We normally don’t worry about the things we don’t see. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Although our plumbing system is hidden inside our floors and walls, it is not something we should ignore.
A major part of your plumbing system is the mainline, which transfers all of your home’s wastewater into the sewer system or a septic tank. A clog in the main sewer line can cause many problems, including sewage backing up into the home and expensive sewer line repairs or replacement.
Sewer line problems are the cause of many plumbing backups, pipe corrosion, high water bills, sinkholes on your property, pest problems, and even damage to your foundation. Main sewer line problems are both dangerous and costly. The sooner you notice the warning signs of a mainline clog, the sooner you can get your home back to normal.
What is a plumbing mainline?
The mainline is a large pipe that takes all the wastewater from your toilets, sinks, laundry, showers and tubs, and transfers it to either your city sewer system or septic tank.
All of the drains in your home use gravity to transport wastewater downhill through a series of pipes. All of these pipes lead to the main sewer line, located outside and underground.
An undetected clog in the sewer line can lead to costly repairs and contaminated water. That’s why you should always be well aware of the warning signs of a mainline sewer clog.
Warning Signs of a Mainline Sewer Clog
Multiple Drains Backing up in the Home
When you have multiple drains in your home backing up at the same time it could indicate a clog in your mainline. All secondary drains lead to the main sewer line. When there is a clog in the mainline, it will affect your secondary drains including toilets, bathtubs, sinks and even your washing machine. When the main sewer line is clogged, the sewage and wastewater has nowhere to go but up and out your drains. Wastewater will often show itself at the lowest points first, which are most likely to be in basement or first story drains.
The two most common instances of a multiple drain mainline clog are water backing up into the bathtub when you flush the toilet or water backing up into sinks when you run your washing machine.
You may be running water in a sink or shower and hear the toilet gurgling and bubbling. Toilets will gurgle when running other fixtures in the home when there is trouble.
If waste is backing up into any of your drains, it can quickly create unsanitary conditions. One of the most dangerous bacteria found in sewage is E. coli. Do not attempt to clean sewage yourself. Contact Bell Brothers immediately if there is any sewage backup in or around your home. Our expert plumbers will clear your line and refer you to emergency cleaning services.
Standing Sewage Near Sewer Cleanout
Sewage near and around your cleanout is another sign of a mainline clog. The sewer cleanout is a vertical, capped pipe that connects directly to the mainline, giving plumbers direct access for addressing clogs. It is usually located outside or in the basement and labeled “sewer.”
You can unscrew the cap to see if there is any standing sewage water in the pipe, which would indicate a mainline clog.
Foul Smell Around Drains
The sewage system carries a lot of decompressing waste that causes an awful smell. In order to keep sewer gases from wafting into the home, drains are outfitted for a goosenecked section of pipe called a P- trap. A P-trap needs to be filled with water in order to create an odor seal that prevents sewer smells from being released into your home. Some homes have a main trap located near the foundation or under the front lawn to block sewer gases to the entire plumbing system.
Venting is also needed for your drain-waste pipes to maintain equal atmospheric pressure to keep sewer gases outside the home. This also brings fresh air to the drain system which helps prevent suction that could slow or stop your drains from flowing freely. Without a vent system, water would get siphoned out of the traps, leaving an opening for sewer gases.
Standing Water Around Your Property
A good indication that you have a clogged or broken sewer line is if you have standing water around your property. You may notice soggy patches of lawn that have become saturated with water or sewage.
Bubbling or Gurgling Drains
This might happen if your mainline has been infiltrated by tree roots. If you don’t take quick action, a full clog in the mainline can occur.
If you have any plumbing fixtures that are gurgling or start to bubble, you may have a problem with your main sewer line. Sometimes drains bubble as they drain slowly when there is a clog due to a collapsed pipe in the mainline or tree root intrusion.
Contact Bell Brothers to assess your main sewer line and figure out the best way to get it clear.
Professional Sewer Line Drain Clearing
There are two different pieces of equipment that can be used for drain clearing: industrial augers or water jets. The auger or drain snake is a flexible tube that goes down your pipe, grabbing and removing the clog or breaking it up so water can flow freely. The water jet is a long, thin hose that delivers a high-pressure stream of water to clear out any clogs or blockages.
Plumbing Camera Inspection
If you suspect a problem with your main sewer line, contact the professional plumbers at Bell Brothers to request a camera inspection. We will pinpoint your sewer problem using a camera on a flexible cable. Our video camera inspection allows us to see deep inside your home’s plumbing system so that we can find the root of the problem.
Sacramento Drain Clearing Special
Getting your clogged drains cleared as soon as possible can prevent further damage and costly repairs. Bell Brothers is currently offering an $87 drain clearing special to get your drains flowing.
Contact Bell Brothers today for our drain clearing special!