7 Signs of Main Sewer Line Problems

Sewer Drain Grate

Main sewer line problems not only can frustrate and annoy you, but they also can pose a health risk if the water is contaminated. Ben Franklin Plumbing in Charlotte, NC provides immediate service in any kind of emergency. However, we also can help you identify signs of sewer problems even before the problem worsens.

1. Low Water Pressure Not Adjusted by You

Even if you have a shower head that’s water pressure adjustable, low water pressure sometimes occurs involuntarily. If you have not adjusted your water pressure settings and your water does not flow like it did previously, this could indicate a sign of drain clogs. These types of obstructions might just affect your home plumbing. However, this issue often originates from an outdoor main sewer line.

2. Wastewater Backup In Your Sink, Tub or Toilet

This could result from placing too many common items such as oil, grease, sanitary napkins, or thick paper towels down your drain. Tree roots sometimes also grow and block your pipes, and this could stop waste water from traveling any further down sewage lines.
In some cases, the chemical cleaners you use to unclog your drains make the situation worse because this kind of matter hardens and sticks to your pipes. This often happens if the liquid cleaner could not make it past the obstruction and had nowhere to flow.

3. Basement Flooding and Muddy Water Around Your Septic Tank

As pipes age, the chance of plumbing complications increases. One of these complications could be frequent muddiness around your septic tank or indoor drains. This shows you that you might have a main sewer line problem that started because of a loose connection or a hole somewhere in a pipe.
Dirt and debris from your basement floor mixed up with water leaking from your washing machine could also result in flooding. Illness-causing contamination could occur if flooding persists because this dirty water might contain bacteria, viruses, mold or mildew.

4. Foul Odors Traveling Through the Basement

Perhaps you notice this odor as you walk downstairs to change a load of laundry. The stench may sometimes even travel through your heating vents and infiltrate the rest of your home. If you have no idea why your home doesn’t smell as fresh as you’d like, call Ben Franklin Plumbing. The problem might be more serious than you think. More than likely, it resulted from sewage backup caused by an interior or exterior obstruction.

5. Bright, Spongy Grass Near Exterior Drain Outputs

This indicates a leak somewhere in your sewer line. This may have happened because old pipes corroded after many years of use. Weight of outdoor organic matter such as decomposing leaves or branches could result in leaks that cause minor drain field flooding. The water could continue to contaminate the ground if waste is unable to flow to the sewer. When this happens, you might also notice outside odors near the pipeline exit drain.

6. Pipes Sagging Lower than Normal

Plumbing installers often construct side sewers with a slight slope equaling about a quarter-inch per foot of pipe. This enables gravity to pull wastewater through lines. However, too much weight can cause debris to accumulate and clog your plumbing lines. Natural wear and tear also weakens pipes and causes them to sag even if you never use chemical drain cleaners.
Sewage backups often occur when the sag is more than 25 percent of the pipe diameter. Ben Franklin Plumbing recommends pipe inspections once every two to five years to detect main sewer line problems caused by sagging pipes. We can identify the issue before your plumbing lines burst and cause a mess.

7. Cracks or Holes in Pipes

Some cracks or holes result from corrosion, but they also might occur because of shifting soil, overgrown plant roots, or other problems. Any place where a crack or hole occurs increases the chance that debris will enter your pipe and contribute to drain clogs.
Pipe seals also might break because of pressure or weight, and this, along with cracks or holes, usually causes leaks that you have to mop up later.
However minor, we advise you to have cracks or holes repaired as soon as you notice them. We also can perform inspections to make sure your plumbing continues to work the way it should.

How your Sewer System Should Work

Understanding how your sewer system should work if you have one could help you prevent additional main sewer line problems. The cycle starts with wastewater pumping out of your house from a primary drain pipe to a water main that exists near your house.
Gravity often pushes the water through the sewer main into larger pipes and eventually to a sewage treatment plant. This flow usually works best when the wastewater drains into low-lying areas. In case gravity alone cannot move the water waste, pumps or lifts will push it to the treatment destination.
At the treatment site, the wasted water undergoes a variety of purification stages. This usually starts with separating the solids from the oils, grease other floating substances by allowing the solids to sink. Filtration machines will then send waste to disposal facilities.
Next, bacteria and organic matters, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, are removed. Water is then sterilized before cycling it back into homes for reuse.
If you have a septic tank, it usually works in a similar way that treatment plants operate. Your septic system holds the wastewater dredged from your house long enough to let solids settle to the bottom. Other substances such as oil and grease you mistakenly dumped down your drain then rise to the surface for separation.
If you notice main sewer line problems, contact Ben Franklin Plumbing in Charlotte, NC for help. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond immediately during an emergency. Call us to make an appointment.