If your home is experiencing a clogged main sewer line, you may be wondering how to fix it. You may also be wondering if you need to call a professional plumber or if you can unclog the line yourself.
Thankfully, there's a good chance you can unclog main sewer line pipes on your own. Learn how to unclog a main sewer line without a cleanout, plus learn some tips on how to prevent future clogs from occurring.
Common Reasons for Clogged Main Sewer Lines
If you have a clogged drain, it can be a major inconvenience. Sometimes, it's because you flushed something down the toilet you shouldn't have. But there are a number of factors that can contribute to clogged main sewer lines, including:
Roots growing into the pipes
Blocked or damaged drains in your home
Broken or collapsed pipes
A buildup of solid waste and debris within the line
Sagging sewer lines
A drain line can break for a few reasons. Sometimes, they break due to age if you have an older home or plumbing system. Exposed tree roots may also grow into your pipes, which can make the main line break.
Additionally, if you had any heavy construction equipment drive over your plumbing system, it can cause damage. This is a more common issue for homes using a septic system rather than the municipal sewer system (aka connected to the city).
Signs You Have Clogged Sewer Lines
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms in your home, it may be an indication that you have a sewer line clog:
Frequent clogs, especially in multiple fixtures
Sluggish or slow drains in sinks, tubs, and toilets
Drain backups in sinks, tubs, and toilets
Foul odors coming from drains or toilet
Your toilet's water level rising and falling
Tips for Unclogging a Main Sewer Line Without a Cleanout
If you have a main sewer line clog, don't panic. Depending on the severity of the clog, you may not need to call a plumber right away. If you don't notice a sewage smell right away (especially if you don't have a septic tank), then try these steps before calling a plumber for a cleanout.
Clear Your Drains with a Plumbing Snake
Start by checking your home's drains to see if there is any blockage. If you find that one of your home's drains is clogged, try using a drain snake or plunger to clear the blockage. If you don't have your own drain auger, you can also try a bent wire hanger. Drain snakes are available at local hardware stores, and you can often rent them.
Try a Wet and Dry Vacuum
If you don't have a drain snake or other plumbing tools, try using a wet and dry vacuum to clear the clog. First, position your vacuum directly over any toilets that are affected by the clog. Make sure you create a tight seal and have it on the liquid setting. Then, turn on the vacuum and slowly push it down into the toilet bowl until you feel resistance.
Clean Your Drains
There are a few different ways you can clean your drains that don't require a chemical drain cleaner.
One way to try to clear a clogged sewer drain is to create a solution out of vinegar and baking soda. Mix 1/3 cup of each and pour them down the drain lines immediately, while they're still fizzy. The chemical reaction should help break down any build-up that could be causing a sewer clog.
You can also try using hot water, which should help remove grime or grease.
If these don't work, you can also use professional strength drain cleaners; some of these contain harsh chemicals, but can break down build-up.
High Water Pressure with Baking Soda and Vinegar
In addition to baking soda and vinegar, you can also add water pressure to this mix. To do this, use a 2:1 ratio of vinegar to baking soda, and mix it into 60 gallons of water. As you pour the water down the drain, use a drain snake or plunger to dislodge debris that is blocking water flow.
Check For Tree Roots
If you suspect that tree roots may be the cause of your clogged sewer line, consider having a professional plumber come to your home to use a rooter machine. This specialized tool can help to clear the blockage and remove any roots that have penetrated into the pipes.
Tips to Prevent Future Sewer Line Clogs
While it is important to address any issues with your main sewer line as soon as possible, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent future clogs from occurring. For example, regularly inspecting your drains and pipes for damage or blockages can help you spot potential problems before they become more serious.
Additionally, using drain guards and grease traps can help reduce the amount of solid waste and debris that accumulates in your sewer line. If you notice that your main sewer line has become clogged over time, be sure to regularly conduct basic drain maintenance in order to prevent future clogs from occurring. This can include using a drain cleaner, removing hair and other debris from drains, and running water through your pipes to flush out any buildup.
Additionally, remember that only toilet paper and human waste should go down toilet drains. Drain pipes can often be clogged when you flush feminine hygiene products like sanitary pads, thick paper towels, food, and other toiletries.
If you are unable to clear the blockage on your own or if you suspect that a more serious problem has developed with your main sewer line, it is best to consult a professional plumber.
When To Call a Plumber in Sacramento
If you are dealing with a clogged main sewer line that you just can't fix, it is important to seek professional assistance as soon as possible. A reputable plumber can assess the cause of the clog and help you find a solution that will keep your pipes clear and functional for years to come.
Whether it involves clearing out the pipes with specialized tools, repairing damaged sections, or replacing the entire line, professional assistance can help ensure that your main sewer line remains in good working order. So if you are struggling with a clogged main sewer line, be sure to seek out the help of a qualified plumber today.
Working with a professional plumber regularly for maintenance is key to preventing large, costly issues. At Express Sewer, we've been serving the Rancho Cordova and Sacramento County neighborhoods for years. Contact us today for your residential plumbing needs, including main sewer line clogs and drain cleaning.