There’s no disputing the importance of your home’s sewer line. Plumbers actually consider residences from two angles: the “pressure side”, which refers to the side of the home that hosts the water line; and the “drainage side”, which indicates the presence of the sewer pipe. If you live in a city or town that has public utilities, your sewer line will connect your home to the public sewer pipe that transports waste to the local wastewater treatment facility. This illustrates the existence of two different sewer lines, one of them private, and the other public. The private sewage line connects your home to the public sewage line, and the responsibility for repair depends on which of these pipes has the problem. A clog in your private sewer pipe can prove frustrating, as it will impede drainage from your home, and can cause sewage to actually overflow from your drains. These types of clogs, along with any other sewer issues in the private line, are the responsibility of the homeowner.
If it’s determined that the clog or other issue originates from the public line, then the local water department must have it repaired. While these are the most common rules, you should check with your city’s water department to learn the specifics for your area. Sometimes, the city will require a homeowner to pay for damages on the public line. This could occur in a situation where items disposed through the homeowner’s toilet created a blockage in the public line. For effective drainage on a comprehensive level, you should also devote some attention to your gutters and the grading of your property. While burst sewer lines can do a lot of damage, so can standing water around the perimeter of your home. If you have experienced this problem, French drains represent an excellent solution. For any issues with a sewer line in Fort Worth, TX, you can count on the expertise of Westside Plumbing. To schedule an inspection or repair, or to simply ask questions, give us a call today at (817) 560-4144.
Indicators of Sewer Line Issues
Issues with sewer lines can quickly get out of hand, and lead to costly repairs for both the subsequent property damages and the sewer line itself. A leaking or burst sewer line can quickly fill your yard with sewage, while a clogged line can affect drains all around your house. Sluggish drainage that stops altogether indicates a full obstruction. As sewer fails to travel past the blockage, it will begin to back up your line, and will eventually rise out of your drains. This horrific situation will contaminate your home with sewage, and require expensive restoration work to clean and sanitize.
To avoid the consequences described above, you need to pay attention to the common signs of issues with sewer lines. As soon as you notice one of these, call a trusted plumber for an inspection and repairs. If you have an issue with a sewer line in Fort Worth, TX, call (817) 560-4144 for the local leaders at Westside Plumbing. While the following indicators range from obvious to subtle, they all require the immediate attention of a professional.
- Comprehensively Slow Drains
- Bad Odors
- Unusually Lush Patches of Grass
- Pest Infestations
- Pooling Waste
- Foundation Cracks
- Patches of Mold
- Pooling Waste
The two indicators that homeowners notice most frequently are slow drainage and bad odors. Slow drainage occurs because all of your home’s drains empty into the sewer line. Therefore, a clog there will eventually have repercussions inside your house. Bad odors are, unfortunately, often ignored. The smell of sewage inside or outside your home can only have one possible source. Consider the fact that your sewer line rests buried beneath several feet of earth. It should never emit an odor, unless it has a leak or rupture.
Lush patches of grass occur because sewage acts as excellent fertilizer. This problem, along with actual pooling waste, can help determine the exact location of a sewer line leak. As for pest infestations, rodents and insects are attracted to sewage. The final two indicators listed above, foundation cracks and mold problems, can have many different causes. If you can rule out things like broken gutters and slab leaks, it can help determine whether the sewer line has a problem.
Sewer Line vs Septic Tank
People commonly wonder about the difference between sewer lines and septic tanks. The answer is fairly simply, in that people whose homes rest outside of a municipal sewer system will need a septic tank. Septic tanks act as a private sewer, and connect to the home via a sewer pipe. Unlike municipal sewer lines, septic tanks require periodic service to empty as they get full. With a sewer line, waste gets transported directly to a wastewater facility. Here, the waste becomes separated from the water, which gets added back into the municipal water system. With a septic tank, bacteria inside the tank break down solid elements, while liquid become discharged into a nearby drainage field.
The main benefit of a sewer line is that it requires no periodic service, save for repairs in the events or cracks or ruptures. You simply pay for the use of the municipal sewer as part of your utility bill. Septic tanks have no monthly fees, but owners do have to pay for the periodic pumping service.
The Reasons Why Your Sewer Line Is Clogged
If sluggish drains have alerted you to the presence of a sewer line clog, you may wonder at its cause. Typically, sewer lines clog due to the actions of the homeowner. Items not safe for disposal get flushed down drains and into the sewer line, where they accumulate to form clogs. Materials that commonly contribute to clogs include:
- Feminine Products
- Cooking Grease or Oil
- Baby/Wet Wipes
- Dental Floss
- Q-Tips and Cotton Balls
- Paper Towels
- Cigarette Butts
There does exist one common source of sewer clogs unrelated to homeowner activity. If your yard has trees, the roots engage in a never-ending quest for hydration. Tree roots will naturally grow toward the sewer pipe, and can enter through tiny cracks, or even penetrate the pipes themselves. From there, the root infestation will continually grow, until the pipe is totally blocked, or even busted open.
How Do I Keep My Sewer Lines Clear?
The simplest way to keep sewer lines clear is to never flush the items listed above. If you’re unsure of what to do with cooking grease, let it cool down, and put it in a jar or other container. Once the container gets full, throw it in the garbage. Other ways to keep sewer lines clear include the monthly use of enzymatic cleaners, the cutting back of shrubs or trees located near your sewage line, and an annual drain cleaning service.
Sewer Line FAQ
How Does the Sewer Line Work?
Your home’s sewer line works entirely by gravity. When builders construct a new home, they must carefully establish grading to enable the easy movement of wastewater from your home and into the municipal sewer. Every drain in your home connects to the main sewer pipe. If you wonder how this set-up doesn’t create bad smells throughout the home, you can thank the p-trap. Every drain has a curved section of pipe that performs a dual purpose. On the one hand, it prevents objects from traveling farther down the line. If you ever drop your wedding band down the drain, you can thank the p-trap for keeping it out of the sewer. The p-trap is also constantly filled with water, which prevents the entry of sewer odors and methane gas into your home.
What Are the Signs of a Broken Sewer Pipe?
As described above, the signs of a broken sewer pipe are many. They can include foul odors, unusually lush patches of grass, pooling waste, and pest infestations.
Are Broken Sewer Pipes Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
This depends on the homeowner’s policy you choose. Unless the policy specifically states coverage for water and sewer backup, you are out of luck. Even if the policy has this coverage, it will frequently cover damage caused through the broken, clogged, or leaking pipe, but not the repair of the pipe itself.
Can Your Sewer Line Freeze?
Like any other piece of plumbing, sewer lines can indeed freeze. This creates a serious problem, as the frozen waste will effectively block the line, and cause all of your home’s drains to back up. As the frozen waste expands, it can also burst the pipe and fill your yard with sewage.
How Do You Thaw Out a Frozen Sewer Line?
In the case that your sewer line does freeze, you may wonder at the solution. There exist only two, and one of them is to phone a trusted local plumber. A frozen sewer line is a serious problem, particularly since it likely rests on the verge of bursting. A plumber can locate the actual location of the frozen obstruction, and go about thawing it out directly.
If you sincerely want to avoid calling a plumber, you can try pouring hot water down your drain. Heat the water of the stove, but do not allow it to boil. Do not simply run your tap until hot water comes out, as this will only back up the drain further. Once the water has sufficiently heated on the stove, pour it down the drain. Keep in mind, if you decide to go this route, the hot water may melt the clog, or it may create just enough more pressure to burst the pipe.
At Westside Plumbing, we’re the local experts for any issue with a sewer line in Fort Worth, TX. If you need repairs or a sewer camera inspection, don’t hesitate to give our team a call today at (817) 560-4144.