How to Recognize and Fix a Main Sewer Line Problem

Storm Sewer Installation Services“Out of sight, out of mind.” That’s usually how most homeowners approach plumbing issues. Since most of the pipes and features are hidden behind walls, ceilings, or floors, we can’t always see a problem developing.

One area where that is especially true is the main sewer line of your home. This is the pipe that takes all your drain water – and its contents – out to the municipal sewer main. It’s a dirty job but someone (or something) has to do it.

The problem is that the underground sewer line on your property can become clogged or damaged – and you usually can’t see the issue until it’s too late. Sewer line repair can be one of the most costly plumbing issues you may encounter. But by knowing how to recognize a blockage early can help you catch it before it becomes an even bigger problem.

How to tell if there’s a blockage in your sewer line

There are a few signs that something wrong is going on with your sewer pipe.

  • You have multiple drains backed up at once. It’s normal for a toilet or tub drain to get clogged now and then. But if drains all around your house are flowing slowly, it’s a sign that the water is getting blocked down deep in the sewer drain. 
  • You notice soggy or sunken patches in your front lawn. If water is leaking out of the sewer line, it will eventually soak the ground around and above it.
  • You notice changes in your plumbing fixtures, such as gurgling noises from drains, bubbles coming up from the toilet bowl, or water coming up from the tub drain when you flush the toilet.

Diagnosing and fixing the problem

Even if you’re handy around the home, fixing a sewer line problem is not a good DIY project. It can be difficult to access the pipe for cleaning or repairing. It’s also a job that needs to be done correctly the first time around, otherwise, it could cost you more money in the long run and potentially expose your household to dangerous sewage.

Here are three approaches a professional may take for addressing your sewer line issue:

  1. Video inspection Using a long probe, a small camera is placed through the sewer line to identify what and where the problem is. This can save time, money, and frustration in figuring out the best solution. 
  2. Unclogging – A plumber can use high-powered tools such as an auger to break up a clog caused by household debris or tree roots. As long as the pipe itself is in good shape, this is the quickest and easiest fix.
  3. Sewer line replacement – If the sewer pipe is damaged, corroded, or leaking, it will need to be replaced. Traditional sewer line repair requires a backhoe to dig up the area in the yard to get to the pipe. However, a newer trenchless approach only calls for two smalls holes on either end of the damaged pipe. The new pipe can then be inserted and installed without as much disruption to your property.

You may not have X-ray vision but it’s important to be on the lookout for an issue with your sewer line. If you notice any of the warning signs described earlier, bring in the experts at Reichelt Plumbing to fix the problem. To schedule an appointment, call us (219) 322-4906.


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