Telltale Signs You Could Have a Broken Sewer Line In Your Home

Having a broken sewer line can be a nightmare. However, by knowing the signs you could have a broken sewer line can save you a lot of headache and unnecessary damage to other parts of your home, lawn, and overall plumbing. If you hire a plumber to inspect the main line from your house to the street at least once a year, you can save yourself a lot of money by nipping the problem in the bud before it happens. In this article, we give you the definition of a sewer line, where it is located in your home, and what to look for when trying to prevent a bigger problem.

Telltale Signs You Could Have a Broken Sewer Line In Your Home

What Is A Sewer Line In A Home?

The sewer line is the underground pipe that carries all your wastewater from the home to the public sewer system or towards your septic tank. Also referred to as a main line, it is important to know where your sewer line is located and where the cleanout is located just in case you ever encounter these four telltale signs of a broken sewer line:

  1. Slow Drains
  2. Foul Odors
  3. Mold and Mildew Buildup
  4. Rodents and Pests Appearing From Your Drains

What Is A Drain Cleanout?

A drain cleanout provides access to your main sewer line and is located outside of your home in the front or back yard. Cleanouts typically go unnoticed until there is a problem. They look like capped pipes sticking a few inches above the ground.

Where To Find The Main Sewer Line Located In Your Home

Plumbing-related issues aren’t always easy to spot – especially ones that occur underground like sewer backups. Knowing where to locate your home’s main sewer line is always a plus as this helps you to conduct your own inspections or to direct your plumber in the event you have a plumbing emergency. However, it is important to know that not all main sewer lines are located in the same place. It varies from home-to-home and requires some searching.

broken sewer line in a home

Photo courtesy of Long Beach Water Department in Long Beach, CA

How To Locate The Main Sewer Line Indoors

To locate your indoor sewer cleanout area, you’ll have to do a bit of searching. It can usually be found in the basement, garage, or crawl space. You will want to look for a pipe that is about four inches in diameter with a screw cap on the top with a notch or a square knob at the top. Note that some houses have an indoor sewer line cleanout point, while others might be located outdoors. It’s also possible to not have one in your house at all.

How To Locate The Main Sewer Line Outdoors In Your Yard

If you can’t locate the main sewer line in your home, chances are it’s in your yard. Sewer line access points outside of the house can usually be found at the foundation of the home or near the streets where the sewer line links up with the municipal sewer main. Most of the time, the sewer line will be sticking up out of the ground and easy to see. However, overgrown landscaping or other objects close to the house could hide it. You could also have a buried sewer cleanout. Try searching on the side of the house that is closest to the main floor’s bathroom.

Slow Drains Could Be A Sign You Have A Broken Main Line

A slow drain in one fixture usually means you have a simple clog that can be resolved with a plunger or drain snake. However, When you have more than one fixture draining slowly in your home, it’s a telltale sign that the blockage is deeper in your plumbing system – usually the sewer line.

Foul Odors Could Be A Sign You Have A Broken Main Line

If you have a broken sewer line, your nose will tell you. There should never be smells of any kind coming from your drains. What you may be smelling could be toxic sewer gas that is slowly but surely making its way into other areas of your home.

Mold & Mildew Could Be A Sign You Have A Broken Main Line

If you see any mold and mildew spreading rapidly throughout your home, especially the basement, it could be due to a water or sewage backup from a broken sewer line.

Bugs Coming Out Of The Drain Can Be A Sign You Have A Broken Main Line

Are you noticing a sudden uptick of bugs and rodents? It could be a sign of a broken sewer line. Rodents often live in the sewers. However, they can make themselves at home in your home by squeezing through the smallest cracks in the sewer line. Likewise, insects see a cracked drain pipe as their perfect breeding ground due to the stagnant water. This allows insects to multiply rapidly.

What To Do If You Can’t Find Or Fix The Problem On Your Own

If you’re experiencing one or more of the things on this list, it’s time to call a plumber to inspect your sewer line. At Ted & Bros. Plumbing, we provide honest recommendations on whether your sewer line can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced. Click on the schedule service button in the main menu above to schedule an appointment or free estimate today.