Sewer lines are one area of your house that can last for a long time, with some systems lasting over fifty years. However, drain pipes all have a shelf life, and the longevity of your sewer system is influenced by factors such as the materials used to make the pipes along with the amount of care that you and previous homeowners give to the plumbing system.
While you might not be able to help whether your sewer lines are made from clay or cast iron, you can do your part to keep the pipes as clear as possible and watch for the early signs of damage so that you can arrange for prompt repairs.
Because sewer line damage can generate effects that range from subtle bubbling in the toilet to drastic overflows and leaks that pose a health hazard, use this guide to recognize when there may be trouble lurking in your house's plumbing system.
Handling a Persistent Slow Drain
Drains are all vulnerable to clogs, but they should clear up with proper care. A persistently slow drain indicates that there may be a clog deeper in the sewage lines that is stopping the flow of water. Deep clogs in the main sewer line typically require professional cleaning to get the water flowing through them again.
Dealing With Multiple Backups
All of the fixtures in your house use the main sewer line to flush wastewater away from the building. Once a problem develops in the sewer line, the problem can spread to every plumbing fixture in your house.
When you find that your toilet backs up into your bathtub or every toilet in your house fails to drain, then you should suspect that there is an issue within the sewage system that needs correction.
Smelling a Sewage Odor
Typically, a clean sink or shower should not create a stink. Sewer odors can be caused by something as minor as a lack of use or something more sinister such as a crack in a drain pipe.
Drain pipes have a small curve in them called a P-trap that contains a small amount of water that helps to stop sewer gas from coming up through the pipes and into the house. When a fixture isn't used for a while, this water can dry out.
Start by running water down the drain to make sure the trap is full. If the odor continues to come from the fixture, then arrange for a professional sewer line inspection to determine what is causing the foul odor.
Discovering a Lush Patch of Grass
While sewage in your yard poses a major health risk for your family and guests, the plant life tends to thrive because wastewater is excellent fertilizer. Watch for unusually green or tall patches of grass above where the sewer pipes run underground. Soggy patches of ground are also signs of a leak beneath the surface of your yard.
Battling Pest Issues
Insects and rodents only need a tiny crack in the sewer lines to gain easy access to your house. They also thrive in the soggy conditions created by plumbing leaks. For this reason, you may find yourself dealing with plumbing and pest control issues simultaneously. Watch for pests that seem to appear near the plumbing as a sign of possible damage.
Finding Mold Growth or Stains on Walls
Sewer lines often run through the walls of your house before they drop below the ground outside. When a leak springs inside the walls, you may notice water damage occurring on the outside. Alternatively, you may smell mold or sewage odors emanating from the walls and floors located near a leak.
At Action Plumbing & Heating Maintenance, our team uses the latest advances in technology to identify and repair sewer line damage. Contact us to for a professional inspection today.