Slow Draining Sinks and Showers are a Good Indication
These may be the three words homeowners dread the most and for good reason. Sewer line repair can be costly and time-consuming, requiring the assistance of a professional plumber. In a municipal sewage system, homeowners are responsible for the line running from the home to the street; the city almost always maintains the line running down the length of the street. (If you are an HOA member, there is a chance that the association will pay for repairs, so be sure to check your bylaws.)
As a plumbing contractor can tell you, there are several common causes of sewer line snafus. For one thing, tree roots can grow into pipes, entirely clogging the line over time. Secondly, gunk that gets tossed down the drain can form a gelatinous mass that prevents sewage flow. Finally, older pipes made of clay or steel may simply break. (Today, plumbing contractors in NW Oregon use ABS pipes for most new home construction, but yesterday’s builders didn’t have this material at their disposal.)
Most homeowners must deal with sewer line repair at least once. As with many home maintenance tasks, early detection of problems can facilitate sewer line repair. To catch problems early on, check out the following list of signs that your sewer line may require maintenance from a plumbing contractor.
Changing Water Levels in the Toilet Bowl
If your home’s sewage lines are clogged, the water level in your toilet may shift unpredictably. One morning, it will be at its normal level, while in the evening it may be too full or almost empty. If you notice changing water levels in your toilet, call in a professional plumber to conduct a diagnostic checkup of your sewage system.
Slow-Draining Sinks, Tubs, and Showers
Backed-up showers, slow-draining tubs, and pools of water around basement drains: These are all indications that you may have a serious plumbing problem. Having seen advertisements boasting nearly immediate drain-clearing results, homeowners are often tempted to use chemical de-clogging solutions. While these products are fairly safe to use on newer plumbing systems, older pipes may be eaten away by these harsh chemicals. (Environmentalists also decry these products because they send potent chemicals into local watersheds.)
Rather than turning to these temporary solutions (which might make the situation worse) contact a professional plumber. A plumbing contractor will be able to give you a complete assessment of your home’s sewer system.
Increase in Rodent and Pest Populations
Rats, mice, and insects are attracted to broken sewer lines, so if you start seeing more rodents and pests around your home, you may need to arrange for sewer line repair.
Strange Smells and Sounds
Sewage stinks. If you notice a new stench or hear strange draining noises, you may have a sewer line problem. An oddly gurgling toilet, or a smelly sinkhole that appears in your yard – are clear signs that you probably need sewer line repair.
Water Stains around Basement Drains
Take a look at your basement drains; do you see rings of water stains around them? If so, it’s time to call a professional plumber to check the health of your sewer line.
Water Damage around the Foundation
Leaking sewer lines can cause moisture to leak through your home’s walls or into the foundation. You may notice moisture in basement walls, cracking around the foundation, or other signs of water damage. All of these phenomena are precursors of serious damage, so be sure to contact a plumbing contractor if you find them in your home.
Sometimes, a sewer line problem can be fixed with a patch; a plumbing contractor will simply cut out the broken area and install a new section of sewer pipe. However, in older homes, this approach is temporary. If one section of pipe has sprung a leak, chances are the rest of your contemporary sewage draining system is also poised to break.
To accurately assess the status of a sewer line, a plumbing contractor may run a remote camera through your system; this technique shows what condition the pipes are in and where problems might lay. This technique also provides location and depth readings for you as well, so it’s a great tool for diagnosing and pricing out repairs. Lastly, if you have a professional plumber use a camera on your system, please make sure to ask them for a DVD of the camera work for your records.
For help with your sewer line troubles, give 3 Mountains Plumbing a call today!