Household plumbing falls under the category of “out of sight, out of mind.” Most people simply don’t think about it until it’s not working. In spite of the fact that the main sewer line is responsible for doing a job no one wants to think – much less talk – about, it’s one of the most important fixtures in any home.
The main sewer line collects waste from drains connected to your home’s toilets, sinks, and showers then transports it to your septic tank or your community’s sewage system. If there’s a clog in the main sewer line, it means that your household waste cannot get to where it needs to go and you’re in danger of it backing up into your home.
A main sewer line clog can affect every fixture in your home, as well as potentially cause permanent damage to the plumbing, and it’s important to note that homeowners’ insurance often won’t cover it. Because of that, it’s crucial to know the warning signs of a clogged sewer line and to call a professional plumber to address the issue immediately. These warning signs include:
Unpleasant smells coming from drains
One of the warning signs that your main sewer line is backed up is a foul odor coming through the drains. If you smell a sewer-like odor or what you would describe as a rotten eggs smell, the line may be so badly backed up that it’s essentially leaking back into your home or you may have a recurring clog, meaning the main drain keeps clogging.
A plumbing domino effect
The plumbing in most houses is set up like a tree, in that the main sewer line is essentially the tree trunk and the various drains are the tree branches. If one plumbing fixture is acting strangely while another is being used, that is one of the strongest signs of a clogged sewer line. For example, you may be using a sink and a toilet is visibly bubbling or making gurgling sounds – even if they’re on opposite ends of the house.
Water is visibly backing up in your home
Similar to the “domino effect” we just mentioned, do you notice water backing up in one drain when another plumbing fixture in the home is used? Perhaps some water comes into the bathtub when the toilet is flushed, or the water level in the toilet bowl rises when the sink is used. That is often one of the clearest warning signs that you need to call a plumber to unclog the main sewer line.
What to do if you find signs of a clogged sewer line
It may be tempting to search online for videos or tutorials on “How to clear a main sewer line clog,” but this is one issue that’s best left to the professionals. While the problem could be resolved with a straightforward solution like a sewer cleanout, main sewer line clogs are often more complex than they initially seem. If it’s more than just a simple clog, the pipe may be physically damaged or there could be a problem with the city’s sewer system.
- Sewage smells and visible signs of water backup, such as gurgling toilets, indicate a main sewer line clog.
- Don’t attempt to unclog a main sewer line blockage yourself; instead, call a licensed plumber right away.
The best thing you can do if you suspect there’s a main sewer line clog in your home is to not use any of the plumbing fixtures. Turn off the water main shutoff valve, and then call Platinum Plumbing and Heating Inc at (718) 568-9242. Our team of licensed plumbers prides itself on offering upfront, fair pricing and never charging hidden fees. We provide free visual estimates and you can save 10% by booking your appointment online.