How to Tell if You Have a Main Sewer Line Clog

Household drains get clogged from time to time. This is just one of the minor headaches homeowners (and even renters) occasionally have to deal with. But how do you know when it is a simple matter of cleaning out some debris from your sink or bathtub drain, and when the problem is much more serious: a blockage in your main sewer line?

Warning Signs of a Main Sewer Line Clog

The first sign that you may have a blocked main sewer line is that the problem will show up in more than one place. If your kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and bathtub are all draining slower than usual, it is unlikely that you have separate clogs in each pipe. Most likely the blockage is further down where all of the pipes join together into your main sewer line.

As the blockage gets worse, you may find water backing up out of your drains. This is a telltale sign that the main line is blocked. Flushing the toilet, for instance may cause water to back up out of the bathtub drain. You also may hear a gurgling noise in your pipes or see air bubbles rising in the toilet.

You can verify that the main line is clogged by finding the cleanout cap. This is a short, usually white pipe with a round cap that is most often located just outside the perimeter of the house. Sometimes it is easy to find, but sometimes it is obscured by bushes or even buried under mulch or other landscaping. If you have an older house, it may not be equipped with a cleanout cap. If you can find your cleanout pipe, remove the cap using a wrench or similar tool. If there is standing water in the pipe, or if water gushes out when you open it, you know you have a main sewer line clog.

What to Do About Your Main Sewer Line Clog

If water is backing up into your house, whether through your sink, bathtub, or basement floor drain, shut off the main water supply. Opening the cleanout cap will also allow water to escape into the yard instead of backing up into your house.

Unless you are especially adventurous or are a plumbing expert, it’s best to leave a main sewer line clog to the professionals. We offer our sewer line services in Port Charlotte, North Port, Sarasota, Englewood, Venice, Punta Gorda, Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Arcadia, Florida. Give us a call now for your free sewer line service estimate!

Like most things, the best way to deal with a main sewer line clog is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Avoid flushing heavy items like paper towels, feminine hygiene products, or other non-biodegradable items down the toilet. Also, it is recommended that once a month you fill your sinks to the top and let them drain. The resulting water pressure helps to clear out any debris that may eventually lead to a blockage.