Signs That Your Main Sewer Line Is Clogged


Does anyone want a situation where you flush, and the toilet fills up? No, right?

Well, that’s an alarming sign of sewer clogging. But unfortunately, nobody is instantly prepared to hire a plumber, and the hidden cost may rise daily if you don’t take any precautionary steps. A day without kitchen work can be passed but is it possible to avoid any plumbing issues? You literally cannot avoid using the toilet. Therefore, let’s get to know the signs that your main sewer line is clogged.

Try to Avoid Beforehand

Clogging your main sewer line creates a disastrous situation in the whole house. You won’t be able to use any of the plumbing fixtures, and it would create a messy situation. In order to prevent it beforehand, you should always adopt some techniques. If not taken, you may end up with expensive fixes. 

However, if things come to a point where you need to attempt some major fixes, you should know that there are different techniques for how to clear a main line blockage in your sewer lateral. We will be discussing them in detail later on. But first, learn the signs that your main sewer line is clogged.

The Red Flag: Water Overflow

The first and foremost red flag is water overflowing from different sources. For example, you may flush your toilet, and if you see the water bubbles up and won’t drain away quickly, your sewer line is clogged.

You can also get a sign by using your washing machine or bathroom sink. You can see the toilet water rising from the sink or overflowing the washing machine.

Slow Draining

Besides water backing up or regurgitating from plumbing fixtures, slow draining is another vital sign that your main sewer line is clogged. Most of the time, you can avoid the situation by plunging often. But if it continues to go like this, it may cost you a lot and you might need expensive fixes.

If you are not a pro at plumbing issues, you should enlighten yourself with some plumbing tips and tricks. These can also help you avoid future risky situations.

Plunging Often

As said before, you can often avoid slow draining with plunging. However, if water does not drain or drains very slowly, it needs instant plunging. If you have to do it constantly, your main line needs to be cleared as soon as possible. So it would help if you always were cautious about any plumbing fixes.

Alerts Regarding the Yard

Sometimes the signs of clogging are visible. And sometimes it takes forever to find out the sign, and boom, it’s too late. Some unusual signs can be seen in your garden if you have an unnoticed main line clogging. At some point, you may notice some disturbing green patches on grasses. 

You might see stagnant water in your yard with a horrible smell. When you see something like that, it’s, of course, an emergency. 

Don’t Avoid Bad Odor

Is sewage smell releasing all around your home? This is a significant sign that your main line is clogged. It releases an unusual moist smell giving a red alarm.

Why Does the Main Sewer Line Get Clogged?

Clogging often remains unnoticed because it takes a lot of time to be discovered. In addition, the main sewer pipe is fitted at a significant depth from the ground; you don’t instantly get any signs. Nevertheless, here are some of the important reasons why the main sewer line gets clogged:

Debris Sedimentation

Debris sedimentation is one of the most common ways the primary line gets clogged. Well, we both consciously and unconsciously are responsible for doing that. For example, suppose you are flushing the toilet papers or tissues every day. At a specific time, it gathers to create clogging through creating layers.

Have you ever heard of fat accumulation in the sewerage pipe? Strange, right? But we do it quite often. Never pour oil or oily substance through the sink. That is how a layer of fat sits in the main sewage pipe.

You might find DIY remedies, like pouring hot water through the sink. But to be honest, that doesn’t work. This is so because the main sewer line is far from the ground. So when hot water is poured down the sink, it cools down.

Faulty or Damaged Pipe

As the main sewer line is located way below the ground, no external damage can be done. But placing faulty pipes unknowingly or an outdated pipe can result in serious issues. 

Blockage with Tree Roots

The most common reason for such blockage is the dirt settlement. But another problem is the tree roots entering the plumbing pipes. Well, modern-day houses are free from the hazard because of improved design. But, on the other hand, backdated houses with old trees around might face such a situation.

Some Other Factors

Other than flushing toilet papers, throwing foreign objects like kids’ diapers, napkins or even flushing minor objects can result in clogging. Though it takes a lot of time to reach that stage, the amount of trouble you have to face later is equally enormous. 

Techniques For How to Clean the Main Line Blockage

If you have issues with cooking, that can be managed for a day. But imagine a day with a plumbing issue. The water is not draining. You can’t flush, you can’t take a shower, and you may not even be able to cook or wash dishes. So here are some DIY techniques for how to clean main line blockage:

Use Boiling Water

Hot water works great for liquifying fat accumulation. However, we often pour hot oil or grease through the sink. This creates clogging as fat freezes in the main line. In most cases, the main sewer line is located way beneath the ground, and sometimes such pouring might not work. This is because the water cools down in the meantime, and it reaches the main line. But if you are struggling with the branches, it may work great.

Use Plunger

If you see water gurgling in your sink or the water doesn’t drain out quickly, you may use a plunger. A plunger works excellent for instant drainage. 

Use Plumbers’ Snake

When plunging does not work, use a drain snake. A drain snake is relatively easy to use and works great in an emergency. Put one end into the clogged area and turn on the handle. When you rotate it against the clogged area, it helps to remove dirt and debris.

Clean Your Pipe Often

We often use a bucket underneath plumbing fixtures to store the water if there is any leakage. While doing so, you can loosen the screw to clean out the pipe. This would help any external objects and debris to come out. Next, use a flat tool or toothbrush to clean the area properly.

Using Dish Detergent Mix

Dish detergent can unclog drains by acting as a lubricant. Just pour ⅓ of the dish detergent, then add hot water. Use this mixture to drain away any dirt and debris.

Diy Mixtures

You can mix baking soda and water in a ratio of 1:1 to unclog any blockage. This chemical can almost unclog any drain. However, you have to wait hours to get the result and drain it with hot water.

Another mixture that you can use is a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. In 60 gallons of water, mix vinegar and baking soda in a ratio of 1:4. After the mixture is ready, you need to exert pressure with the plunger or drain snake.

Now another mixture that can be effective is the vinegar and baking soda mix. Take ⅓ cup of vinegar and baking soda and use to drain it in the pipe. This will help drain any grease, oil, dirt, or debris. After that, flush it with hot boiling water.

Call a Plumber

If none of the above tips work, you can call a plumber. You might end up in a hazardous situation if you don’t have the experience. Ultimately it will cost you much more. Calling a plumber will save you from both the cost and hazard.

Future Clog Prevention

When such a situation arises, we call a plumber to get the solution, and next? We don’t care at all. As a result, such a situation arises again after some years. So here are some preventive measures that can save you:

  • Pour hot water quite often. 
  • Clean the pipes with enzyme cleaners every month. 
  • Fix outdated pipes often.
  • Do not ever throw sanitary pads or tissue in the toilet. It slowly accumulates to form a clog.
  • When planting trees, make sure the roots don’t reach the pipes. So plant trees far away from the house.
  • Never through tea leaves, coffee grounds, or oily substances down the sink.
  • Use a chemical cleaner and DIY mixtures monthly to keep the line clear.
  • You can fit a camera. This will keep you updated and help to avoid risky situations. You will be given a red alert beforehand. 
  • Lastly, never hire an unprofessional plumber. 

Final Words

Main sewer line clogging takes a lot of time to create, and sometimes it remains unnoticed for extended periods. Most of us are unaware until it shows red alerts and creates a messy situation. 

So look carefully for the signs that your main sewer line is clogged. Then, once you move out of the situation, always use precautionary steps.