All the drains and pipes in your home lead to the same place. The main sewer line. This is the most important part of your plumbing system, as it plays the key role in carrying waste away from your home or business. That is also why a main sewer line clog can pose a serious, toxic and expensive hazard, if left unresolved quickly.
Main sewer line clogs don’t usually happen over night and are the effect of gradual buildup. Identifying the warning signs of a main sewer line clog in the early stages, will help you avoid a more serious problem that can be harmful to you and your property.
Main Sewer Line Clog Warning Signs
Though some minor drain clogs can be resolved with good maintenance and some quick DIY methods, this is not the case when it comes to your sewer line. Main sewer line clogs are much more serious and do not resolve themselves on their own. Here are a few signs to be out on the lookout for:
Water Backing Up
Water backing up out of your tub when you flush the toilet, or out of the toilet when you turn the washing machine on, are the first tell-tale signs of a main sewer line clog. Why? As we mentioned earlier, all of your drains and pipes lead to the main sewer line. Therefore, if your main sewer line is clogged, water coming down from your toilet won’t be able to pass down through the sewer line, and will come back up in the next available opening, such as your shower or tub.
If your house starts to make funky noises, such as bubbling or gurgling coming from your drains, it’s not haunted, but it is “telling you” there might be a problem. A main sewer line clog creates negative pressure which pushes air back up through your drains, instead of letting it flow through. But if a bubbling toilet is the only sign you are seeing, don’t panic. Chances are the only thing that is clogged, is your vent.
Slow draining fixtures
A slow tub or sink may be the result of hair or food particles causing blockage. But if it seems like several of your drains are slow to drain all at once, chances are the problem is in your main sewer line.
Intensely unpleasant odors
Along with slow drains, another sign for main sewer line clog or leak, is the smell of sewage coming from your drains. If you have a leak in your sewer line, these foul smells can also be present in your yard, where sewage may be leaking out and gathering. Such odors can attract pests, like rats or insects. This indicates a serious problem and you should immediately call a plumber.
Backed up cleanout
A cleanout is the pipe giving you direct access to your sewer line. This is a short, capped pipe that usually sticks out of the ground and has a diameter of about 3 to 4 inches. It is often located outside of your house, or in some cases, your basement. If there’s spillage or standing water in your cleanout, the only explanation is a main sewer line clog.
“It’s official, my sewer line is clogged – what do I do now?”
If the problem is more severe and advanced, do not hesitate to call a professional in, to address the clog immediately and effectively, before further damage is done. While you wait for your plumber to arrive it might not be a bad idea to turn off your main and take the cap off your cleanout, to relieve some of the buildup pressure. Taking the cap off your cleanout will send waste spilling out, so be careful in doing so.
If you’d like to tackle the problem on your own, we have covered the steps you can take to clear a main sewer line clog, in a previous article. If after attempting these methods the clog has not cleared, it’s time to call in a professional plumber since the cause of the problem may require a more thorough and advanced approach.
Here at VIP Drain Services, our trained professionals are ready to assist with your plumbing emergencies 24/7.