Main Sewer Line Clogs: Top 5 Causes

Our Expert Tips

Few pieces of plumbing are more important than your main sewer line. It transports wastewater from your toilets, sinks, and bathtubs to the sewers underneath the street, keeping your home safe and sanitary. That’s why it’s vital to address any main sewer line clogs as soon as a warning sign arises. 

Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t know the foremost causes of main sewer line clogs. Luckily, our plumbing experts at Pride Services in Massapequa, NY, are here to help. 

At Pride Services, we are one of the most trusted plumbing companies in the greater Massapequa area. Our team of experienced Massapequa plumbers knows everything there is to know about main sewer line clogs and can help keep your sewer line in prime condition. 

Continue reading to learn five common causes of main sewer line clogs and how to prevent the issue.

Causes of a Main Sewer Line Clog

Most homeowners experience a clogged or slow draining bathtub or sink every now and again. While most of these clogs are relatively easy to fix, main sewer line clogs aren’t so simple. 

Main sewer line clogs usually obstruct multiple drain lines at one time, making it nearly impossible to eliminate unsanitary water and raw sewage. They cost a lot to fix, putting immense stress on a homeowner’s finances. However, if you know the primary causes of main sewer line clogs, it can make the issue easier to manage. 

Below are some of the most common causes of main sewer line clogs.

1.  Pipe Damage

Like most things, sewer pipes don’t last forever. Many corrode and break down over time, causing severe clogs and jams. Some of the most common causes of pipe damage include: 

  • Shifting or settling soil
  • Increased or heavy traffic above the pipes
  • Construction equipment
  • Corrosion
  • Leaking joints 

If you live in an older home with decaying or decrepit pipes, you may want to consider replacing them. Although replacing sewer line pipes isn’t cheap, it will save you from costly repairs later on.

2. Sewer Line Sagging

Heavy soil can take a toll on your main sewer line. The immense pressure bends and bellies the pipes over time, causing various plumbing issues ranging from burst pipes to clogs. Once a pipe bends, waste and toilet paper collect in the indention, clogging your main sewer line. 

Unfortunately, you can’t really take preventive measures to stop your sewer lines from sagging. The best thing to do is install the sewer lines under proper bedding like sand or large-grade gravel to provide the lines with some support. 

3. Tree Root Intrusion

Tree roots sometimes take hold of pipes in hopes of reaching the water flowing inside them. Once tree roots latch onto a pipe, they can infiltrate it and even grow inside of the pipe, leaving your lines severely clogged. This is especially common in older homes with clay or porous pipes.

4. Foreign Objects

Some people treat their toilets like a garbage can and flush all sorts of trash and debris down them. Although toilets can handle large amounts of excrement and toilet paper, they can’t manage other forms of waste without causing various plumbing issues. 

To learn what you can and cannot flush down a toilet, you can conduct a flushability test. Fill two bowls with water and place toilet paper in one and the item you want to flush in the other. Thoroughly shake the bowls and let them sit for an hour or so. If the object disintegrates like the toilet paper, it’s safe to flush down the toilet. 

Non-flushable items include: 

  • Facial tissues
  • Baby wipes
  • Napkins
  • Paper towels
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers
  • Swiffer pads

5. Fats, Oil, and Grease

Grease, oil, and fats are some of the worst things for your sewer lines. Although they start as fluids, they harden as they cool and latch onto the inside of your pipes. Once they build up enough, they begin trapping debris and can cause severe clogs and blockages. 

You must dispose of fats, oils, and grease properly to ensure that they don’t damage the sewer line. It’s best to pour them into a large glass jar or coffee can until it hardens. Once it becomes solid, throw the container into the trash. 

You can also purchase a grease trap to prevent grease and fats from entering your pipes.

Telltale Signs of a Main Sewer Line Clog

Homeowners can sometimes catch a main sewer line clog before it spirals out of control if they know what to look for beforehand. Several telltale signs can alert you of potential sewer line problems. Below are some of the most common warning signs of a sewer line clog.

1.  Frequent Clogging

While occasional toilet clogs or drain jams don’t suggest a plumbing problem, frequent clogging can indicate a more significant issue. Regular clogging, especially if it occurs at the lowest level of the house, is one of the biggest indications of a sewer line blockage. 

Instead of using a drain cleaner to solve the issue, call a professional plumber. Many drain cleaners erode pipes and cause more harm than good. A professional plumber will uncover the problem’s source and resolve it for a modest fee.

2.  Multiple Clogs Occurring at One Time

One of the biggest warning signs of a main sewer line clog is multiple drain blockages occurring at one time. Since most household fixtures use separate pipes, it’s unlikely they all clog simultaneously. It usually indicates a main sewer line issue that needs immediate attention. 

Contact a plumber right away if you experience multiple blockages at once.

3.  Changes to Your Lawn

Most sewer lines run under front lawns or backyards. When a sewer line breaks, the sewage pushes up towards the yard, leaving it in less-than-stellar condition. If you notice any of the following, you probably have a severe sewer line problem. 

  • Noticeable indentions on the lawn
  • Soggy patches of grass
  • Dying patches of grass
  • Sewage starts bleeding into the yard 

If you notice any of the issues listed above, you should contact a professional plumber right away for immediate service. If you don’t resolve the problem swiftly, it can cause a severe health hazard that could put you and your family at risk.

4.  Unusual Reaction When Using Plumbing Fixtures

Sewer line issues often cause your plumbing fixtures to act abnormally. Your toilet water starts bubbling, gurgling noises become apparent when water is draining, and flushing your toilet causes your shower or bathtub to flood. If you experience any of these issues, you have something wrong with your sewer line. 

To make sure that the strange reactions aren’t a fluke, run some water in the sink closest to your toilet when it begins to bubble. If the toilet water rises or continues to bubble, you have a problem with your main sewer line.

Contact Us at Pride Services for All Your Sewer Line and Plumbing Needs in Massapequa, NY

When your main sewer line clogs, you need a team of experienced plumbers that won’t hesitate to rush to your home right away. That’s why Massapequa residents trust our team at Pride Services for all their plumbing needs. We understand all the common problems with drain pipes and can handle any plumbing issue you send our way. 

Whether you experience an issue with your basement floor drain or encounter a burst pipe, we at Pride Services are here for you. 

Don’t trust inexperienced plumbing companies next time you have issues with your main sewer line. Contact our professionals at Pride Services at (516) 916-6894 in Massapequa, NY, and see what our team can do for you today!

Published: Feb 18, 2022

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