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What causes a sewer line to break

What causes a sewer line to break infographic

Did you know that all plumbing fixtures, drains, and pipes in your home are connected to the biggest and most essential piece of plumbing in your entire home, the main sewer line.

The sewer line usually starts to decline in quality due to improper use of these fixtures, drains, and pipes, and also external factors. Over a period of time, the main sewer line can become clogged, burst, or even collapse, at which time you may need to do extensive repairs or buy a whole new system. If you need help figuring out the issues with your sewer line, we offer a affordable HD camera inspection.   

Causes of a Clogged or Broken Sewer Line

Having a clogged drain or a slow-running sink or bathtub can be very frustrating and we’re pretty certain almost everyone has been through it at some point. Clogs may be a pain but they are relatively easy to fix.

Repairing or replacing a complete sewer line or even just a part of it is sometimes necessary when draining or drain clearing doesn’t work. Here are some key occurrences when a change or repair is sewer line is required.

1. Severe Pipe Damage

When sewer lines break or rupture, the sewage will not effectively drain through the system, and this will cause recurring and large backups of the sewage. A sewer line or pipe can usually get damaged due to shifting soil or settling, increased traffic on the above ground, or use of construction equipment which may be heavier than usual above ground. If the pipe is old, it can break or collapse easily due to corrosion. Leaking joints usually indicate that the seals between parts of a pipe are broken. In this case, water and sewage could escape.

2. Sagging Sewer Line

Sagging sewer lines can occur over time and this can’t be controlled by the homeowner. A bellied pipe occurs when lot of soil and waste has accumulated in one section and has sunk due to ground or soil conditions. The low dent will start to collect more paper and waste resulting in frequent blockages.

3. Tree Root Infiltration

Older sewer lines are sometimes constructed using clay or other porous materials. The connections between the pipe sections would not have been as tight as today’s PVC pipes. Growing trees and shrubs have their roots latching onto a sewer pipe as they grow in search of water, growing into the pipe to reach the water inside of the pipe line. As these roots expand over time, it can cause the line to break.

4. Flushing Debris Down the Toilet

To keep your plumbing systems intact and healthy it is always very important to be aware of what you can and cannot flush down your toilet. Treating your toilet as a trashcan will cause sewer drain issues. The most important rule to remember is that only human waste and toilet paper can and should be flushed down the toilet.

5. Pouring Grease Down the Drain

Grease, fats, and oil are some of the biggest dangers when it comes to clogging lines. Pouring grease, oil, or other fats down a drain is highly unadvisable. People often think that running hot water when pouring grease down a drain helps wash it away but this is absolutely not true. We must understand that when grease cools off, it hardens and sticks to the pipes which causes clogging in your sewer line.

Warnings That You Have A Sewer Issue

Warnings That You Might Have A Sewer Issue

Frequent Backups in Your Drains

If you gave frequent clogging or backups with your drains, it’s best to avoid using store bought drain cleaners and simply call a professional to have your drain inspected. If you have a drain that continuously clogs, especially in the lowest level of your home, it could come from a break or blockage in your sewer pipe.

Multiple Fixtures Are Clogged

You aren’t sure if the toilet or shower drain keeps clogging because of an individual pipe blockage or because of a sewer line issue. But an obvious sign of a sewer line problem is when more than one plumbing fixture backs up at the same time.

Strange Reactions When Using Plumbing Fixtures

When you have a feeling that a sewer drain is clogged or any unexpected or unusual reactions when using plumbing fixtures, you must have it checked. Some examples of such occurrences include toilet flushes causing water to backup in your shower or tub, toilet water that begins to bubble, especially when the sink closest to the toilet is on or has water running from it, and the toilet continues to bubble.

Hearing a gurgling noise as the toilet flushes or the water in your bathtub or shower is draining can also be an issue. It’s safe to call a profession to have that looked at and fixed right away.

Your Lawn Starts to Change

A sewer line typically extends from your home, through your front lawn, and into the city’s sewage system. If you notice any changes in your lawn, it could sometimes be a sewer problem. If you have a break in your sewer line, you’ll see an indentation on your lawn. If you find a soggy patch of grass when there hasn’t been any rain or snow recently, it may be sewage from a broken sewer pipe.

Blocked vs Broken Sewer Lines

A blocked or clogged sewer line will usually be easily detected when you notice slow draining over a long period. This problem can cause so many problems for the homeowner.

• The water level in a toilet would slowly lower on its own over some hours.
• Deposits of white scum would be noticeable around the basement drain.
• Bathtubs would take a very long time to drain.
• Consistent clogging of toilets and sinks.

A broken sewer line will result in standing pools of water, which are extremely odorous, in your basement or yard. Patches of lush grass growth above the line may be another signal you need your sewers repaired. If the sewer line runs under a driveway, asphalt damage could appear due to the soggy soil underneath.

Repair and Replacement Options for your Sewer Line

Most menial drain cleaning and maintenance tasks can be safely done by a homeowner, but sewer line repair and replacement tasks should always be performed by a certified, professional plumber.

Video Inspection

By employing an in-line video inspection camera, you will be able to see where the problem lies and experience faster and less costly repairs. The visuals taken by the camera are sent to a device which is controlled by the technician. These images are recorded for further review by the professional.
While this is done, simultaneously a radio transmitter on the camera gets the physical location of the line and its depth from the surface, so that the necessary repairs can be well planned and carried out. Once the professional diagnoses is given that a sewer line has to be repaired or replaced, there are a few repair options that you could choose from.

Traditional Sewer Line Repair or Replacement

When the traditional repair method is done, digging up the yard to access the pipes may take hours or even several days to fix the pipes, and additional days to fix the surface or lawn that was dug. With the trenchless repair method, it can be done in a day.

Trenchless Sewer Repair or Replacement

Trenchless sewer repair involves using a hydraulic machine to push a new pipe lining through the damaged pipe and seal it into place. For this procedure to work, a few holes will have to be drilled in your yard for access to the line, saving your yard. This means a lesser hassle, lesser digging area, lesser time to get your yard in order, and lesser time spent stressing over the process.

Contact Us for your Sewer Line Repair Needs

Whichever sewer line repair or replacement you choose to go with, the work has to, and can only be done by an experienced and licensed professional plumber. We truly believe our plumbers are excellent at what they do and are the best in the business. If you face a sewer or a drain issue, we can guarantee a solution and fix it, most often on the very same day.