Common Sewer Line Problems and Signs That You Must Know

Sewer Line Problems

Sewer Line Problems

Sewer lines in your home remain out of sight, but they are important in maintaining proper plumbing and hygiene at home. As they remain out of sight, we often overlook their necessity and don’t focus on maintaining it. Naturally, you will see a few common sewer line problems that will add to your suffering and frustration. 

Hence, you must know the reasons for sewer line problems, such as tree roots, inaccurate garbage disposal and flushable toilet wipes. Also, you can identify the issues as you know the signs of sewer line problems. 

Common signs of problematic sewer lines include bad odour, slow-draining pipes and insect and pest infestation in your home. Read more

5 Common Sewer Line Problems 

According to industry standards, sewer lines should last for 50 to 100 years. However, the pipes may get clogged or damaged due to tree roots, grease, fats and disposal accumulation. 

Tree Roots

Tree roots near the sewer lines are one of the primary culprits to damage these plumbing pipes. As trees grow, their roots naturally seek out sources of moisture. It includes the sewer pipes underneath your property, as trees find it the easiest way to water.  

Thus, tree roots infiltrate the pipes through small cracks or loose joints. This way, they can cause severe blockages and even lead to pipe damage. The larger the tree root, the more severe the sewer line problem. 

Grease and Fats

Most homeowners forget to dispose of cooking grease and fats safely. So, grease and fats will go down the drain to cause sewer line issues. 

Over time, these substances can accumulate and solidify inside the pipes. So, it will restrict the flow and eventually cause blockages. You need to regularly dispose of grease and fats in a sealed container and trash to prevent this problem.

Inappropriate Garbage Disposal 

Most of us will flush items down the toilet meant to be disposed of outside the sewer system. It can also result in clogs and damage to the sewer line. 

Inaccurate garbage disposal includes diapers, sanitary napkins, paper towels, and non-biodegradable materials. As they go down the toilet or bathroom plumbing pipe, they collect on the sewer line to block it. Click here to learn, How to fix a leaky sink drain pipe.

Damaged and Old Sewer Pipes

The ageing infrastructure of sewer pipes can lead to various issues, too. Over time, pipes can deteriorate, crack, or collapse due to shifting soil, ground movement, or corrosion. When the pipes are damaged, it can cause backups, leaks, and even structural damage to your property. 

Flushable Wipes

Flushable wipes, these days, are popular and convenient alternatives to toilet paper. Sadly, they are not as flushable as advertised. These wipes do not break down easily, even though they are biodegradable. 

Hence, the flushable wipes can accumulate in the sewer line, causing blockages. You should dispose of them in trash bins to prevent clogging the sewer lines. 

Top Signs of Problematic and Clogged Sewer Line 

When your sewer line faces any problem, such as clogs or damage, it will show few signs. Once you know these sewer line problem signs, you can identify the damage to fix it. 

Odor Coming from the Sewer Line

A foul odour is one of the most noticeable signs of a sewer line problem. You will feel a bad smell emanating from drains or the surrounding area. 

The odour mainly comes from the accumulation of waste and sewage gases due to blockages. If you detect persistent sewage smells inside the home, it’s crucial to investigate the issue promptly. Or else the problem may soon deteriorate further. 

Slow Draining Pipes 

Are your sinks, toilets, or showers draining slowly? If so, it could indicate a clog or obstruction in the sewer line. Multiple slow drains throughout your home clearly indicate a larger problem within the sewer system. 

Hence, you must address the slow-draining pipes promptly. It is essential to prevent more severe backups and damage.

Clogs and Water Backup

When wastewater cannot flow through the sewer line, it can cause water backups in sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and floor drains. It happens due to a blockage or damage in the sewer line. You may notice gurgling sounds or water coming up from drains. 

These signs suggest a more severe obstruction that requires immediate attention to prevent further damage.

Insect and Pest Infestation

Did you notice a sudden influx of insects and pests in your home? It may be particularly in the basement or near drains. 

If so, it signals a sewer line problem. Insects and rodents are attracted to the food source provided within the sewer line. They also love the moist area near the damaged line. So, when the infestation persists despite your efforts to control it, you must investigate the possibility of a broken sewer pipe.

Soggy Lawn

At times, you may see that the lawn areas are consistently soggy. Or else they may have an unusual concentration of lush green grass. Although you may not believe it, it could be due to a sewer line issue. 

A damaged sewer line can leak wastewater into the surrounding soil. It will result in excessive moisture that promotes grass and vegetation growth. You should monitor your lawn for signs to identify potential sewer line problems early on.


As a homeowner, you must know about common sewer line problems. Plus, you should recognize the signs of a clogged or damaged sewer line. It can save you from expensive repairs and potential health hazards due to sewer lines. Moreover, you should maintain the sewer line properly to avoid these issues for a safe and healthy home environment.

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