Tips For Diagnosing Sewer Pipe Problems

A variety of drains make up the plumbing system of any home. The internal drains of the house are divided into greywater drains, which are usually limited to sinks and showers because they do not transport human waste, and blackwater drains, which take waste away from the toilets. These typically all join together into one sewer drain that connects to the municipal drain and sewer system. An issue with this main drain can result in a major problem that requires immediate repair. The following tips can help you spot sewer drain problems early, hopefully before they become an expensive problem or a smelly disaster.

Tip #1: Listen To Your Home

Believe it or not, your home often talks to you when there is a drain problem. It does this through the drains. If you hear gurgling in the toilet, even when it hasn't recently been flushed, or if bubbling sounds seem to emanate from sink drains, there is likely a problem with your sewer drain that is slowing waste flow out of the house.

Tip #2: Check for Slow Movement

Clogs don't always happen suddenly. Often, they build up so gradually that you may not notice there is a problem until drains start to overflow. Keep an eye out for slow drains. If only a single drain, such as the bath tub, is draining slowly, the issue is probably just in that one drain. Remove the plug and clean out the hair, then snake the drain to improve drainage. If most or all of the drains in the house are emptying slowly, you likely have a developing sewer line clog on your hands. You can check each drain individually for clogs first, but you will need to contact a plumber if this doesn't solve the slow drain issue.

Tip #3: Get an Inspection

If you suspect a problem, a prompt inspection can diagnose a clogged sewer before it escalates. Often, the first thing done is a long cable is sent down the drain to attempt to remove the clog. If this fails, sewer drain specialists have special cameras they can also send down the sewer pipe. This camera can find the cause of the slow moving drains. Often, the problem is tree roots, which a combination of snaking and chemical tree root killer can control. If a problem has been going on for many years, the roots may have crushed or completely broken through the pipe. In this case, you may need to have your entire sewer line replaced.