A broken sewer line is a serious plumbing problem that could lead to flooding and contaminated groundwater, leaving your home and yours and the health of you and your family at risk. It’s not the sort of plumbing issue you want to ignore. To prevent damaged sewer lines from turning into a major household catastrophe, it’s important to know how to recognize signs of disrepair.
1. Inconsistent Water Level in the Toilet
One sure sign of a broken sewer line is when the water level of your toilet fluctuates regularly. Fortunately, these types of fluctuations can be easy to notice. If you regularly experience high water levels one day and low levels the next, chances are, they’re the symptom of a bigger problem—possibly a damaged sewer line. Call a professional plumber to be sure.
2. Slow-Draining Water
Another common indicator of a sewer line problem is a slow-draining sink and/or shower. You should especially be on the lookout for water that comes back up the drain.
Many homeowners, when dealing with a slow drain, reach for the commercial drain cleaners. While using these products may seem like an easy fix, they won’t fix the larger problem if your sewer line is damaged. In fact, toxic drain cleaners may cause the pipes to weaken further due to their harsh, corrosive chemicals. You’re better off getting in touch with your local plumber. For smaller clogs, try using green alternatives.
3. Foul Smells and Odd Sounds
If your sewer line is damaged, you can also expect to smell some unappealing odors.
The scent of sewage wafting through your home may point to an issue with your sewer line. It is essential to contact a professional right away, as these fumes can be dangerous to your health.
You may also hear unusual clanking sounds when water is draining from your fixtures.
Unusual smells, like sewer odor, and sounds shouldn’t be ignored, since they likely indicate that sewage is leaking out of your pipes.
4. Soggy Patches in the Yard
Unexpected soggy patches on your lawn could also indicate that your sewer line is leaking. In particular, you may notice raised, watery patches near the areas where you pipes run or begin.
5. Greener Grass
Look to your yard again! If it’s unusually—or suddenly—green and healthy, especially above your plumbing pipes, it may be a symptom of a broken sewer line. The waste that is seeping from the break or crack acts as fertilizer for your grass.
6. Foundation Problems
If your sewer line develops a problem under your home, it could lead to some serious foundation issues if left unchecked. If you’re noticing cracks in your foundation, your broken sewer line has to be repaired as soon as possible. Left alone, it could cause further problems, such as sinkholes and home settling. If the crack continues to grow, you may need to consult with a foundation-repair specialist.
Have you noticed mice, rats, or insects skittering around your home? They could be signs of a broken sewer line. Rats and insects, like cockroaches, love the sewers and can easily slide through a crack in your plumbing. If you call pest control and they return, it may just be your sewer line.
Pests and the food they get into and diseases they carry can be detrimental to your health. They have also been known to cause allergic reactions or asthma. When pest control just isn’t working, it could point to a bigger problem—perhaps your plumbing.
8. Mold Within the Home
If your broken sewer line’s sewage and water is seeping into your home, it could be damaging your walls and helping mold take hold. Mold does not need a lot of humidity to grow, so this type of plumbing issues provide the perfect breeding ground.
If you notice raised parts of walls or water leaking within your home, or you hear running water behind a wall that doesn’t contain a pipe, call a plumber to prevent mold and water damage.
9. Multiple Plumbing Problems
Another very important sign of potential sewer line damage is multiple plumbing issues occurring at the same time. You may find water backing up in several appliances at once, or when you use one appliance, such as the toilet, water backs up into your shower. This could point to a clogged or broken sewer line. You could experience several or all the problems listed above at once.
To do a line repair or line replacement, a professional plumber will first have to identify the problem. Using tools like video cameras and smoke testing, your plumber can determine exactly what is causing the break and where it lies in your sewer line. Each broken sewer pipe is different, and repair options vary from case to case, but your plumber has the expertise to fix the issue.
It’s important to get any of the above issues checked out at once. Allowing a broken sewer line to go unchecked can result in major damage to your home and be detrimental to your health. While not all the signs here may be the result of a broken sewer line, they could be a sign of another major plumbing issue.
Experiencing one of these symptoms or another plumbing problem? Don’t hesitate to contact C&W Plumbing! We offer the solutions to help you correct broken sewer lines and get your plumbing back in shape. To schedule an appointment, call 972-395-2597.