Among all the plumbing issues you may deal with as a homeowner, clogged sewer lines are one of the messiest and most expensive to deal with.
Sewer lines are at least six inches in diameter, so it will take more than loose debris or paper to clog them. Given the potential health hazards and property damage it causes, a blocked sewer main line is not a situation to ignore.
While clogged toilets, bathroom drains, and kitchen sinks can already be a hassle, blocked sewer lines present a more serious problem as they collect all waste from all plumbing fixtures in your house. If the issue is not dealt with at the soonest possible time, you might find unpleasant sights of sewage and wastewater backing up through all your drains.
What Causes Clogged Sewer Lines?
Clogged sewer lines can be expensive and frustrating for homeowners, so knowing what causes this plumbing issue is an ideal preventive measure against mishaps.
While there are different potential causes of blocked sewer lines, the most common are:
1. Tree Roots
Tree roots are known as the primary cause of blockages in sewer main lines. Tree roots are drawn to moisture and warmth coming from sewage lines. They seep through tiny cracks and feed on some nutrients found in the line. Eventually, tree roots grow within the line and block sewage passing through it.
If you live in an area with several trees nearby, be on the lookout for tree invasion. As per some experts, the first sign of tree root invasion is a gurgling sound. Consider hiring experts for video inspections every few years to save yourself from the cost of bigger issues.
2. “Flushable” Sanitary Products
Another cause of blocked sewer lines involves flushing sanitary products like facial tissues, “flushable” wipes, feminine hygiene products, and paper towels. It’s important to know that toilet paper is not created equal, so many of them can be a detriment to the system.
Some wipes and other sanitary products are labelled “flushable” as they can fit into the pipe physically. They don’t break when flushed, despite some claims that they do.
Today, a lot of cities and other authorities responsible for wastewater management and processing are discouraging people from using these flushable products.
3. Fat, Oil, and Grease
Experts have reiterated many times that fat, oil, and grease are a big “no” to plumbing systems. Although you pour them down the drain in liquid form, these binding substances solidify and build up in the sewer lines, eventually clogging drains.
Apart from cooking oil, there are other things that contain fat, oil, and grease that you should avoid pouring down your drain, which include:
- Vegetable oil
- Trimmings from steak and other meat
Fats are sticky, and water alone would not wash them. To dispose of them properly, consider pouring the oil or grease into a disposable container and throwing it in the trash.
Signs of Sewer Line Clogs
A clogged sewer line can cause extensive and costly damage to your property.
If you suspect this plumbing issue in your house, here are some key signs to look out for:
- Slow-moving drain
- Gurgling sounds
- Accumulating or dark water
- Simultaneous clogging of plumbing fixtures
- Overflowing toilets
- Backed-up floor drains
- Sewage in sewer cleanouts
- Low water pressure
What To Do When Sewer Lines Are Clogged?
Depending on what caused them and where they are located, removing blockages may either be a simple task or a more complex one. Nonetheless, unclogging a sewer main line is not a DIY project.
The causes of clogged sewer lines are often out of reach beneath the surface and are not feasible to fix with simple tools found at a hardware store. Fixing clogged sewer lines is a more involved task that involves structural damage. Because of this, it is not recommended for you to address the underlying issue by clearing the main sewer line on your own.
You could, however, perform the following steps to prevent the issue from worsening:
1. Release the Pressure
Your initial focus is to release the pressure. Start by turning off your water at the main supply. You can find this either near your home’s water meter or near a corner outside your house. It usually has a large wheel, lever, or handle that you need to turn until it’s entirely closed off.
Afterwards, survey your yard, and search for the sewer cleanout line – a short white pipe with a cap on top. Start releasing pressure by unscrewing the cap off slowly.
2. Call a Plumber
Situations that involve plumbing system issues beneath the surface call for experts who know how to clear a main sewer line clog. Professional plumbers have the necessary sewer line cleaners and other equipment to inspect your pipe and conduct expert repair or replacement.
Given that sewer blockages can come from anywhere within your pipeline, diagnosing clogged sewer lines requires the use of special equipment. Advancements in plumbing technology have made it possible to spot blockages easily. This helps provide accurate analysis and ensure the real problem is addressed.
Here are some expert plumbing services applied to fix your sewer main line:
1. Sewer Video Inspection
Sewer main lines are difficult to access, since they are underground. Lucky for you, some plumbing professionals are equipped with the latest video camera inspection equipment to see through your sewer line and accurately locate the blockage with a real-time feed.
These findings are helpful in guiding professionals as they come up with the best solutions to approach the problem.
2. Mechanical Drain Cleaning
If your pipe is in good condition despite the internal blockage, expert plumbers won’t need to conduct pipe replacement. Instead, they will unclog the main sewer line with heavy-duty tools at their disposal.
Among these are:
- Auger – Also known as drain snakes, the auger is a specially-designed flexible cable that is sent into the main sewer line in sections for its head to reach and break up the clog. Doing so will open up the flow of the pipe. Augers can either be power-assisted or trick-mounted.
- High-pressure water jet – This uses extremely-high water pressure to push the roots and other debris down the sewer line. It can also break up grease blockages in your pipes.
Call A Better Plumber Today
Noticing signs of clogged sewer lines before they worsen is crucial to keep you from dealing with more expensive plumbing issues later. For professional plumbers in Denver, CO, trust our experts at A Better Plumber!
Having satisfied numerous clients in the past decade has allowed us to acquire more than enough experience and expertise to handle all types of plumbing issues, including blocked sewer lines.
Regardless of the cause of your plumbing issue, we come equipped with top-tier plumbing equipment for inspection and repair to troubleshoot problems at their deepest roots. With our help, you can have hassle-free plumbing maintenance at a reasonable price.
We offer 50 dollars off for all first-time customers. Schedule an appointment today!