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toilet

All of the drains inside your home are connected to your sewer line. Easily one of the most important parts of any home, this pipe carries all of the wastewater from your sinks, showers, bathtubs, and toilets out into the municipal sewer. Unfortunately, these sewer lines can become partially clogged or completely blocked, and blocked sewer drains can get pretty nasty. Because what goes down, essentially must go somewhere.

If wastewater is unable to get past a blockage in your main sewer system, it may have nowhere else to go but back up through your floor drains and plumbing fixtures. And not only is sewage backing up a disgustingly and smelly inconvenience, but the bacteria is also a serious health concern, and the wastewater can cause major damage to your home. So in order to avoid a small clog becoming a major plumbing emergency, here are some of the most common signs of a main sewer line blockage to look out for.

Sewer smell

Easily one of the most noticeable signs of sewer clogs or blockages is the foul-smelling odor of raw sewerage. Because all those bad smells should always be sealed safely underground within the sewer pipeline. So if your nose picks up any wafts of sewerage coming from drains or anywhere else on your property, it’s quite possibly coming from wastewater backed up behind a blockage or there’s a breakage somewhere in your sewer line.

Toilet not flushing

Because toilet water is flushed directly into the main sewer line, this is usually where most people notice that something isn’t right. If your toilet doesn’t seem to be flushing normally, like regularly backing up, taking longer to drain, starting to overflow, or it gurgles when there’s water running elsewhere, you might have a clogged or blocked main sewer pipe. If a plunger doesn’t clear away any blockages in the pipes, you should contact a plumber.

Slow water drainage

If you notice problems with the draining process, it will quite often mean there is a clog or blockage somewhere along your main sewer line. Water taking longer than normal to drain from your sinks, toilets, bathtubs, showers, and washing machines are all indicators of a major problem somewhere in your mainline. Especially if there are slow drainage problems with more than one drain.

Bubbling sink water

When air seems to be trapped inside your drainage system, it’s most likely caused by sewer clog or blockage. You can check for this in a number of different ways, such as watching for any water bubbling back up from the drain when running some water in a sink. Or running water in a sink to see if the water level in the closest toilet rises or starts making gurgling sounds.

Pooling water outside

Do you have any pooling puddles of dirty water in your front yard, but it hasn’t rained recently? Or is there a depression in your lawn that never used to be there? When septic tanks break or sewer line pipes crack, they will start leaking raw sewage and wastewater up into the surrounding area in your yard. This causes the soil to sink, creating a depression, which eventually starts filling up with dirty, smelly water.

Multiple clogged fixtures

If you have noticed any of these issues with your plumbing, it’s a good idea to check your other drainage fixtures to see if you have a sewer clog or blockage. Start by checking the toilets on the lowest level of your home because they’re usually the first to have issues, and then move on to the other fixtures like your showers, bathtubs, and sinks. If you find there are multiple drainage fixtures in your home that are having any of the issues listed above, you almost definitely have some kind of problem somewhere in your sewer drain.

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are a number of things to look out for when it comes to issues with blocked and clogged sewer drainage pipes. But once you understand how these issues with your sewer drain can happen, it’s much easier to learn how to prevent it from happening to you. If you have any issues with clogged, blocked, or broken sewer pipes in your home, don’t use any plumbing until the problem is fixed. Make sure you turn off your water mains tap immediately and contact a professional plumber for help.