Most Common Problems (And Their Consequences) Of Sewer Lines

September 30, 2019

Sewer line issues can stem from long-term buildup of flushed materials that cause blockages, intrusions of tree roots that cause clogs and breaks, and corrosion or collapse due to outdated plumbing components. These and other common problems in your sewer lines can cause a multitude of consequences, including disgusting sewer backups, pest infestations, foul odors, mold formation, and other issues that affect the health and safety of your home and family.

Sewage Blocks And Backups

If your toilet backs up when you flush it or water backs up in sink or bathtub drains, the problem could be in a single drain or in your main sewer line. Sewage backups are typically caused by a blockage somewhere in the sewer line and usually occur in the lowest open drain. This problem could be caused by the buildup of flushed materials and remedied with a simple cleaning. If slow drains and backups persist after you've had your pipes cleaned, it could be a sign of deteriorated sewer lines, a misaligned pipe connection, or tree root intrusion that can easily be detected with a sewer video inspection.

Tree Root Intrusions

One of the most common causes of sewer line issues is tree roots, especially if you have large trees anywhere on your property. Small tree roots find their way into tiny sewer line cracks in search of water and cause the pipe to clog as it grows. As roots become larger, they may cause a break from inside the pipe, but they can also crush pipes from the outside.

Corrosion Problems

Older sewer systems made of cast iron pipes provide excellent protection against tree root intrusions, but they're highly prone to rust and corrosion. Corroded pipes eventually collapse, which restricts flow and causes backups.

Sewer Gas Odors

Sanitary sewer systems should be airtight everywhere except the vent stacks on your home's roof. You shouldn't smell any foul sewer gas odors in or around your home. If you do, there's a crack in your sewer lines and sewer gas where it shouldn't be. Prolonged exposure to sewer gas can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, sinus infections, and other unhealthy consequences.

Mold Dangers

Sewer line breaks behind the walls in your home cause increased humidity, which could lead to dangerous mold growth. Eventually, you'll notice mold on the walls and/or ceilings where the pipes are broken. Mold in your home can cause a slew of health issues, especially if someone is allergic to mold or suffers from asthma, and it can damage your home's structure.

Rodent Problems

If you've suddenly developed a persistent problem with rodents invading your home and standard pest control tactics don't solve it, you may be suffering from another consequence of a sewer line break. Although it may seem an unlikely entry point, rats can squeeze through an opening in your sewer line as small as a quarter and enter your home to spread life-threatening diseases.

Insect Infestations

Cockroaches, palmetto bugs, and other insects get through small cracks in your sewer system even more easily than rats. While you can treat infestations with a pest control company, this only solves the problem temporarily. If you have a damaged sewer line, you must address this entry point to rid your home from invading bugs. Cockroach infestations are especially dangerous because they can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks, especially in children.

Foundation Issues And Sinkholes

Sewer link leaks beneath your home's foundation left untreated for a prolonged time period can cause a void to develop beneath the foundation or in the yard. This could lead to extreme consequences, including indentations or dips in your lawn, foundation issues like severe settling and/or cracks in the slab, and even sinkholes. Foundation issues put your home and your family's safety at serious risk.

Schedule A Professional Sewer Line Inspection

Sewer line inspections are the quickest, easiest way to diagnose problems in your sewer pipes. All Jersey Home Inspection in South Plainfield, New Jersey, understands the sewer line issues that could impact Middlesex County-area homes. We offer standard home inspections, and you can add an extensive survey of your underground sewer system for an additional fee. We insert a sewer inspection camera into your sewer line to identify the precise location of any problems so they can be found and fixed faster and more cost-effectively than other leak detection methods. Plumbing systems can fail unexpectedly, but there are often early warning signs of sewer line issues that you shouldn't ignore. Contact us at (908) 917-0194 to schedule your sewer line inspection today.