The main sewer line is one of the most important pipes under your home. Without this large pipe that collects waste, the rest of your plumbing systems are useless. Homeowners tend to neglect this pipe until observing signs of trouble, such as sewage coming out of pipe in yard.
Sewer line problems are important to diagnose in time. When left untreated, they can cause extensive damage to your home followed by the need of costly repairs.
Fortunately, there are signs that indicate sewer line problems. Attentive homeowners can repair damage before the situation gets out of control.
In this article we will describe the two most common problems affecting sewer lines. Keep on reading to find out what are the warning signs and how you can fix those problems.
Clogged Sewer Line and Sewage Coming Out of Pipe in Yard
Clogs can occur inside your sewer line in spite of its larger diameter. When the main sewer line is clogged, water will have no escape and come back through your fixtures.
You may notice sewage coming out of pipe in yard, too.
There are multiple signs that warn you of a clogged sewer line:
- A gurgling sound coming from your drains;
- Toilet water bubbling;
- Water backing up from your tub or shower; the water is often dirty;
- Toilet paper coming out of outside drain;
- Slow drains, as sewer rarely becomes blocked all at once and the clog develops slowly over time;
- Foul odor that indicates decaying organic matter in your sewer line. The foul odor will emanate from drains every time you use them.
But what causes a clogged sewer line? Being aware of the causes enables you to prevent this serious plumbing issue:
- Tree roots scavenging your sewer line;
- Debris such as toilet paper and feminine hygiene products;
- Small obstructions being made worse by larger debris;
- Pouring cooking oil into your drains as fat hardens and creates obstruction.
Cracked sewer line
Cracked sewer line is a serious issue as the problem can go unnoticed for a long time. It’s also bad because often the only fix is replacing the broken pipe.
However, there are some subtle signs indicating a cracked sewer line:
- Pest control problems. Cockroaches and other insects will find their way into your home through cracked pipes;
- Mold and mildew which develop when you have sewer lines travelling through the walls;
- Water leaks in areas that don’t make any sense as sewer lines can go even through ceilings;
- Lush spots in the lawn. Rapid growth indicates that grass is being fed by water and organic materials from a leaking sewer line. Sewage coming out of pipe in yard will cause plants to thrive.
- Puddles on your lawn caused by sewer line leak in yard.
- Terrible smell around your house
There are three degrees of fracture that can occur in a sewer line:
- Minor crack – does not affect the functioning of the sewer line. However, it can become bigger in time. This is why a pipe with minor fractures needs to be inspected regularly.
- Moderate crack – this type of fracture can have an impact on the working of your sewer line. This is already the case for planning and budgeting for repairs. More frequent inspections are recommended.
- Severe cracks – these cracks compromise the functioning of your sewer line and can lead to structural failure of the pipe. Repair a severe crack as soon as you become aware of it.
When it comes to sewer line leak in yard, there can be multiple causes:
- An aging sewer line – older types of pipes used in sewer line such as clay or Orangeburg can collapse unexpectedly;
- Tree roots growing through the main sewer line. PVC pipes are more resistant to tree root invasion, but are not invincible either;
- Poor original installation – if your sewer line has not been installed by a professional, it can fail in time;
- Poor soil bedding – if the soil underneath the pipe does not provide good support, the sewer line can collapse;
- Deterioration due to the age of the pipe – clay pipes last for 50-60 years, Orangeburg lasts for 30-50 years, and PVC pipes have a lifespan of 100 years.
- Ground movements such as earthquake can also damage underground pipes
How do you fix a clogged sewer line?
Although unpleasant due to water backing up and foul odor coming from drains, this issue is relatively simple to solve. Don’t ignore sewage coming out of pipe in yard and solve the problem!
Plungers don’t work well when it comes to clogged sewer lines. Standard plumbing can be useless in such cases. However, before you call a plumber, there are some things you can try to prevent the situation from getting worse. With a bit of luck, you can even eliminate the clog yourself:
- Turn off the water
The last thing you need is draining more water into a clogged line. You may not even be aware of it – it can be a washing machine on a timer or kids using a sink.
You need to identify the water main or the line that supplies your home with water. Look for a large wheel or lever, near your house’s water meter. Turn it until the water is entirely closed off.
- Run hot water through your pipes
This method can work if you have a partial clog. You can do this once a week as a preventative measure to avoid fully clogged sewer line.
- Open up the sewer cleanout pipe in yard
The entryway to the main sewer line enables you to eliminate clogs without calling a plumber. That is, if you have a cleanout pipe.
This pipe is found outside the front of your house, between the house and the city sewer line. Unscrew the cap to open it. You can eliminate the clog with a power washer, with a plumber’s snake, or with a homemade or chemical cleaning solution.
If you don’t manage to eliminate the clog yourself, call a professional plumber. They can inspect the interior of your main sewer line with a special camera and locate the clog precisely.
How do you replace a cracked or collapsed sewer line?
A collapsed sewer line is a plumbing emergency. The main sewer line is a vital part of your home’s wastewater system. When the sewer line is broken, water goes into your lawn, under pavements, and near your home’s foundation, causing damage. There are two ways to repair this, a traditional and a modern one:
For a long time, the only solution for broken sewer line was digging, exposing the damaged pipe, and replacing it. The steps of this type of repair included:
- Diagnosing the problem;
- Determining the probable location of the collapsed pipe;
- Digging up the pipe in the problem area;
- Purchasing replacement pipe;
- Removing the broken pieces;
- Cleaning the ends of the existing a new pipe to ensure a good bond;
- Fitting the replacement;
- Letting the entire assembly to dry;
- Running water through the pipe to make sure there are no leaks.
- Trenchless re-piping
Digging up a trench in your yard is an unpleasant task. It is messy, it disturbs your lawn and can intersect with other nearby structures. Thinking how extensive a digging job can be can make you feel overwhelmed. Everybody dreads the idea of ripping apart their entire yard.
This is why ingenious plumbers have created a way to repair pipes without digging. This way you will be able to preserve the landscape you have worked so much on. This is how this amazing process works:
- Initial pipe inspection – a professional inspects the pipe using a small camera connected to a video monitor. The pipe can be accessed through the sewer line before it leaves the home or through a small hole you can dig in the yard.
- Cleaning – a liner will be added to the inside surface of the pipe. Prior cleaning is required so the liner adheres properly. Intruding tree roots can be eliminated with a rotating blade that can cut through wood.
- Installing the lining – the liner looks like a deflated fire hose and is coated in a special epoxy. The plumber will place it inside the sewer line. A long tube is inflated inside the liner, pressing it against the existing pipe. After the new liner is cured and hardened, you have a new intact sewer pipe.
- Final inspection – a video inspection is carried out to ensure the repair meets standards. The access hole is then filled and the relined pipe can be used for a minimum of other 50 years.
If the sewer line is collapsed, a revolutionary method called pipe bursting can be used. The cone-shaped bit destroys the old pipe and lays a new pipe behind the bit.
Whether your main sewer line is clogged or broken, there are solutions to fix the problem. Don’t be afraid of sewage coming out of pipe in yard. A professional plumber can handle even the most difficult repairs.