Regularly dealing with sewer line problems? Here in Phoenix Arizona, we are often asked how you can spot a sewer problem before it gets disastrous. The indoor plumbing you’ve come to rely on and enjoy shouldn’t be taken for granted! Knowing the signs can help you tackle the problem head-on.

A sewer line, also called a main sewer line, is a pipe that connects your home plumbing to the central sewer system. Now, pipes are designed to last around 50 years, but they can become damaged at any time.  Outdated pipe materials such as Orangeburg, cast iron, and clay are still present in many homes throughout Arizona, and do not last as long as newer technology. These materials were installed prior to 1970, and have reached the end of their life expectancy.

A sewer inspection will allow you to determine the condition of the sewer line, and what material your pipe is made from.This process will assist in locating the sewer line on the property. Furthermore, a sewer camera inspection will allow a plumber to determine what options are available in order to restore proper function.

Although this pipe is leading away from your home, it’s still your responsibility to maintain it. Some municipalities offer sewer line warranty. This can help you pay for replacing a portion of the line if anything should happen to it.

We don’t think about these pipes very often as they quietly do their job, but you will certainly notice if they stop working. Here are seven signs that there is an issue with your sewer line.

1. Seriously Bad Smells

Sewage certainly doesn’t smell wonderful! As long as your sewer lines and drains are working correctly, you’ll never smell them. If you can smell sewage inside or outside of your home, then you know you have a problem. The most common cause of sewage smells are hair and soap buildup in the drain. Smells can also indicate the early stage of a sewer blockage.

2. Slow Stubborn Drains

Slow drains are not only annoying! This can be a signal that there is a partial blockage in the pipes of your main sewer line, shower, tub, skink, or toilet. If you have more than one drain being stubborn, that can be a signal of a larger problem such as a blocked or broken sewer line. Common culprits include tree roots that have invaded the sewer line, flushable wipes, or other hygiene products (like tampons) which can be obstructing the flow of water and sewage.

3. Sewage Backups

Sewage backups in the home can be a disgusting and frustrating mess to clean up. They are often a huge sign that there is an issue with your sewer system. You’ll notice the smell of sewage coming from the drain, and you may see bubbles or hear gurgling sounds coming from your toilet. Eventually, actual sewage will start coming out of the drains. This happens at the lowest point in your home usually in the bathtub, toilet or in the basement

4. Issues With Mold

Mold usually starts growing within 24 – 48 hours in the right conditions. If you see dark wet spots forming on your walls, floors, or ceilings, then you have a leaking sewer line or a busted water pipe. If left untreated, these wet spots will grow rapidly-spreading mold throughout your home, which can cause major health issues. The spores from mold caused by water and sewage can be harmful to your health and even cause allergic reactions. The mold also eats through building materials which can cause structural damage to your home.

5. Unexpectedly Green Lawn Patches

Do you have unusually lush or green patches in your lawn? This could actually be the result of seeping sewage. Another issue you might notice in your yard is an overly soggy lawn. You expect your lawn to be soggy after a few days of heavy rain, but if the weather is clear and the yard is soupy, there is probably a sewer issue. These swamp-like conditions will also attract bugs and rodents, so it’s best to get the matter cleared up quickly.

6. Foundation Cracks

In extreme cases, sewer line issues can cause cracks in the foundation slab of your home. It can cause the house to settle and even create sinkholes. Cracks in the foundation can also lead to cracks in the walls of your home. Small cracks often come with the natural process of a home settling, but large cracks or cracks that continue to get worse over time should not be ignored as they could be the result of a sewer line problem.

7. Pest Problems With Rodents Or Insects

Rats live in sewers, and an average-sized rodent can easily squeeze through a quarter-sized crack in your sewer line. Although not all that frightening, rats can carry disease, and they also bite.

If you notice an infestation of cockroaches or other insects, this could also be a sign of a sewer line problem. Cockroaches especially carry and spread disease and be harmful to young children. Pest control will only rid you of your problems temporarily; fixing the sewer line is the only permanent solution.

What To Do After You Notice Sewer Line Issues

If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms and you live in or around Phoenix, AZ, please give us a call at (480) 477-8842 for a quick evaluation.We will diagnose the problem and provide all of your options.

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