until there's a problem. If an obstruction is clogging your sewer pipe somewhere in the line away from your house, you'll need to quickly solve the problem before raw sewage begins backing up in your drains. The following guide explains typical causes, symptoms and treatments for sewer line clogs.

Causes of a Clogged Sewer Line

A typical sewer pipe is four inches in diameter from your home to the main sewer line, so it would take quite a bit of loose debris to clog it. That's not to imply a sewer line clog cannot be caused by an over-abundance of toilet paper, feminine hygiene products and solid debris because it does sometimes happen, especially in newer pipe lines. However, tree roots are the most common cause of sewer pipe clogs.

Tree roots tend to migrate towards the moisture and warmth of a sewer line, often invading the sewer through joints or hairline cracks in the pipe. Over time, these tree roots begin to obstruct or even crush the sewer pipe, eventually blocking the flow of water altogether. When water and debris flow through the sewer pipe, solid particles can get caught up on the roots, aiding in the blockage.

Signs of a Clogged Sewer Line

A clogged sewer line will display symptoms like:

  • All of the drains in your home run slowly.
  • There are gurgling sounds coming from your home's waste pipes after you flush.
  • There is standing water around the floor drain in your basement.
  • After your washer or dishwasher drains, you hear percolating sounds emanating from the toilets or sink drains in your home.

When your sewer line is backed-up, you will not be able to clear any of the drains in your home no matter how much you plunge or add chemical drain cleaners to them. If you experience any of these signs in your home, a sewer cleaning company can take a look inside the sewer pipe using a specially designed camera that can reveal the cause of the clog. A sewer line clog can occur in either the main sewer line or the secondary line that leads to your house.

Treating a Clogged Sewer Line

If you suspect a sewer line clog, the first thing you should do is turn off the water by closing the main shutoff valve for your house. Also try removing the cap from your home's sewer clean-out plug to relieve pressure inside the pipe and send water away from the house, rather than into it. Typically, a sewer clean-out plug is a short, white pipe with a rubber cap located outside next to the house.

If tree roots or debris are clogging your sewer line, you'll need to hire a sewer cleaning company to remove the blockage for you. A professional technician can insert an auger down into the different sections of your sewer line to dislodge anything that may be blocking it. The sewer cleaning technician might also use a high-pressure water jet to literally blow out the roots and other obstructions from the pipe.

Keep in mind you should never attempt to use these kinds of sewer cleaning tools on your own if you haven't been trained to do so. These high-power tools can damage your pipes if they are not used properly.

Understanding the causes and signs of a sewer line clog can help you take care of the problem faster. If your sewer line is slow-moving or clogged, contact a sewer cleaning company as soon as possible to assess the problem and solve it for you.