The worst plumbing problem you could have is probably a clogged main sewer line. If your sewer drain is clogged, wastewater has nowhere to go and your whole plumbing system stops working. Everything depends on getting that clog out of the way. Even when they don’t involve human waste, plumbing emergencies are scary enough. We’re sorry to be the ones to tell you this, but sometimes they do.
Many scary plumbing problems are easy to avoid, which is a relief. The best way to keep sewage from backing up is to take a few simple precautions. If your sewer drain pipe isn’t flowing, it’s probably because of one of these three things:
Tree Roots in Sewer Line
This is important for people like us who live in California. For survival, trees need water. If they can’t get enough water, like, during a drought, they will start looking for it anywhere, even in your sewer line. Roots can grow through tiny cracks or pipe fittings in your sewer drain pipe and cause problems.
Even if you don’t have many trees in your yard, you shouldn’t think you’re safe. Roots can reach a long way. In fact, the roots from your neighbor’s trees could have caused your sewer to back up. Keeping your home safe from tree roots is easiest if you have regular inspections and clean your sewer and drains.
This is what happens most of the time when sewage backs up. People try to flush all sorts of things that don’t belong in a toilet, which is bad. You name it: paper towels, grease, a dearly departed goldfish. When you flush things down the toilet that your pipes can’t handle, they start to get clogged.
If only one fixture is clogged, the problem is probably limited to a single set of pipes. This is great news! If sewage backs up in fixtures all over your home or near your sewer cleanout, the blockage is in your main sewer line. That’s a big problem that will need to be fixed by a professional. Watch what you flush to keep these kinds of sewer clogs from happening in the first place. Don’t pour hot grease down drains, and be careful when using your garbage disposal.
A sewer line that is broken or collapsed
Nothing lasts forever, and your sewer line is no exception. Depending on how old your home is, the earth above your sewer line may have broken it or it may be made of old materials. Or some mixture of the two. Most sewer lines are made of strong, long-lasting plastic these days, but that wasn’t always the case.
Pipes in older homes are often made of cast iron or clay. Over time, these materials may break down and wear down until they break or even fall apart. When your sewer line breaks, the sewage it processes can’t go anywhere, so it backs up. If you’re worried about your sewer line, you can have a professional plumber do a camera inspection of your pipes to check their condition.