When most of us encounter a clogged drain in our home, we expect it to be a simple fix, either on our own or a call to a local plumber. What most of us don’t realize is that a clog can be a symptom of a larger problem.

Drains work using the power of gravity to pull greywater and sewage through the system and out of the house. While a single clogged drain is often not a cause for alarm, if ALL the drains in your home are slow or begin to clog, that is a symptom of a much larger problem for which you should call your local plumber.

A plumber can do a camera inspection of your pipes in order to identify if you have any of the following problems:

Foreign objects

Many common clogs occur because things are put down the drain that do not belong there. This can include fats, grease and oil, or food scraps in kitchen drains and things like paper towels and flushable wipes down toilets. While these things might seem harmless, they can cause big problems as they collect in your sewer line and can cause permanent damage leading to a sewer line replacement.


Tree roots seek out moisture and find a hospitable environment in your sewer line. They first access your line by growing between pipe joints. Once they are there, they grow and expand over time, eventually collapsing the line.

Sewer Line Bellies

When an improperly fitted pipe joint or cracks from tree roots cause a pipe to leak wastewater, it erodes soil around a pipe. This erosion causes a sewer line to sag, creating a “belly”. Standing wastewater gets trapped in the belly, slowing the drain and eventually causing a permanent blockage due to a collapsed or offset pipe.

Collapsed or Offset Pipes

Collapsed or offset pipes can be caused by shifting ground or shoddy installation but is more frequently associated with an untreated belly or significant tree root damage. Over time, either of these two circumstances compromise the structural integrity of the pipe, causing permanent damage.

If any of these situations happens to you, the only permanent fix may be to replace your sewer line. Be sure to explore your options! While most plumbers must dig up your entire yard to replace a line, trenchless sewer line replacement may be available in your area. With trenchless technology, a plumber can replace your sewer line with just a few small holes, avoiding significant damage to your yard. To learn more about your options for sewer line repairs, call your local Benjamin Franklin Plumbing at 1-800-259-7705.