Of all the plumbing issues that can occur in the home, a clogged sewer main line can be one of the more surprising, messy, and costly ones to deal with. The sewer main line is the pipe that carries all your wastewater to the municipal sewer system. This pipe is buried underground and runs from the home out to the street.
How does a sewer main like get clogged? Well, there are a few different potential causes. A blockage can form from oils, hair, and other debris that get stuck together and clog the pipe. That’s why it’s so important to not dump grease down the kitchen sink or flush anything down the toilet other than toilet paper. Other causes of a blocked sewer line include tree roots that grow into the pipe and older clay pipes breaking.
When a sewer main line gets blocked, it’s not a situation you want to ignore. If not fixed quickly, sewage can back up in your home, which can lead to a foul odor, giant mess, and even potential health risks.
Plumbing services to fix sewer main line
Fixing a sewer main line is not a DIY project. A professional plumber should be brought in to inspect the situation and recommend the best way to repair or replace the pipe. Here are three types of services that may be needed:
- Sewer video inspection – Because the sewer main pipe is underground, it is difficult to access and see what is really happening. That’s where a video inspection can be valuable. A probe with a small camera is sent through the sewer line until it reaches the obstruction. This will tell the plumber where the blockage is and what is causing it – information that can guide his or her recommendation on the most effective, least expensive method to fix the problem.
- Main sewer line unclogging – If the pipe is in good condition and just has an internal blockage, then the plumber can potentially unclog it without replacing the pipe (which requires digging up your property). A processional-grade auger is sent through the sewer main line. The head of the auger can break up the blockage to open up the flow of the pipe.
- Branch line unclogging – Sometimes, the blockage may not be in the underground sewer main line but in a pipe inside coming from a toilet, tub, or sink. In this case, a plumber can use an auger or snake to break up the clog in the branch line. Typically, this is an easier and cheaper method for fixing a backed-up sewer line.
When to call a plumber
With so much that goes down the drain on a daily basis, it’s not a total surprise the sewer system in your home can get blocked now and then. As soon as you notice signs like multiple drains getting clogged at once, toilets not flushing like they should, or bubbles coming up from drains, it’s time to call in a professional plumber.