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Is It Time for a Sewer Line Replacement?

Have you been putting off calling a plumber, even though you know it’s needed? Putting it off for too long can turn a minor hassle into a major headache, especially if you need a major repair done, such as a sewer line replacement. But how do you know the difference? Here are six clues that your sewer line might be the culprit.

Multiple or Chronically Clogged Drains

If you have just one clogged drain, most likely the problem is with just that drain. But if you have seen two or more slow or clogged drains popping up throughout the house, chances are you have a problem with the sewer line that serves the entire house. It’s fairly common for roots from large neighboring trees to find their way into sewer lines, and tree roots can go farther than you think, compromising your entire sewer line.

Water Backs Up Into Other Drains

If, say, you flush your toilet and find water backing up into your shower, or if you run the washing machine only to find water backing up into the utility sink, you likely have a problem with the sewer line. A severely clogged sewer line will cause water to back up into other fixtures, simply because there is nowhere else for it go quickly enough to make room for the draining water.

Changing Toilet Bowl Levels

On a related note, if you see the levels in your toilet bowl changing, chances are you have an issue with the sewer line. For instance, the toilet bowl might be full now, but next time you look, the level has gone down. This happens because blockages in the sewer line cause the water to drain slowly.

Gurgling Noises

Sometimes you will also hear gurgling noises coming from the drain pipes, such as when you flush the toilet or drain the bathtub. These noises are also associated with problems in the sewer line, and are likely accompanied by bubbling in the water as it drains. If you see and hear this, call your plumber, as these are signs that the water is being forced back up by a slowly draining line.


If your sewer line starts not just draining slowly but backing up badly, you’ll start getting sewer gasses escaping into the house. If there’s a break in the line under the ground, you may also smell sewer gasses around the property, and not only inside.

Green or Soggy Patch in the Lawn

If you notice an exceptionally lush, green patch of grass on your lawn, or worse, if you notice the ground is soggy in certain areas, you may have a broken sewer line under the ground. Because of the danger of spreading bacteria and disease, it is important to call a plumber as soon as possible to locate and fix the problem.

Repair or Replacement?

Some of these symptoms, such as swampy areas in your yard or a foul odor around the property, are an easy call for full sewer line replacement, but what about problems that could just as easily be fixed by repairing or snaking the sewer line? In general, it’s time to replace the line if:

  • You’re having chronic problems. One blockage isn’t a big deal, but if it’s happening over and over again, most likely the line is compromised and needs to be replaced.
  • You have lots of big trees on the property or on neighboring properties. If you have noticed an increase in problems, look to the trees for the reason why. Most likely their roots have found so many openings that it’s just going to keep happening until you replace the line.
  • The camera shows damage to the line. This is when modern technology can really take the guesswork out of plumbing and repair. Have your plumber send a camera down the line to see how serious the situation is.

The Sooner You Call, the Better

If you think you may have a problem with your sewer line, you could avoid some of the nastier problems listed above if you get it taken care of right away. Call Maeser today and we’ll schedule your repair with one of our experienced technicians.

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