HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR SEWER LINE IS CLOGGED?

February 6, 2019

When experiencing a sewer backup, it can be hard for the average homeowner to determine the cause without professional guidance. There can be signs, like an unusual smell or visual evidence of a backup, that can help homeowners discern that the problem at hand relates to their sewer line—but that still doesn’t necessarily say anything about what’s causing the problem. So how do you know if your sewer line is clogged, installed incorrectly, or broken in some way? Read on to find out.

Sewage backup near trap
Sewage backup near trap
How To Determine the Cause of Your Sewer Backup

The first step in diagnosing a clogged or broken sewer line is to hire a reputable drain cleaner who is capable of utilizing a sewer camera to investigate the inside of the pipe. They should first attempt to clear the sewer line with a standard sewer snake. This will help clear out any minor blockages, such as tree roots, that may impact your water supply. If the cleaners find tree roots in your pipes, you should consider an annual maintenance checkup even if you are not experiencing backups. If you let tree roots continue to grow without maintenance, they can eventually completely clog your pipe. A complete clog cannot be cleared with a sewer snake.

Roots removed from sewer
Roots removed while clearing sewer backup

If the sewer cleaner hits an obstruction, they may attempt to clear the sewer line with a more powerful sewer machine or a water jet in an attempt to remove the blockage with water pressure. If this action doesn’t clear the blockage, it is suggested to utilize a sewer camera for a formal inspection.

Roots removed from sewer excavation
Roots removed from sewer excavation

 

Inside of a clear sewer line
Inside of a clear sewer line

Inside of sewer loaded with roots
Inside of sewer loaded with roots

If the sewer cleaner hits an obstruction, they may attempt to clear the sewer line with a more powerful sewer machine or a water jet in an attempt to remove the blockage with water pressure. If this action doesn’t clear the blockage, it is suggested to utilize a sewer camera for a formal inspection.

How To Fix a Clogged Sewer Line

After determining the cause of the sewer backup, you will need to discuss repair or replacement options with a licensed contractor. Several variables in determining the service your sewer line requires can be obtained directly from the city. An above-ground investigation of your sewer line can also provide you with valuable information for your decision.

However, one way in which broken sewer line repairs and complete sewer line replacement are similar is that both options require DEP & DOT permits. They’ll also both require inspections if working outside of the property line. Once the permits are in hand, the excavation process can begin.

Sewer repair excavation with backhoeOnce the broken sewer line is revealed, it is removed, and a new cast iron pipe is installed. After the new pipe has been installed, the DEP will perform an on-site inspection if required, and the excavation site will be refilled for a final roadway or sidewalk restoration.

New cast iron being installed Now that you’ve read through our post, let’s review the original question. How do you know if your sewer line is clogged? You look for the key signs of a sewer backup and leave the rest to the professionals.

The experts at Harris Water Main & Sewer are always here to assist you with sewer line issues. Contact us today or visit our blog page to learn more about all things related to home plumbing, water main, and sewer line emergencies.

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