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Common Sewer Line Problems and Their Solutions

October 03, 2023

Your sewer line carries water and solid waste away from toilets, sinks, and bathtubs, making it one of the most important components of your plumbing system. Unfortunately, clogs, corroded pipes, tree roots, and other common problems can cause things to back up, creating a real mess for homeowners in San Antonio and surrounding areas. If you notice any of these problems, it's important to fix them immediately:

  • Clogs and blockages
  • Tree root infiltration
  • Sewer line corrosion
  • Collapsed sewer line
  • Cracked or broken pipes

While you wait for one of our experienced technicians to arrive, learn more about how to fix a clogged sewer line, address tree root infiltration, and other common sewer line problems.

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Clogs and Blockages

When the line is clogged, water and solid waste can't get from your home to the main sewer under the street. If you notice multiple drains backing up, there's a good bet you have a clog or blockage. You may also see sewage collecting around the floor drain in your basement or observe water backing up into the shower or bathtub when someone flushes the toilet.

How to Fix: Drain Snake or Hydro Jet

One way to fix a clogged sewer line is to use a drain snake to clear the blockage. To do this, loosen the drain cleanout cap and insert the drain snake into the pipe. Once the clog is clear, replace the drain cleanout cap. Another option is having a plumber use a hydrojet to remove the blockage. This tool sends highly pressurized water down the pipe, addressing the clog at its source.

Tree Root Infiltration

A tree's roots are constantly looking for water, oxygen, and nutrients. If roots can't get deeper, they may grow outward, encroaching on your local sewer system. That's bad news for homeowners, as tree root infiltration is one of the most common causes of sewer line problems.

How to Fix: Hydrojetting or Possible Pipe Replacement

Hydrojetting breaks up small tree roots, clearing clogs from your sewer line. If you have large tree roots in the sewer line, you may need to replace the entire pipe instead of trying to clear the clog. This is because roots can cause sewer pipes to crack.

Sewer Line Corrosion

Once you know how to unclog a main sewer line, you must know what to do about corroded pipes. If you have copper pipes, look for pitting erosion, which occurs when bacteria, acidic soil, and other materials cause tiny holes to form. These holes allow water and waste to leak from your sewer line, causing many problems. Erosion occurs when you put corrosive liquids into your public system.

How to Fix: Pipe Lining or Replacement

Pipe lining allows you to restore a sewer pipe to its former glory, preventing additional leaks. In some cases, it's necessary to replace the pipe completely. You may need a replacement if you're dealing with severe corrosion.

Collapsed Sewer Line

A collapsed sewer line is one of the biggest plumbing problems you can have. In some cases, a collapse occurs due to the infiltration of tree roots into the sewer system, which weakens the walls of each pipe. If you live in an older home, the sewer line may collapse simply due to its age. It's also possible for a sewer line to collapse if it wasn't installed correctly in the first place.

How to Fix: Pipe Bursting or Pipe Lining (Trenchless)

Pipe bursting is a method used to replace underground pipes. One of its benefits is that it's less invasive than digging a trench. Bursting also replaces worn-out pipes with HDPE pipe, which is flexible and resistant to corrosion. HDPE also lasts longer than other materials. Trenchless pipe lining is another option. If you choose this method, a plumber will add a lining to the damaged pipe, solving the problem without digging up your whole yard.

Cracked or Broken Pipes

Cracked and broken pipes allow water and waste to leak from your sewer line, so it's important to address these problems immediately. Corrosion, extreme temperatures, tree root intrusion, and poor maintenance are some of the most common causes of cracks.

How to Fix: Pipe Patching or Relining

If you have a small crack, fixing it with a patch may be possible. To repair this, your plumber will use an inflatable tool to insert the patch and fill the crack. As noted previously, relining is a noninvasive method of repairing damaged pipes.

Is your sewer line giving you problems?

Jon Wayne Service Company has over 200 trucks on the road, ensuring fast response times for our valued customers. Contact us today to schedule a sewer line inspection.

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