Three Signs Your Sewer Line Is Damaged

For most homeowners, the sewer line, or the pipe leading away from your home to the sewer, is something that isn't often thought about. It either does its job or it doesn't. Unfortunately, when the sewer line isn't doing its job, the problem becomes clear quickly and in undesirable ways. If you're having any of these three problems, or all of them, it may very well indicate that you have a significant problem brewing in your sewer line and will need sewer repair.

Back-Up In Home

The first common sign of a sewer line problem is having your toilets and bathtub back up in your home. This is where water and sometimes sewage comes up out of the sewer line and back into your home.

This typically develops because you're sending things down the sewer line that have nowhere to go. It may be especially prevalent when you do things like flush the toilet, as that puts a lot of pressure on the sewer line that may already be overfilled.

Overflow Pipe

Another common sight is that the overflow pipe in your yard or basement may start overflowing. This pipe is what it sounds like it's for — it's intended to handle overflow coming out of your home or up from the pipe. When there's nowhere for the sewage to go through the sewer line, it'll typically come out of this overflow pipe first, often even before the sewage starts backing up inside your home. If you notice fluid or even toilet paper coming out of the pipe in front of your yard, it's important to call a plumber right away. A little drain cleaner isn't going to fix this problem.

Sewage in Yard

Lastly, and horrifyingly, you may end up with full-fledged sewage in your yard. This may not be noticeable to the eye at first, but you'll definitely smell it. Sewage emerging in your yard will typically start by saturating the ground, as the pipe is deep underground. Then, if the problem isn't resolved, the sewage will gradually start saturating more of your yard until the dirt can't hold any more of it. At this point the sewage will start to emerge in the yard itself, and you may see things like obviously dirty water, toilet paper, or even tampons if you flush them down the toilet. It's horrifying to see, but at this point, you absolutely know that you have a sewer line problem and you must call a plumber to have it fixed.

Sewer lines don't often crack or break, but when they do, they can cause all of these problems. Call a plumber and have them check the line with a camera. If there's a blockage or a break, they'll find it quickly and then you can get started on fixing the problem so this doesn't happen anymore.

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