3 Signs Your Sewer Line Is Clogged

Not sure if your main sewer line is clogged or if it’s just a regular clog?

Well, if the problem is your main sewer line, you’ll notice these 3 signs:

  1. Multiple drains are backed up
  2. Water overflows into different plumbing fixtures
  3. Drainage in sewer clean out

Let’s take a closer look at each of these signs.

Have you confirmed that you have a clogged sewer line?

First, shut off your main water valve then contact us for help. We’ll send over an experienced plumber ASAP.

Sign #1: Multiple backed up lines

You’ll know you have a clog in the main sewer line because it will eventually back up other plumbing fixtures in the home. If it is just an issue with a smaller branch line, it will just be an isolated problem in one appliance.

You see, your home’s sewage system is set up like a tree: there are multiple drain lines from different water appliances that all feed into one main “trunk”. So, when there’s a clog in the main trunk, the water draining from the smaller branch lines has nowhere to go, except back.

Not sure if you have multiple backed up lines? Well, do you hear all the following plumbing fixtures making a gurgling noise?

  • Toilets
  • Bathtubs
  • Showers
  • Sinks

If so, you most likely have a main sewer line clog. As wastewater slowly moves past the clog it hits air pockets, forcing air bubbles to the surface of the water (which creates gurgling sounds). The more water you use, the more pronounced this sound will be. It can also produce a strong sewage smell as the blockage worsens.

Sign #2: Water overflows into different plumbing fixtures

If you have a main sewer line clog, water will back up and start to overflow into different plumbing fixtures. This happens because water from one branch line tries to drain away, but the main sewer clog blocks it and forces it to back up into other smaller drains.

Remember that overflowing water seeks the lowest point, so water fixtures in the basement or lower floors will usually be the first ones to overflow.

Not sure if this is happening in your home? Here are a few easy ways to test for this:

  • Flush your toilet, then check if water gurgles or comes up your tub or shower drain.
  • Use your washing machine, then look for overflow in your shower drain or toilet.
  • Turn on your bathroom sink and watch if toilet water rises or bubbles up.

See water overflowing after any of these tests? Then you most likely have a sewer line clog.

Sign #3: Drainage in sewer clean out

Your sewer clean out is marked by a circular plastic or concrete lid labeled “Clean Out”, but if you have a home built before 1978, you may not have one.

Once you find your clean out, remove the cap. If you see sewer water flowing out of the pipe or standing in the pipe, this also indicates you have a sewer line clog.

Have a clogged sewer line? Turn off your main water supply ASAP

Shutting off the main water supply valve will stop excess water or sewage from flooding your home.

To turn off your main water supply, you’ll first need to locate the valve. This is usually located in:

  • The basement or crawlspace
  • An area close to your water heater
  • The garage

Water supply valves can vary by home. Turn the knob clockwise to shut it off, or it has a red handle valve, simply turn it horizontally to be in the “Off” position.

Sometimes your main water valve is located in a water meter box outside your home near the street. You'll see a water meter valve that you can use a wrench to turn clockwise to shut off.

Call a plumbing professional

Next, you should call a professional sewer line cleaner. Most experts use a 2-step process to clear a sewer line clog:

Step 1: The plumber will run a drain auger (also called a “plumber’s snake”) through the sewer clean out to clear the clog.

Step 2: If the auger doesn’t clear the clog, the plumber will use a fiber optic sewer line camera to look down the sewer line. This will identify what caused the clog and determine what needs to be done to clear it. Usually, the plumbers then use water jetting technology to blast through and clear the clog.

Need your sewer line cleaned? Plumbing Today has locations in Sarasota, Tampa, Orlando, & Naples and serves the surrounding areas. Schedule an appointment or call us today (800) 226-2636.

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