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Signs you need a sewer line repair or replacement

Signs that you need a sewer line repair or replacement

A sewer line repair is one of the most dreaded calamities a home owner can face. In the worst case scenario the sewer line problem is that big, that the wastewater gets backed up inside and eventually overflows your house. This can lead to severe damages of the structure of your home and especially of the belongings inside your home. 

Unfortunately, a clog in the sewer line can often stay unnoticed for quite some time. When the clog gets so big, that no wastewater can pass it and it starts backing up into your home, that's the time a home owner knows that he needs immediate help. Calling a plumber in this stage can sometimes be expensive, especially, if some parts of the sewer line are damaged so badly, that replacing them is the only option.

Even though many of the clogs stay unnoticed for sometimes even years, it does not need to get that far that the only option of fixing the problem is replacing them. 

With this article we want to help you notice the early signs of a sewer line that is starting to get clogged. If you notice any of the signs, please call for a professional plumber. In the early stages of a clog, the problem is easy to be fixed and a normal sewer line repair is enough. The longer you wait, the more damages to your sewer line can occur and the more expensive it is likely to be.

To help you know when you might be dealing with a sewer line problem, we show you early signs that occur when the sewer line is not working properly anymore. 

1. unpleasant/Foul odor coming from your drains

One of the first signs you can notice when you are dealing with a clog in your sewer line is, that you start to notice unpleasant smells in the kitchen, bathroom or other places, in which you have drains. In the beginning you need to get close to the drains in order to locate the smell. The bigger the clog gets, the stronger the smell until soon your whole home has a foul odor to it. When the sewer line is in a good shape, the smell should stay inside and not come into your home.

If you notice a weird smell e.g. in your bathroom, go around and try to locate it. Check your drains and see, if the smell is coming from the drains. If yes, it is likely that you are dealing with a clog in your sewer line which needs to be removed.

2. Dirt & other debris backwash into your toilet

If you notice that debris such as twigs, dirt, roots etc. get backwashed inside your toilet or sink, your sewer line is already damaged and you should waste no time and call a professional plumber.

When things such as debris get backwashed inside your home, it shows that the problem is already severe and the wastewater can not go completely down the sewer line. When you see twigs in the backwashed water, it usually shows that a sewer line underneath the soil has a problem.

Often times roots start growing inside the sewer line underneath the landscaping and obstructing it so that at some point the wastewater has no way to pass the clog other than washing back into the pipes in your home.  

3. Standing water in your sink/tub 

Another sign that you are in need of a sewer line repair is, when you start to notice standing water in your tub or sink. Slow drains are one of the most common plumbing issues you can find. In the majority of cases it is nothing major and just a clog inside the plumbing that needs to be removed.

In some cases, when there is a problem in the main line, it can also be one of the first signs that the main line is obstructed. For that reason it is always advisable to ask a professional plumber. They can see if you are dealing with a minor clog or if the main line is affected.

4. Drains aren't draining

Another common sign that shows, that something is not working quite well with the plumbing are drains that don't drain anymore. When you see that the water doesn't want to go down the drain or you see standing water as mentioned above, you are probably dealing with a clog somewhere. Again, it could be just a minor clog that is easy to removed, or you can have a major problem in your main line. 

If you see that several drains in different rooms are not draining anymore, for instance the kitchen and bathroom drains, it is very likely that there is a problem with the main line. Sometimes roots in your yard can grow inside the main line, obstructing it and pushing the wastewater inside your home plumbing. 

5. Toilet backs up when flushed

Seeing a toilet backing up when you flush it is usually the time, when a home owner realizes that something is not right with the plumbing system and they start to call a plumber.

Sometimes the above mentioned points are not noticed right away or some home owners think that they are not a real problem and it will go away on its own.

When you notice that your toilet starts to back up when flushing it, the backed up water is usually not clear water. In this case you can be quite sure that there is a problem with the sewer line somewhere. The first thing to do is to turn off the water supply at the back of the toilet and call a professional plumber.


Using special equipment a plumber can locate exactly where the problem is and can find a way to fix it as fast as possible so that you can use your toilet again. 

6. Lawn is very green

You probably wouldn't have thought that this normally positive aspect could also be a sign that you are dealing with a major problem with your main line, for example a leak.

As we have already mentioned above, sometimes roots can grow inside the main line. This can cause a leak in the main line which leads to waste water coming out. This on the other hand helps watering your yard which makes it looking more fresh and green. When you see a huge different in your yard with one part being extremely green and the rest of the yard is more or less green, you can be quite sure that you are dealing with a main line problem, such as a leak. 

In the beginning, when roots start to grow inside the main line it usually stays unnoticed. But the bigger the roots get, the more they obstruct the line until eventually it is obstructed completely and pushes all waste water back into your house. That's why a toilet that backs up when it gets flushed or standing water in the bath tub can be a sign that there is a bigger problem in the main line. 

7. puddles outside

If you are seeing puddles in your yard, you can be more than sure that there must be a leak somewhere in your main line underneath the ground. If the soil is not able to absorb all the water, it is likely that the leak is rather big and you should call a plumber immediately. Otherwise your water bill gets higher beyond imagination. 

The best way to see if you are having puddles in your yard is to walk around in between watering sessions. Only then can you be sure that the water you see is not from your watering system. 

8. increase in pests

This point may sound a bit off topic to you. But if you look closer you see how even the increase in pests can be a sign, that there is a problem with your sewer line. 

Let's say you notice rats or mice in your yard which usually haven't been there or you have not noticed them before. When you think about where you usually find rats (underground surrounded by the lovely smell of sewage) you can see why an increase in pests can be a sign of a sewer line problem. Rats and pests like to be in an evironment that is wet, damp and smells nasty at least for our noses. 

When there is a problem with the sewer line, they find the same conditions around your property that they like so much. In this case it is advisable to not only call a plumber to fix the sewer line problem, but to also call a pest expert that can take care of the rats or other pests. 

Trenchless Way of removing a clog in the sewer line

The reason why a sewer line repair or replacement is one of the most dreaded calamaties of a homeowner is, because it most always means that something needs to be digged up. When a root has grown inside the sewer line underneath your yard, in the past digging up the whole sewer line was the way to go. Of course that meant that all the beautiful landscaping got destroyed and you couldn't really enjoy it anymore. 

For this reason people were asking for a trenchless way of repairing a sewer line. With technology getting better and better, one trenchless way of fixing a clog in the sewer line is by hydrojetting. Hydrojetting is using very high pressurized water which can blast away nearly any clog you can imagine.


When hydrojetting is used and the sewer line is in a good condition, there is no need to dig the sewer line up, which means less destruction in your yard and less money you have to pay.

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Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or are looking for an estimate for our leak detection services in New Haven CT and the surrounding areas. We will assist you with your questions as fast as possible.