Most Common Signs of Sewer Pipe Damage

Sewer lines are a critical aspect of plumbing systems, yet they often go unnoticed until there is a problem. While we may go through life just assuming these pipes will last forever, we need to realize that they can break due to age, weather, tree roots, earthquakes and other factors. How long a sewer line lasts depends on how well the pipe was originally installed, what has happened to the ground over time, and how well the drains are maintained.
So how can you tell if you have a sewer pipe that is damaged? After all, you do not want to find out about a damaged pipe only at the point when the damage is irreversible.
Here are some of the earlier indications that you may require a professional plumber to investigate and repair the damaged sewer pipes.

Indications of Sever Pipe Damage

Sewage Backups and Blockages
Backups and blockages in your pipes are one of the most obvious signs of their damage. If you have been dealing with backups and blockages in your sinks, toilets, showers or bathtubs, you could have a blockage or a break in the main sewer line.
A clogged sewer drain line can impact plumbing fixtures throughout an entire home. In severe cases, raw sewage will begin to back up inside drains. A common scenario is when a toilet is flushed and sewage backs up into the bathtub or shower drain. If back-up happens on a frequent basis whenever someone at your home flushes a toilet or runs water down the drain, you could have an issue with your main sewer line.[
When a clog is severe enough to cause raw sewage to back up inside a home, a professional plumber should be called immediately. Raw sewage is a health hazard and can quickly cause extensive property damage.

Slow Drains
A sewer drain rarely becomes completely blocked all at once. Slow moving drains are often an indication of a problem more serious than a minor clog. Though some clogs can be easily removed to restore proper drainage, that is not always the case. If clearing the drain does not work, other solutions may be required, such as a sewer camera inspection. These cameras are designed to go down the drain and help pinpoint exactly where and what the issue could be.

Stench of Sewer Gas
Sewer lines are out of sight and out of mind, for the most part. . Sewer pipes are intended to be impenetrable, so if you can smell sewer gas, that is a major pipe damage problem and it needs to be dealt with immediately. In most cases, these foul odors are brought about by issues with a sewer line. If the scent of rotten eggs or sewage starts leaking out of your drains or fixtures, call a plumber immediately.

Lush, Green Grass
Having a beautiful green yard is a good thing, but having just one area of green grass is quite another. If your lawn develops an unusually lush, green area of grass, there is likely a pipe leaking underground. If the leak is severe, the lawn may also be wet or boggy in the area. Waste acts as an underground fertilizer, which causes the grass to grow at an accelerated rate. If you have ruled out overwatering or a leaking sprinkler system, the next step is to have the sewer line inspected for leaks.

Mold Growth
Like sewer gas stench, mold also brings a distinct and unpleasant smell to your home. Mold growth can affect any part of the home. If a drain pipe breaks, mold may develop. The broken pipe will allow moisture to leak behind the walls, causing hidden mold damage that may cost thousands of dollars to fix. Mold issues should never be ignored.

Unexplainable Increase in the Water Bill
If there has been a significant increase in the latest water bill for no apparent reason, a leak in your sewer pipe could be the one to blame. You will want to find out what the problem is immediately by calling a professional plumber.

Pipe Corrosion
Inspect your pipes regularly for indications of rust and corrosion. If you have a professional take care of it early enough, you can have the pipes replaced or repaired before they become a pressing issue.

Gurgling Noises
When a toilet makes a gurgling noise with each flush, a broken sewer line may be the cause. In some cases, a toilet will gurgle even though it hasn’t recently been flushed. The gurgling noises happen when air is trapped and then released. Gurgling toilets can be an indication that the sewer line is full of water because of a blockage.

Structural Water Damage
If you see any signs of structural damage, you need this issue examined immediately to avoid further expensive repairs. When a pipe breaks, the water can leak under the structure of your home. If a sewer or drain line leak goes untreated for an extended time, it may cause foundation cracks and sinkholes in the yard. Since concrete absorbs water, cracks can form. This is potentially very dangerous for all of those who are inside the building.

Sinking Driveways and Pavers
If you have a walkway, driveway, or patio that’s made of concrete pavers, keep an eye on it. When pavers start to sink, it could be due to sewer line problems. The sinking pavers will look lower than those around them, and they will keep sinking because of the sewage-saturated ground.

Preventive Maintenance Can Protect Your Sewer Lines
Preventive maintenance and good habits go a long way when it comes to protecting plumbing systems. There are four easy ways to help prevent clogs and damage to your sewer line.
Be Careful About What You Flush
The only thing that should ever be flushed down a toilet is human waste and toilet paper. Feminine hygiene products, diapers, wipes, and other paper items (such as paper towels) can easily clog pipes and lead to serious plumbing problems.

Protect Your Drains
Grease, oil, hair and other items that are rinsed down drains can build up over time and weaken pipes. Excessive food waste washed down kitchen drains can also contribute to sewer main drain clogs. Harsh chemicals and drain cleaners can weaken pipes and drains and should be avoided.

Prevent Root Damage

Tree roots can cause significant damage to your sewage system without you realizing something is terribly wrong. It is important to act quickly when tree roots penetrate into your plumbing, though preventing root issues is generally the most cost-effective course of action. This will help to minimize potential repair costs and protect your plumbing.
After a tree root gets into your pipes, it blocks anything that comes its way. As the blockage becomes impassable, your pipes can burst and leave you with an expensive mess. A sewer drain repair can be quite costly, and it is never a convenient proposition. Before you end up with no plumbing, take steps to protect your pipes from tree roots.

Prevent Excavation Damage
Sewer lines are frequently damaged when heavy equipment is driven on top of them or excavation work is done incorrectly. It is important to have underground utilities clearly marked before any work involving heavy equipment or excavation is done. In many areas, it is a requirement to have underground utilities marked before home improvement or landscaping projects begin.

Where is the Main Water Shut Off Valve Located?
Check inside your house first. If your home has a basement or crawlspace, the shut off valve is probably located on a wall near the front of your house. If your home is built on a slab, check in the garage or near the water heater for the shut off valve.
Next, check outside your house. If the water main shut off valve is located outside, it will be buried underground near the street. Look for a round or rectangular metal cover flush with the grass or sidewalk. It might be labeled “water meter” to help you identify it. Under this cover is the water shut off valve.
WARNING: Do NOT tamper with the city shut-off side or the meter itself. It is illegal to tamper with, obstruct access to, or remove a water meter. Be very careful, and if you have any doubts at all, call your local plumber or utility company.
If you are still unable to locate your valve, your trusted local plumber or utility company should be able to tell you where it is. Also, if you still have your property inspection report, you should be able to find the area of the document that shows you where your main water shutoff valve is located.

Know When to Give Best Plumbing a Call
The best way to avoid calling an emergency plumbing service is to take good care of your plumbing system. Unfortunately, a lot of homeowners don’t know enough about their plumbing system to make sure it stays in good shape. The simplest way to make sure you are keeping up with plumbing maintenance is to have a plumber take a look at your home every once in a while.
Spotting minor problems before they become major ones is the best way to keep your water on and save money. When a minor leak becomes a major one, you might end up having to call an emergency plumbing service rather than a regular plumber. Plus, you could end up with severe water damage in your home.
You should also be cautious about what you’re putting down drains, how you are treating fixtures and more. There are a lot of little decisions you can make to ease some of the burden on your plumbing system and help it stay in good condition for longer.
If you need help with your garbage disposal, sinks, or any other plumbing issue, call Best Plumbing Services at 951-788-1321 for professional drain cleaning methods. Located in Riverside, California we are family owned and operated with over 10 years of experience. We take pride in our service and expect each job to be completed as if it were our own home or business. Our Licensed Plumbers and Technicians will be professional, clean and polite.