Chances are you have never given thought to the sewer line that runs out of your house. You may not even know whether it is connected to municipal sewers or a septic system. At any rate, it’s not uncommon to never think about the sewer line until something goes wrong. When that something happens, you are forced to call in a licensed plumber.
Unfortunately, there are not a whole lot of signs you can look for that would indicate a sewer line is likely to fail. When signs do start manifesting themselves, the damage is already done. Such is the nature of the sewer line. It is buried underground and forgotten; you notice it only when something goes wrong.
Salt City Plumbing is a licensed plumbing contractor in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sewer repair is among the many services they offer. They say there are five signs suggesting a faulty residential sewer line:
1. Consistent Toilet Problems
Believe it or not, a home’s toilet says a lot about the sewer connection. Consistent toilet problems could very well be due to a faulty sewer line. At the top of the list are regular backups. It’s normal for a toilet to back up and overflow every once in a blue moon. But if it is happening frequently, the sewer could be partially clogged or broken.
Another sign to watch for – or listen for, actually – are gurgling sounds from the toilet. You should never hear gurgling when you flush due to the weight and pressure of the water. As long as everything is working properly, water and waste should flow freely without making a sound. Likewise, if you hear gurgling sounds even when the toilet isn’t being flushed, you could have some serious problems in the sewer line.
2. Foul Odors Around Your Home
Foul odors emanating from your sink could just be something in the sink drain or outflow pipe. If you’re smelling foul odors around your home, odors that are especially strong at sinks and tubs, your sewer line could either be clogged or broken. An odor indicating a problem with your sewer line would be a combination of raw sewage and a musty, moldy smell.
3. Soft Spots in the Lawn
If your sewer line is leaking or completely broken, you are likely to see soft spots in your lawn. The soft spots will persist even when weather conditions are dry. And when it does rain, those soft spots turn into large puddles. Assuming your home is connected to a municipal system, the soft spots will appear in the front of your home. If you have a septic system, they could be anywhere on your property. It just depends on where your leach field is located.
4. Mold and Mildew on the Walls
A faulty sewer line creates ideal conditions for mold and mildew. If you suddenly notice mold and mildew on your walls, even in rooms where there are no plumbing fixtures, your sewer line could be broken. Any sign of mold or mildew is definitely reason to call a plumber.
5. Unwelcome Pests
Finally, raw sewage tends to attract pests. If you have noticed a sudden infusion of rats, mice, mosquitoes, flies, and other pests, you could have a sewer line problem. It is especially worrisome if they all seem to congregate around one particular area in your yard.
Sewer problems don’t occur every day, but they do occur, nonetheless. A broken, leaky, or clogged sewer is sufficient reason to call in a licensed plumber. Rest assured that ignoring a sewer problem is only going to make matters worse.