9 Signs You Need Sewer Line Repair

If you have a septic tank, the chances are good that you may need sewer line repair at some point in time. But how do you know when that time has come? Perhaps you’ve recently had a backup in your home, noticed some discoloration of the water in your toilet bowl, or even had foul sewer smells indoors but can’t seem to figure out why. These are some signs that there may be a problem with your sewer line.

Sewer lines need to be maintained and repaired periodically to avoid these problems from happening. Here are nine signs that might indicate it’s time for a sewer line repair or replacement. 

Signs You Need Sewer Line Repair

1. Bad Smells Emanating From Toilets, Drains and Elsewhere

You likely have a sewer line problem if you notice bad smells coming from your drains, toilets, rooms, or yard. These smells are caused by the backup of wastewater and can be quite noxious. Kellie Plumbing notes that they’re often an indication of a clog, leak, or break in your sewer line. If left untreated, a sewage leak or clog can cause extensive damage to your home and health. 

If you experience any of these signs, call a professional immediately for sewer line repair. Sewer smells can contain dangerous toxins and indicate a serious problem, such as an infestation of insects or rodents. Don’t ignore that seemingly harmless smell. Make sure to keep your drains and toilets clear of any debris that may cause a clog or backup in the future, such as hair and rags.

2. Wet, Soft Spots on Your Lawn, Garden, and Other Outdoor Areas

If you notice that your lawn, garden or other outdoor areas near the house are wet or have soft spots that you can sink into with just a bit of pressure, then there’s probably an issue with your sewer line. This is one of the most common signs that something could be wrong. This is often caused by a sewage backup, which means that the line is either clogged or cracked.

A sewage backup can cause serious damage in your yard or garden areas as well as the actual line itself. You may also notice water pooling near the foundation of your home. This can be caused by a crack in the pipe or even tree roots growing into and blocking the line. This already means that the damage is fairly extensive, and you’re going to need a professional plumber to come out and look at it. 

3. Regular Water Drainage Problems in Your Sinks and Toilets

You may also be experiencing regular water drainage problems in your sinks and toilets. This is another common sign that you need sewer line repair. If the sewage system can’t handle the wastewater, it will back up into your home through any opening it can find, including drains, toilets, and even floor drains. If you’re seeing this issue regularly, it’s time to call a plumber.

Drainage problems can cause significant water damage to your home when the sewer system backs up. You don’t want to deal with raw sewage coming from your toilet, so call a plumber if you see any of these signs. They can help diagnose the issue and fix it before it becomes a bigger problem, saving you the stress of dealing with expensive repairs. 

4. Unusual Increase of Rats or Other Pests

If you have noticed an unusual increase of rats or other pests near your home, it could be a sign that there is something wrong with your sewer line. These pests are often drawn to places where they can find food and water, and if your sewer line is leaking, you will likely see an increase in their numbers.

Another place to look for signs of problems with your sewer line is under the manhole covers in front of your property. These are places where rats will often congregate, so if you see an increase in their numbers, it could signify a bigger problem. If you notice any unusual odors or black spots on top of them, it could indicate sewage is leaking out and needs immediate repair. 

5. Low Water Pressure

If your water pressure suddenly drops, it’s usually because something in the line is impeding or slowing down the flow of water. This will commonly be tree roots, but other things like grease buildup can also cause low-pressure problems. If you’re experiencing low water pressure and are unsure if it’s just due to a temporary change in water pressure, you can check to see if your toilet is still flushing properly. 

If it’s not, or the flow of water in the pipes has slowed down significantly, this could be a sign that there are clogs somewhere along its path through your home. Make sure to check the water pressure when someone else in your home is using their faucet or showerhead because they may be just using more water than usual due to taking a long shower or doing dishes. 

6. Higher Utility Bills

One of the most tell-tale signs that you need sewer line repair is when your monthly utility bills start creeping up, but you can’t seem to figure out why. Your water and electric usage might be exactly the same as it always has been, but your bill is suddenly much higher for no apparent reason. This could be a sign that the line is leaking, and it’s time for a professional sewer inspection to check things out.

7. Standing Septic Water in Your Home – Especially in the Basement

Your sewer line is likely backed up if you have water standing in your home, especially in the basement. The backup will cause the water to rise and potentially flood your home. Address this issue as soon as possible to avoid extensive damage. If you don’t use your basement regularly, you may not notice the water right away. Watch out for early signs like new smells or odors such as strong, musty smells.

8. Loud Gurgling or Bubbling Noises Emanating from the Pipes

If you hear strange noises coming from your drains, it could signify that sewage and water are backing up into the drains. These sounds include bubbly, gurgling noises that clearly indicate something is wrong. If you ignore the problem, it will only get worse over time. You’re likely to hear these sounds more prominently when your drains work extra hard, such as during a storm or flushing toilets.

9. Cracks in Your Foundation, Often in the Basement

If you have cracks in your foundation or basement, this could signify that there is something wrong with the sewer line. A crack may not always mean pipe damage, but it’s best to get it checked out just in case. Cracks may start small, but they can grow over time, leading to much bigger and more expensive problems in the future. Get a professional plumber to inspect the cracks and diagnose the issue.  

Practice Preventative Maintenance

To prevent the need for expensive sewer line repairs or replacement, homeowners should perform regular preventative maintenance. This can mean hiring a professional plumber to inspect the lines every few years to make sure they’re not cracked or damaged in any other way. However, it’s important to note that this does not guarantee there will be no problems down the road.

Practice good drainage care to keep your sewer line healthy and free from blockages. This means avoiding anything that could block your drains into your toilet or sinks, regularly cleaning your drains with hot water, not pouring chemicals like bleach that can have a corrosive effect on pipes over time, and using a strainer in your sink to catch any food scraps or other debris. 

A little prevention goes a long way when it comes to your pipes, to make sure you are doing everything you can now to avoid problems down the road.

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