When did you last check your sewer main?
Out of sight, out of mind, you don’t realize the importance of a well-maintained sewer line until it breaks. But because you don’t see it every day, you might not know what signs to look for if yours does break.
Don’t worry! Read on for nine shocking signs you may have a hidden sewer main problem.
1. Weak Water Flow
Low water pressure or weak flow suggests there’s a problem with distribution. If you’re getting this in one location, it’s most likely a problem with the faucet aerator, which is a quick fix. If you’re experiencing low pressure in several areas in your home, it might be a bigger issue.
You want to look for a problem with the water main, your hot water heater, or an active leak in your supply line. If you’re getting other symptoms on this list too, you need to take action immediately. A sewer issue can be highly-damaging to your home if left, and costly to fix too.
2. Dark Patches of Grass
A common sign of sewer issues is that one part of your lawn is far greener than the rest. This is even more evident if the area is between your house and the street – a common sewer line in cities.
Leaking sewer drains can also lead to sunken areas in your yard. The extra fluid saturates the surrounding dirt and compacts it. It could be because of degrading pipelines, or an invasive tree root. Either way, you need to sort it out asap.
Look out for unexpected soggy areas as this is another sign of a leaking sewer line. Look out for raised, watery areas over or near to where your pipes run or start.
For lines that go behind your walls, mold may grow if you get a leak. There are types of mold that only need a humidity rate of 55% or more to grow.
A cracked, leaking sewer pipe can cause humidity levels to rise to a level where mold becomes an issue. If you notice mold growth that comes with the stench of sewage, it’s likely you have a leak in your sewage pipes.
4. Slow Drainage
If you’re experiencing slow drainage, it could be a sign of a blockage forming. If left, this can cause your pipes to back up with sewage. You should try to clear the line immediately, rather than let it get worse.
If your toilet, bath, or sink is still slow to drain after you’ve tried to clear the line, it might be more sinister. You could have an intrusive tree root, cracking, or channeling that’s starting to form.
Be cautious of using chemical blockage cleaners to fix slow drainage or blockages. If the chemicals sit in the pipes, they will start to eat away at PVC or cast iron leading to more damage.
You might not immediately think it, but a rodent problem could be a sign of a break in your sewage lines. Rats usually like to dwell in sewers, but they can make their way up tie-in pipes that run behind your walls. You only need a crack that’s 3/4 inch for a rat to squeeze through into your home.
You don’t want to ignore a rodent problem. Rats spread many diseases like Hemorrhagic Fever and Plague. You don’t need to receive a direct bite either. Some diseases can even spread just from breathing in dust contaminated with droppings and urine.
6. Bubbling Paint
If you notice paint on your ceiling and walls starting to bubble and peel, this is likely a sign of moisture. The most common cause of this nuisance is a leak in the roofing or plumbing system.
If you see bubbling, blistering paint or brown spots on the walls or your ceilings investigate it. Not all leaks are obvious, so make sure you’re thorough or you call out a professional to help.
7. Foundation problems
More extreme signs of sewage pipe leakage are issues with your foundations. If a leak develops in a line running under your foundations, and it goes untreated, you’re in big trouble. You might see cracks in your foundation blocks or foundation settlement issues. It can even cause sinkholes.
If you notice any of these issues then you need to call in a foundation specialist immediately. Once you damage your foundations, it compromises the structural integrity of the building.
8. Septic Waste in Yard
One of the more obvious signs of a crack in your sewage pipe is septic waste pooling in your yard. Trust us, you won’t miss it!
The good news – the problem is most often located right underneath this foul-smelling pool. The bad news – could be a broken or clogged septic tank, clogged drains, or a leak in your drain line. You can bet on one thing though – you’re not going to enjoy the cleanup!
9. Rising Water Bills
An unexpected spike in water charges suggests more than a pain in your wallet. It could be an issue with your plumbing if your usage remains the same.
If you can’t pinpoint a change in usage like filling up a pool or watering the yard more, you need to consider a leak. It could be due to a running toilet, or a more sinister leak in your piping system. Either way, you need to get it looked at immediately to save you going further out of pocket.
Don’t Ignore Your Sewer Main Any Longer
So there you have it! You now know what to look for in the event you experience a sewer main issue.
Don’t ignore your sewer main just because it’s underground. Look for unexplained rises in bills, mold, peeling paint, or pooling on your lawn.
It’s important you act on any signs you do find to get to the root cause. Any delay can cause further damage and harm the structure of your property.
If you have any concerns about your plumbing and pipework, contact us today. At Big C’s Plumbing Service we have over 20 years of experience to help with all your plumbing needs.