The last thing any homeowner wants to deal with is a backed up main sewer line. But sewer line replacement is costly, and the repair process can be invasive. The key to avoiding a disaster is properly diagnosing the cause of your home’s drainage problems.
Slow-moving drains or a toilet that takes forever to flush are pretty good indications that something is not quite right with your home’s drainage system. Still, it’s important to figure out if the issue is simply a blockage at the fixture or a more serious problem.
Because toilets send such a large volume of water into the sewer line so suddenly, this is the most obvious place to start if you suspect your sewer line has been compromised. If your toilet is slow to flush or the bowl fills up upon flushing rather them emptying, try plunging the toilet with a handheld plunger. If that doesn’t seem to help, check the other drains throughout the house.
Does the kitchen sink fill with water when the tap is turned on? Does your shower or tub drain seem to back up when the water is running? Is there standing water in your dishwasher or washing machine following a cycle? Affirmative answers to any of these questions strongly suggest that your home’s sewer line is in need of repair.
If every drain in your house is slow to empty, you should consult a reputable sewer line repair and replacement service for further diagnostics. As long as there’s no waste or standing water build-up in your yard or around your septic tank, a sewer line specialist will likely examine pipe couplings inside your house to check for blockages in the pipes. By opening the drain line inside the house, the sewer line specialist can determine if the blockage is close to your home or further out into the sewer line. This can also help reveal how serious the blockage is—if water spills from the open coupling then it’s safe to say the problem is substantial, as standing water in the drain line nearest the house indicates that waste water has been backing up from the sewer or septic tank all the way into the home for some time.
Your sewer line specialist will also conduct a visual inspection of drain pipes inside your home, looking for evidence of leaks and overflowing water that likely indicate a sewer line blockage. In most cases, this will require a special sewer line camera that can be fed through the entire length of the sewer line.
Once it’s been determined that your sewer line is blocked or damaged, a sewer line professional can judge how far along the line the problem is. The sewer line technician will follow the piping and take into account the position of the septic tank or sewer to figure out the most likely spot of the damage.
If the issue is not in your home but further down the line toward the sewer or septic system, chances are root infiltration, aging pipes, a broken pipe, or some other physical damage has caused the line to malfunction. Repair or replacing may involve tearing up your lawn surrounding the pipe, replacing the damaged portion, reburying the site, and re-seeding the yard. Some sewer line specialists, like Horizon Services, employ a trenchless system which can repair or replace the sewer line without tearing your yard up.
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