Drain & Sewer Line Stoppages: Signs, Causes & Solutions

Drain and Sewer Line Stoppages

One of the most common synonyms for the word ‘stoppage’ is obstruction. When a plumber refers to an obstruction, they are most often discussing a blockage in either a sewer or drain line. For many of our clients at Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning, ‘headache’ is the most common synonym they use for the word stoppage. Regardless of how big or small their headache, we have the training and experience to deal with any stoppage our clients present to us.

How do you know if you have a stoppage?

1. Multiple backed-up lines.

A clog in the main sewer line will eventually back up other plumbing fixtures in the home. Suppose it’s an isolated problem with a single appliance. In that case, you’ll only see a problem in a single branch line (i.e., only in the toilet of the master bathroom).

Visualize your home’s sewage system like a tree; there are multiple drain lines from different water appliances. They all feed into one central “trunk.” That’s why when there’s a clog in the main trunk, the water draining from the smaller branch lines has nowhere to go except back.

Suppose you hear the toilet, bathtub, shower, sink, and other appliances making gurgling noises. In that case, it’s most likely that your main sewer line is clogged. The noise occurs as wastewater slowly moves past the clog and hits air pockets, forcing air bubbles to the water’s surface, thereby creating the noise.

2. Water overflows into different plumbing fixtures.

Water will begin to back up and overflow into different plumbing fixtures if you have a main sewer line clog. This happens because water from one branch line tries to drain away, but the main sewer clog blocks it and forces it back into smaller drains. To test if this is happening in your home, you can try one of the following experiments.

  • Flush your toilet, then confirm to see if water gurgles or comes up your bathtub or shower drain.
  • Use your washing machine, then look for overflow in your shower drain or toilet.
  • Turn on your bathroom sink and watch to see if your toilet water rises or bubbles up.

If you see water overflowing after any of these tests, then you most definitely have a sewer line clog.

3. Drainage in sewer clean-out

If your home was built before 1978, you might not have one-a sewer clean-out. This device is marked by a circular plastic or concrete lid labeled “clean out.” If you see sewer water flowing out of the pipe or standing in the pipe, this is an excellent indication that you have a sewer or drain line stoppage.

What are the most common causes of drain and sewer stoppages?

1. Flushing the wrong items.

Try not to flush anything but toilet paper down the toilet. Avoid flushing wipes, feminine products, fats, oils, grease, and paper towels. Your sewer system cannot disintegrate these items in water as it can with toilet paper.It might seem they don’t cause an issue at first. However, eventually, they will likely damage your piping system with time. Remind everyone who uses your facilities to keep these things from being flushed or going down the drain.

2. Damage to your pipes.

If your pipes are broken or have burst for some reason, your entire system will not properly drain. A variety of reasons can cause this sort of damage, from increased pressure or significant shifts in the soil to influxes of heavy traffic on the surface above the pipes.

3. Root penetration

The trees in your yard might look lovely, but it’s what’s lying underground (i.e., their roots, which can wreak havoc on your plumbing system). Roots can infiltrate a sewer line. The expression, “give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile,” applies to tree roots and sewer pipes. Even if there is a slight opening, often at the junction of your home’s drainage line and municipal tap, once these roots get inside your piping, they can quickly grow and cause significant issues.

4. Poor drainage.

The majority of modern piping systems are now made of plastic. Yet, if you live in an older home, there’s a chance that your pipes are made of cast iron or another material that is less conducive to proper drainage. That’s because metal like cast iron tends to become corroded, which causes material to get lodged.

5. Sagging sewer lines.

Your home’s sewer lines can begin to sag over time due to sinking soil or other unusual ground conditions. If this sag starts to grow, things like toilet paper and sewage can collect in this area and cause a blockage. Indications of this occurrence include frequent clogs in your drains or multiple clogs at once. Other occurrences include strange incidents within your fixtures like a flooding shower or flooding or indentation in your lawn.

Should you notice any of the signs of drain or sewer line stoppages in your home’s piping system, contact Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning for plumbing assistance immediately. These situations require the immediate attention of one of our professionals who will fix the problem and get your home back in working order.  

Nick’s Plumbing & AC

Whether you call it a stoppage, an obstruction, or a headache, at Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning, we have the experience to help solve your problem. With a team of technicians at your service, we’re able to clear sewer drain clogs of all sizes, from basic root infiltrations to the more serious situations requiring open-trench sewer repairs. Simply put, regardless of the stoppage’s size, Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning is just a call away!

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