Diagnosing Sewer Drainage Problems With Expert Plumbers

Is there a clog in my main sewer drain?

Is your toilet emitting strange burbling noises? Does water bubble out from your shower while running your washing machine. You can rest assured that your house is not haunted. These are amongst the signs that indicate you might have a choked main sewer drain line, which is a severe plumbing problem. The plumbing all over your house can be impacted by a clogged sewer drain line. In extreme scenarios, you may end up with raw human waste backing up out of your drains.

What leads to a choked sewer drain line?

In the majority of cases, especially in old houses, the smooth operating of your sewage system can be hampered by tree roots. Tree roots attracted to the moisture and warmth of a sewer line, creep in through loose joints or tiny cracks in the plumbing. These roots, feeding on the abundant nutrients over there, grow and block the sewer line. Eventually, other debris including toilet paper gets trapped by the roots, preventing water from flowing freely through the main sewer drain line.

Flushing sanitary products, like extra-thick toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, facial tissues, or even paper towels, can clog your sewer line too. However, these problems are limited, considering that sewer pipes are typically 6″ in diameter. In other words, clogging the drain requires a lot of loose material.

Signs of a Clogged Sewer Line

Check for these early cautionary signals of a clogged sewer line, so that you can fix the problem before it escalates into a costly emergency.

All of your drains are draining slowly, despite your best efforts to unclog them. The chances are that the blockage is in your sewer line if you have unsuccessfully attempted all of the DIY unclogging pointers in this list sans any solution.

Several plumbing fixtures are clogged simultaneously. If your shower, tub, kitchen sink, and toilets are all backed up, chances are you have a blocked sewer line. Toilet outlets have the biggest drain line and the most direct route to the sewer. Your toilet will be first affected in case the clog is in your sewer line. In case your toilets are working fine, but the other fixtures in your home are still draining slowly or are backed up totally, your main sewer line probably does not have a block.

Does water back up into or comes up in the shower or tub when you flush the toilet? This happens when the sewer line is clogged, preventing water from flushing down the drain. On the contrary, it flows back up the pipes and surfaces at the lowest point… typically the shower drain.

Do your toilet gurgles and bubbles when you run water in the bathroom sink? This happens due to air trapped in the plumbing system. Run water for about a minute in the sink closest to the toilet. You may have a clogged sewer line if the toilet gurgles or if the water level rise in the toilet.

Does water backs up in the shower or tub or does the toilet overflow when your washing machine drains? You probably do not have a blocked sewer line in case your toilets are flushing correctly.

How to Unclog a Sewer Line

Thankfully, you can restore your plumbing system to pristine condition by taking prompt action.

Release the pressure:

Turn off the water supply from the main supply when you first observe symptoms of a clogged sewer line. Survey your roof, basement, or yard and see if you can locate your sewer cleanout line. This is typically a 3 or 4-inch diameter short white pipe, sealed with a screw-on cap. Remove the cap after identifying the cleanout line. This ought to release the pressure in the sewer line and force any backed up water into your home to drain.

Chemical drain cleaning:

You can use chemicals to remove the clog in your sewer line if they are caused by tree roots. Certain plumbers suggest killing tree roots by flushing copper sulfate down the toilet; however, this substance quickly flushes away, implying that you may have to repeat the process several times to clear the clog. Be aware that certain municipalities prohibit the use of copper sulfate. Also, it is not safe for septic systems. Try flushing down a root-killing foam that contains the dichlobenil (an herbicide) down your toilet in case copper sulfate is not a suitable option for unclogging your sewer line. Its foam adheres to the pipes and eliminates the tree roots in a couple of hours. However, it may still require a couple of months for dead roots to be eliminated from your sewage system.

Mechanical cleaning of drains.

Professional sewer cleaners possess tools for removing clogs from main sewer drain lines. One of the most popular tools is a flexible and specially designed cable known popularly as a drain snake or an auger. This tool is often used electricity to run. A few of them are truck mounted and are fed bit by bit into the sewer line until the plumber can reach the clog and break it apart. Plumbers may also employ a high-pressure water jet to blow away other debris and tree roots down the sewer line. While you “can do this job yourself by renting these tools, both of them can damage your pipes if misused.” according to the Arizona plumbers at grandcanyonac.com. Therefore, it is best to leave this cleaning job to a professional.

Camera Inspection.

You can request for a visual (camera) inspection to find out the cause of the blockage if the water jet or auger does not unclog the sewer line. The miniature camera can reveal breaks and cracks in the sewer pipe, as well as other issues in the line that may require the attention of your local sanitation department.

5 Tips For Finding A Great Plumber

Plumbing emergencies can happen any time of the day or night. Don’t be caught in a crisis when water is leaking everywhere. To ensure that you are prepared for any plumbing emergency, begin by writing a list of qualified plumbers in your area. Having a list of qualified plumbers with their contact details will give you a head start should any plumbing situation occur. Make sure that you check the references of all of the plumbers on your list ahead of time so that when an emergency happens, all you need to do is call one of them and get an estimate for the work to be done.

Get Referrals From People You Trust

When searching for a plumber, most people will ask friends and relatives to refer them to a good plumber. This can be a useful way to gather the names of a few plumbers which you can then narrow down to three or four depending on the size of the job. Another excellent source of referrals is to speak to real estate agents and hardware store staff in your area. The best plumbers will often get most of their business through reputation and word of mouth because they keep their overhead low and know how to keep their clients happy. These are the plumbers that you want to hire for your plumbing work.

Verify Their License Status

Once you have developed a list of good plumbers, you will be inviting them to bid on your repair job. An essential part of this process is to verify that each of the plumbers has a valid license to work in the industry. Most provinces that require a plumbing license will typically collect fingerprints from the individual, conduct a background check and test the individual for general plumbing competency. By checking their license status, you “will ensure that your plumber is fully certified and meets the requirements to do the job.” according to the plumbers at Kwiatkowski Plumbing.

Search For Feedback and Reviews

Do your homework to search for feedback on the plumbers on your short-list. Many homeowners and customers will leave reviews online based on their experiences with plumbers and contractors, both good and evil, so it’s a good idea to seek out these reviews to see what people are saying about the plumbers you want to hire. Only use your favorite search engine to look up the plumber’s name or business name to check if any reviews could be useful to you. If there are, look for common themes such as statements on the plumber’s costs, efficiency or professionalism.

Check For Complaints

When reading through reviews, you should check if a particular plumber has had any complaints filed against them. An excellent way to check this is to “contact your province’s licensing board, which is often the first place disgruntled customers will go to file a complaint against a licensed contractor.” an excellent tip given to us by the plumbers of bestportlandplumbers.com. Another excellent source for checking complaints is the Better Business Bureau.

Ask For References

Before hiring a plumber, you should ask them for references. A good plumber will have several references ready for you to look at so don’t be shy about asking. It’s essential that you take the time to call the references because these people will vouch for the quality of the plumber’s work, so you need to ensure that they are legitimate. This step could prevent you from hiring a lousy plumber.


Taking the time to pre-qualify plumbers before letting them bid on your project or hiring them can be a time-consuming task, but it’s the best way to ensure that you find and hire the right plumber for the job. Be prepared for the next plumbing emergency that could strike and have a list of licensed plumbers ready for you to call. By checking references and reviews ahead of time, you can take a lot of the stress out of your next emergency plumbers to hire.