What Causes a Main Sewer Line To Clog?

When you turn on the faucet, flush the toilet, or take a shower, you probably don’t think about where all of your home’s plumbing is connected. The drain lines and pipes in your home connect to the main sewer pipes outside your home. The main sewer line takes a beating from regular use, and various factors might progressively reduce its effectiveness, cause buildup, and ultimately leads to costly repairs.

You may be unaware, but the sewage line connecting your house to the main sewer line in the street is the homeowner’s responsibility. This implies that if something goes wrong, it’s critical for homeowners to contact a master plumber to provide drain cleaning solutions for their plumbing problem, especially if the main drain is clogged. A main drain clog is among the worst clogged drains, as it will back up every other drain in the home until the drain clog is cleared, rendering your sewer system inoperable.

Warning Signs of a Main Sewer Line Clog

If your main sewer line is completely blocked, it will be very evident and require emergency plumbing assistance to remove the sewer clogs. However, if you’re watchful, you may be able to identify warning signs early before the issue gets out of hand.

Several warning signs are prevalent when a main sewer line issue is developing:

  1. Drains That Back up Frequently

Backed-up drains are always a red flag, especially if it occurs on the lower floors of your property. Pouring drain cleaners into the plughole and hoping for the best might do more harm than good, especially if the drain cleaner is excessively abrasive. Instead, call Smedley Plumbing, and we’ll come out and get your drains back up and running.

  1. Plumbing Appliance Blockages

If you consistently have multiple blockages in plumbing appliances, it indicates that you have an issue with the main sewer line rather than a single pipe.

  1. Malfunctions in Plumbing and Toilets That Gurgle

If you notice that your plumbing fixtures are not working correctly, it might indicate a failure in your main sewer line. Look for water rising up out of your drains and unusual gurgling noises coming from the toilets after flushing. If you hear gurgling sounds in your kitchen sink when your washing machine is draining (or whatever drain is connected to that drain line in your home’s plumbing system), then you can be sure that something is causing the water flow to be interrupted.

  1. Changes in the Surface of Your Lawn

Main sewage lines typically travel from your home and beneath your lawn before connecting to the street. Looking closely at your grass, you can notice a depression or a sinkhole where a pipe has cracked or ruptured. If the weather has been unusually dry, you may also see damp spots where sewage drains from a pipe beneath the ground. If you don’t observe one of these symptoms, it doesn’t indicate there isn’t an issue, and if you do, you should consider calling a plumbing service to inspect what’s going on.

What is the Most Common Causes of Clogged Sewer Lines?

Various culprits can cause your main sewer line to become clogged.  The most common causes are listed below.

  1. Broken Pipes

Shifting soil caused by increased foot traffic or heavy construction equipment above the pipe can seriously harm the main sewage pipe. Corrosion of sewage pipes can potentially cause leaks or collapse. When pipes break, they become misaligned and enable dirt to enter, which can quickly result in a complete blockage of the sewer line.

  1. Debris

Over time, debris can accumulate in the main sewer line. This debris is often made of various materials, such as grease, soap scum, toilet paper, and foreign materials, which collect and clog the main sewer line.

  1. Grease

Another common cause of main sewer line issues is grease.  Grease can rapidly cause a blockage. Many people think running hot water down the drain will wash away the grease; however, this is not the case. As it cools, grease will line the pipe and become congealed and hardened.

  1. Tree roots

You don’t have to have a tree planted near your main sewer line for it to cause a root problem. Tree roots may grow many meters long and seek moisture and water. This can result in roots invading and rupturing mainline sewers and causing a complete blockage. When tree roots begin to develop, they seek water supply.

  1. Sagging Main Sewage Lines

Over time, sewage lines begin to sag due to aging or shifting soil, allowing wastewater to gather in pools in the lower sections. This stops water from draining, resulting in a clogged pipe.

  1. Flushing Foreign Items Down the Toilet

Flushing objects other than toilet paper or human waste down the toilet is the most common cause of a main sewage line blockage. Therefore, understanding what you can and cannot flush down the toilet is critical. Paper towels are a no-no, along with diapers, and flushable wipes are not so flushable. These items can lead to a sewer line blockage, causing a buildup in the main drain pipe, leading to a backup from the sewer drain; sewage can back up into your bathtub drain, shower drain, floor drain, and other drains in the home.

  1. Grease Pouring Down the Drain

You should never pour excess grease, oils, or fats down the drain. When they harden, they can produce severe pipe obstructions that are difficult to repair, often requiring jetting from a hydro jetter, or another form of a high-pressure auger.

Solutions for Main Sewer Line Clogs

If your main sewer line is just beginning to show signs of an issue or you have a full-fledged emergency, Smedley plumbing has the solution. Whether it’s a newer or older home, our master plumbers will have had experience with the plumbing systems found in the Blue Springs and surrounding areas. The actions we take to resolve the issue will depend on what is causing your clog and the severity of the issue. Below are some of the actions we may take to resolve your problem.

  • Running cameras down into the sewage lines for diagnostics.
  • Rodding the sewer line
  • Cleaning the main sewer line via the cleanout
  • Repairing the main sewer line
  • Outdoor sewage repair that does not require digging up the ground
  • Sewer line repair or sewer line replacement

Here are some tips to ensure your main sewer line is in good working order:

You can’t always prevent every plumbing emergency, but there are some DIY things you can do to maintain water flow and have a healthy septic tank.

  • Never pour grease, coffee grounds, or anything that may harden, causing a blockage, down the drain. Instead, pour these items into a container while it’s still warm, and after it hardens, you can properly dispose of the waste.
  • Be sure to clean pop-up stoppers and strainers regularly so they maintain their seal.
  • Make sure that whatever you flush down your toilet is flushable. Although some products are classified as safe to flush, like flushable wipes, they may cause a blockage if they do not break down. It is essential to avoid flushing heavy paper products.
  • Always run the cold water when using the garbage disposal to ensure any remaining food particles are washed down the drain. Better yet, dispose of food items in the trash or compost bin to avoid this issue.

A plunger is always a good thing to have on hand for a drain clog, but if you cannot clear the drain on your own, just Call Smedley!