Residential plumbing involves more than just the pipes, valves, appliances, and fixtures within the residence itself. Your home’s plumbing system depends on consistent performance from the sewer line that attaches this system to the municipal water supply. Unfortunately, this component can break, leak, or become clogged.
The more you understand about sewer line symptoms and problems, the more effectively you can seek the necessary professional expertise and maintenance to keep them to a minimum. Check out the answers to these frequently asked sewer line questions.
What Common Trouble Signs Indicate a Sewer Line Issue?
The main sewer line that extends to your home runs beneath your yard as a single pipe before branching off into smaller subsidiary pipes. A leak in the main line may therefore manifest itself as unusually lush (but spotty) grass growth, strange odors in your yard, or signs of water damage to your foundation.
Sluggish water flow may indicate a blockage somewhere in the sewer line, while low water pressure or the exterior symptoms noted above may point toward leakage due to pipe damage. Gurgling toilets often alert homeowners to sewer line malfunctions.
Pay attention to how much of your home displays plumbing issues. If you only experience trouble with the appliances or fixtures in one part of the home, the problem may afflict only the subsidiary line serving those devices. If the problem seems to include every plumbing appliance, you probably have a main sewer line failure.
Why Do Sewer Lines Clog, Break, and Leak?
Sewer lines tend to clog when people flush non-biodegradable items such as paper towels or feminine hygiene products down their toilets. These items can get caught and accumulate within the pipe instead of dissolving or washing away, eventually creating a partial or total blockage.
Tree roots can also invade sewer lines, especially in spring months when trees resume their growth cycles. The roots can grow right through the outer walls of the pipe, simultaneously breaking and clogging the pipe. Construction or renovation errors can sometimes crack or break sewer lines as well.
How Do Different Materials Affect Sewer Line Strength?
Older sewer lines made of clay or wood fiber can suffer damage from tree roots more easily than newer or stronger materials. If you have a vintage home, try to find out what kind of material went into your sewer line construction. You may want to replace older, more fragile lines before they have a chance to break.
Common modern-day sewer lines feature materials such as PVC, ABS plastic, and cast iron. PVC and ABS boast cost effectiveness, ease of installation, and smooth surfaces that resist both clogs and tree roots. However, these materials can eventually develop stress cracks. They may also melt under extreme heat.
Cast-iron sewer lines offer tremendous strength and durability. These rugged pipes can take great pressure, while their non-flammable nature and high melting point help them withstand fires. They cost and weigh more than plastic pipes, but you might decide that the long-term performance makes them worthwhile.
How Do Professional Plumbers Fix Sewer Line Blockages and Leaks?
Professional plumbers can inspect sewer lines using fiber optic technology. Your plumbing technician will snake a length of fiber optic cable equipped with an illuminated camera down into the sewer line. An above-ground video monitor reveals any cracks, breaks, or blockages that might require service.
A blocked sewer line may respond to mechanical pressure from a tool called an auger. The service technicians feed this hefty device from the back of their truck directly into the line. High-pressure water may also dislodge a stubborn clog. In some cases, special foams can dissolve tree roots that have infiltrated pipes.
The only solution to a broken sewer line involves replacement. The technicians will dig up the old line, replace it with a new one, and cover the new line back up. Scheduling annual inspections, and fixing problems early, can help you avoid this extreme measure.
Whether your plumbing problem lurks within your home or affects your outdoor sewer line, you can get the quick, efficient service you need from Two Men and a Snake, Inc. Contact us today to tell us about your situation.