Keeping up with home maintenance is an essential part of homeownership. However, ignoring the signs of a failing sewer line can lead to clogged drains, costly repairs, and health hazards for your family.
If you notice foul odors wafting up from your drains or the grass in your yard is greener than usual, it could mean that your sewer line needs to be repaired. Watch out for these clear warning signs.
America’s aging water and sewer infrastructure needs to be in better shape. The same problems that affect the public pipes can also impact your home’s drain lines and cause major damage if you ignore them for too long. A slow drain is one of the most common signs you need to call a plumber for a sewer pipe repair. It usually means there’s a clog somewhere; if you wait too long, it will worsen.
You can prevent drains from clogging by not putting fats, oils, and grease (FOG) down them. They’ll harden in the pipes and cause a blockage. You should also never use chemical drain cleaners, which can corrode cast iron and PVC drain pipes.
If multiple drains in your home are slow or not draining at all, it’s a sign of a problem with the main sewer line. This can lead to sewage backups inside your home, a health and safety hazard. The sewage may even seep into your yard, leaving wet, smelly spots that can be difficult to mow.
A damaged sewer line can leak sewage directly into the soil around your home. This can lead to flooding, yard damage, and even foundation problems. If you suspect your sewer pipe is leaking, contact a plumber immediately for a repair.
If you notice puddles in your yard, especially when it hasn’t rained recently, this is a sign of a leak in the sewer line. The puddles may also be discolored and smell bad. Leaking sewage can also provide extra nutrients to your lawn so you might notice lush grass in areas with leaky sewer lines.
This is another sign of a sewer leak if you hear water running in your walls or ceilings. This type of moisture can cause mold and mildew, which is dangerous for your family’s health. You can test for a sewer leak by taking an exact reading on your water meter, then turning off all the taps in your house and waiting a few hours. If the meter reading differs, you have a leak in your sewer line.
One of the most telling signs that your sewer line needs repair is a pungent, musty, or mildewy odor that creeps into your home and yard. This odiferous smell occurs when sewage is pumped into the pipes and begins to contaminate the soil.
In most cases, the sewer odor will persist until the clog or leak is fixed. If you’ve tried drain cleaner products without success, it may be time to call a plumber for a professional assessment and repairs.
If wet spots in your lawn accompany the odiferous smell, these are likely caused by a broken sewer line. This can result in sewage seeping through the ground and acting as fertilizer for your grass, which also causes damage to the foundation of your home.
If you suspect your home is saturated with sewage, you should immediately evacuate your family and pets and contact the fire department. The fumes that linger in the air can be toxic and cause respiratory issues like coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, they can even be life-threatening.
Wet Spots in Your Yard
If you find wet spots in your yard, particularly areas right next to where the sewer line is located, that’s a clear warning sign that raw sewage is seeping from the pipe. This can cause a wide variety of plumbing problems throughout your home.
Another common symptom of a broken sewer line is the sudden appearance of rodents and other pests in your home. This is because these creatures see cracked drain lines as their perfect breeding ground, and they will quickly make themselves at home inside your walls, floors, and ceilings.
A damaged sewer line is not only a serious safety issue but can also lead to expensive and dangerous structural damage. Getting a professional inspection as soon as you suspect a problem is important. This will help you choose the best repair option, such as traditional trenching or pipe bursting. With pipe bursting, a new HDPE pipe is attached to a winch with a cone-shaped bursting head and pulled through the existing pipe. This breaks the old pipe apart as it takes its place.
If you hear gurgling noises coming from your drains, it’s time to call in a plumber for a professional assessment. You could have a blockage in the line that connects your home to the septic system or house sewer vent. While clearing a small blockage using drain-cleaning products may be possible, a large one can cause the gurgling sounds you’re hearing and other problems with your plumbing.
If a repulsive sewage smell accompanies the gurgling, it’s a sign that the pipes are broken and that sewage is backing into your home. This can be a serious health hazard and should be addressed as soon as you notice the issue.
Other signs to watch out for include puddles in your yard that take a long time to dry and unusually high water bills. A flooded basement or wet spots around your home can also indicate a damaged sewer pipe. Keeping an eye out for these issues and checking your sewer lines regularly will help you keep them in good condition.