Sewer lines transport wastewater from homes and businesses to the main sewer lines under the city. This is as far as most people’s knowledge of sewer lines go. However, a blockage in a sewer line can cause extensive damage to your property, which is why it is important to know the warning signs of a potential sewer line problem.

Signs of a Clogged Sewer Line

There are many different reasons why your sewer line could become blocked and damaged, and each reason has its own warning signs.

The most obvious sign is if raw sewage starts bubbling out of the drains. But this is the worst case scenario that no one wants to deal with. Therefore, it is important to look for the more subtle signs that preempt a sewage disaster.

The most common signs are normally gurgling sounds coming from the drains or water backing up from the drain or toilet. This occurs if the clog is caused by waste material, such as feminine products, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.

However, tree roots are also one of the biggest culprits when it comes to clogging a sewer line. This normally occurs in older houses, where the tree roots have grown into the old pipes. Slow drainage and gurgling sounds from the toilet bowl are some signs that it could be a tree root.

What to Do When you Identify a Blocked Sewer Line

An image of a manhole, representing the cross-connecting pipes between potable water and contaminated water sources.

Once you have seen the signs and suspect you have a blocked sewer line, you should find your overflow relief gully to check for signs of sewer overflow. An overflow relief gully is a dome shaped grate that sticks up above paving or ground level. It is a safety device for your sewer that prevents an overflow from a blockage in the main sewer from coming up through your bathrooms drains, to rather be released through the dome grate. Once you have checked the overflow relief gully and there is an overflow, this suggests the blockage is downstream from the relief gully.
If you know where your property’s sewer inspection shaft is, you will want to open up the cap slowly and look down the pipe. If you see sewerage or water in the pipe this means that the entire sewerage system is blocked, not just a small section. The blockage could possibly be caused at a 90 degree bend where the pipe goes from vertical to horizontal.

With this information, you are able to narrow down the search for the blockage back to the point where your house sewer connects to the water corporation sewer services. This information will greatly help the professionals you call to fix the issue. Switch off your water at the main and get assistance from professional plumbers, such as Inspector Jet.

If you have a sewer clean out line, which looks like a short white pipe with a rubber cap that is in your yard, then you can remove the cap to release the pressure that has built up in the system due to the blockage. This will send the water, which may be coming up through the drains in your house, out of the house and into outside outlets.

What the Professionals Can Do for You

Inspector Jet is able to assist you by using state of the art technology to inspect the plumbing with CCTV cameras, which send video and imagery to a colour monitor, as well as information on the depth and precise location of the camera. This ensures that no unnecessary digging takes place on your property, and the problem is solved in a timely and costly manner.

Prevention is Better than Cure

To prevent plumbing problems and to keep you lines clear, you can fill your sinks up to the top and then drain them once a month. This will ensure you maintain proper flow through the pipes and flush away any waste that may have built up.

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