Your home’s plumbing system brings clean, fresh water into the house and then carries out used water through a sewer line. When a sewer line breaks, however, this flow comes to a screeching halt. Early detection can help manage a broken sewer line, but prevention remains the best way to keep your drains clear, clean, and flowing properly.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a clogged drain and a broken sewage pipe. Symptoms of both a broken pipe and clogged drain include a foul odor coming from one or more drains and backed-up water in sinks, toilets, and tubs. If you have more than one drain that is backing up, then you may have a broken sewer pipe.
Four Ways to Handle a Broken Sewage Pipe
There are a few telltale signs of a broken sewer pipe. If you:
- smell sewer gas
- are experiencing suddenly low water pressure
- notice damp spots in and around your home
- have persistent clogging and slow drains
Then you may have broken sewer pipes in your home. If you have a damaged sewer line, it could be for a multitude of reasons. The most common is that you had a clogged pipe that never cleared out, which can result in pipe bursting. However, a sewer line inspection can help determine if environmental factors (such as a tree root growing into your pipes) or old, rusted pipes are the cause of a cracked sewer pipe.
If you have a broken sewage pipe, there are a few things you should do to tackle the problem.
1: Try to Unclog the Drain
A sewer line can become clogged for a variety of reasons, but the usual culprits are large wads of toilet paper, kitchen grease, hair, and soap scum. This accumulation of gunk can sometimes be eliminated with a plunger or plumber's snake, even if the clog affects more than one drain in your home or business. In some cases, small clogs can be easily cleared with minimal difficulty. If your efforts to unclog a drain fail, however, it’s best to call a professional immediately. The continued improper use of a plumber’s snake or drain chemicals could actually make the damage to your pipe worse.
2. Find the Pipe
Knowing the location of your sewer line will help you deal with clogged or broken sewer lines in your home or business. If you have access to either the crawl space under your home or the basement, the sewer pipe is easily located. In homes built upon slab foundations, the pipe can be a little more difficult to find. Identifying the location of your home or business’s sewer pipe is a vital first step in evaluating the problem (and helping a professional plumber know where to look).
One indication of a broken pipe is a soggy, smelly, bug-infested area of your yard; drains that cannot be cleared with a plunger or snake are another. A professional, with the proper equipment, can peer into your sewer line with closed circuit TV and determine the exact location and extent of the breakage. With this information, they will know if you need to repair a section of the piping or if a full replacement will be necessary.
3. Evaluate the Damage
With the help of a professional plumber, you can get a good assessment of the damage to your sewer pipe. In addition to backed-up clogs, there are a number of ways that sewer lines can become cracked or broken.
Older pipes in Sacramento homes and businesses may be made from cast iron, Orangeburg, or clay. Over time, they become brittle and can't take the pressure of excess waste (or the chemicals and overly aggressive use of a plumbing auger that many DIY homeowners use to clear their drains).
Planting trees and bushes too close to your sewer like can also break your sewage pipe at some point as roots take hold. Family members who put too much paper down the toilet are also big offenders of pipe breakage. Improper flushing can lead to a broken sewage pipe.
4. Repairing or Replacing Broken Sewage Pipes
When a pipe breaks, you may be able to repair just the section that is causing the problem. If you have a home with older sewer pipes, it may be prudent to repair the entire line from your home or business to Sacramento’s sewer system. New technology in plumbing techniques can repair or replace most sewer lines in a day’s time.
Trenchless sewer line replacement is less invasive than former methods and replaces your pipes with a resin-soaked pipe that hardens in place, forming a pipe that has a life expectancy of 50 years. This method of sewer line replacement is used to repair short sections of sewer pipes in homes, businesses, and municipalities.
Sewer Line Repair in Sacramento County
A broken sewer line can cause health issues, damage to your home or business, and a great deal of frustration. Professional help can get your problem assessed and repaired in short order. If you have a problem with a broken sewer pipe or another plumbing issue, contact Express Sewer & Drain for an assessment of your home, business, or municipal plumbing system. Our team specializes in sewer line repair in Sacramento, Fair Oaks, Rancho Cordova, and the surrounding areas.