The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” isn’t very good advice when it comes to your household plumbing. After all, hidden leaks not only have the potential to run up your water bill and cause significant property damage; they can also lead to dangerous health problems when left unrepaired. For all these reasons, it’s good to identify and repair leaks as quickly as possible, especially when it comes to sewer pipes.
Sinks, tubs, and toilets that are continually backing up and leaking dirty sewer water onto your floors may be due to more than just a clogged sewer pipe. The problem could be caused by a cracked drain pipe in your home or yard – after all, a broken sewer line gives off a number of telltale signs. When you know what to look for, you can find your sewer line problem quickly and have it repaired.
8 Broken Sewer Line Symptoms
1. An Odor of Sewer Gas
While it can be easy to ignore or explain away a strange smell coming from your drains, these odors are often the clearest sign that you could have a cracked drain pipe. You should never get an odor from your drains when your household plumbing is in proper working order. If you do, you need to inspect further to find the cause of why toxic sewer gas is making its way into your home.
2. Slow Drains
A slow drain can be due to a blockage in the pipes that service a particular sink, toilet, shower, or tub. When you have more than one plumbing fixture that drains slowly, it could be due to a broken sewer line that has separated due to the ground settling around your Sacramento County home or business. On the other hand, it could be because tree roots have infiltrated the sewer line and are obstructing the flow of the pipe.
3. Clogs and Backups
Clogs and backups that are isolated to one area of your home and do not affect the entire system may be due to a clog in the pipe that services that fixture. If more than one drain is clogging and spilling sewage onto your floors, however, you could be experiencing clear broken sewer line symptoms. If your efforts to unclog your drains are not effective, a professional will be required to inspect your sewer lines and determine the best route to take to get your sewer lines flowing freely.
4. Lush, Green Lawn Area
Odd as it may sound, lush spots in your yard that are green, vibrant, and thriving while everything around them turns brown are hard-to-miss signs of a collapsed sewer line. The water and nutrients from your sewer line act as excellent fertilizers, but this method of irrigation is not recommended long-term. Over time, toxins can build up in the soil and leech to the surface, especially if the soil is disturbed.
5. Soggy Lawn
Along with greening, a broken sewer line can make your lawn soggy and foul-smelling. This can cause a sinkhole to form around the break and make this area of your yard unusable until the cracked sewer pipe repair can be completed. The swampy conditions will also attract insects and rodents that may then find their way into your home or nearby businesses, potentially spreading both filth and disease.
6. Insect and Rodent Infestation
On that note, an unusual increase in insect and rodent activity can be a sign that you have a broken sewer line. Rodents make their homes in sewers and can squeeze through the smallest cracks to find their way into your home. The same can be said for insects that can wriggle through a cracked drain pipe and breed in the stagnant water, allowing them to multiply rapidly. Both rodents and insects can cause health issues and need to be dealt with along with the sewer line breakage itself.
7. Mold & Mildew
Wet spots on your home's ceilings, walls, or floors can all be signs of a collapsed sewer line or broken water pipe. If left unchecked, water infiltration from a sewer or water line can cause mold and mildew to spread rapidly. The spores from these fungi can cause severe allergic reactions, and their ability to eat through organic building materials over time can cause damage to your home's interior, exterior, or foundation.
8. Broken Slabs and Wall Cracks
Buildings will often develop cracks in the concrete slab and supporting walls as they settle and the ground shifts beneath them. However, if your home is developing new cracks it may be because you have a broken sewer line that is washing away the soil supporting the foundation. If the crack is caused by a leak, the situation is unlikely to improve over time. More water will continue to wash away the surrounding soil until the foundation can no longer support the weight of the structure above. In a worst-case scenario, the house itself may collapse. A thorough inspection can determine if you have a sewer line breakage or another issue that is causing your home or business to develop cracks.
So You’ve Got a Broken Sewer Pipe. Now What?
If you've experienced any of these problems with the sewer system of your home and business, you need professional help. The occasional clog can happen, but clogs that affect all of your drains can be due to a broken sewer line and it will take a professional to repair or replace it. Inspection of your sewer line with closed-circuit TV (CCTV) can determine the location of the break and whether it can be repaired or if you need the entire line replaced.
At Express Sewer & Drain, we specialize in trenchless sewer technology and have the tools necessary to diagnose your problem and get it fixed quickly. Many of our jobs are finished in a day and unlike traditional methods of cracked sewer pipe repair and replacement, we can do the job and leave your lawn, landscaping, driveway, and sidewalks in place. Contact us today and get your pipes flowing freely again.