When Your Sewer Lines Block, How Can You Tell?

When Your Sewer Lines Block, How Can You Tell?

One nasty problem you can experience as a homeowner is blocked sewer lines. When sewer lines block, the most common  tell signs are usually standing water in the bathtub, toilet backups and low water pressure throughout the house. Sewer backups occur when an obstruction prevents wastewater from flowing through the main sewer line connecting your home to municipal sanitary sewers. Because of this obstruction, wastewater fills the sewer lines until it eventually overflows. Unwanted substances such as used water mix with the intended potable water at the cross-connection point. When your pipes don’t have a backflow prevention device, if they happen to block, the result is backups. As you can imagine, backflow causes water contamination, which poses serious health risks.  If the pipes happen to leak, they could destroy the interior and exterior of your home, or worse still, the foundation.

A blocked sewer qualifies as an emergency plumbing problem so knowing the signs will help you know when to call for emergency plumbing services. Identifying signs of a clogged sewer early enough will shield you from having to deal with costly repairs brought about by the extensive damage clogged sewers are likely to cause.

These are the most common signs of backflow.

Clogged fixtures

For the bigger part, you will be in a position to identify backflow immediately. Your plumbing fixtures will start talking to you by producing gurgling sounds from inside. Also, when you notice water pooling in your sink or coming up your drains, it’s likely that multiple fixtures are clogged. You should also be on the lookout for slow drain.  When you notice your sinks and bathtub draining slowly, it may be a warning sign of clogged sewers. Although slow drain could also be an indication of blocked vents or undersized ones, let your plumber clear any doubts.

When you flush the toilet

Because toilets have the biggest drain line and the most direct path to the sewer, observing how they behave when you flush can tell you if your sewer lines are clogged. If the results of flushing your toilet is water backing up, this is a clear sign of a sewer clog. Another tell sign is, when you flush the toilet, instead of water going down the drain, it comes out at the shower drain.

Changes in water color

The water can be brown, greenish, or even yellow. If you notice a change in your watercolor, it’s important to have a plumbing contractor inspect your pipes to establish if the changes in watercolor is as a result of backflow caused by a clogged sewer.

Your drains emit foul odors

If you notice an awful sewage smell coming from the drains, don’t ignore it. Although a foul smell can be an indicator of broken pipes, it could also be a symptom of backflow so don’t take chances.

If you notice any of the signs, avoid flushing the toilet or adding water in your sink or bathtub. Doing so will only add water more water to the already blocked system which worsens the problem. A precautionary measure to take even before calling the emergency plumber is to shut off the main water supply. This ensures that no one in the house runs the water by mistake. Addressing the problem early enough, aside from saving you hefty costs, saves you the trouble of having to replace an entire sewer line.

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