What kind of problems can a home sewer line encounter?

It may be gross to think about, but your home sewer line is the unsung hero of your house. After all, all that water has to go somewhere, and the sewer line carries it away to a larger sewer. When something goes wrong with this line, it means bad things for your home.

In this blog post, we’ll run through some of the most common threats your home sewer line faces, and how you can either prevent or detect these problems in advance, allowing you to call Air Control for emergency plumbing service.

Plumber removing sections of an old clogged clay ceramic sewer pipe.

#1. Homeowner-caused blockage

Everything you put down your sink, shower, or toilet has to travel through your home sewer line to the sewer yourself. It’s pretty good at handling that, but there are some things it can’t handle very well. Let’s dive in:

Grease and oils

As grease and oils travel down your pipes into the sewer line, some of them begin to stick to the interior walls of the pipe. Over time, the repeated addition of more grease and more oil begins to combine into a hardened mass inside the pipe.

With enough grease, this mass expands to the point where it cuts off the ability for wastewater to move from your home to the main sewer. At this juncture, the wastewater has nowhere to go except back up into your home. This is a homeowner’s worst nightmare: a sewer backup.

This is one of the main reasons that you should not put grease or oils down the sink, but instead put them into containers (such as mason jars), let the grease solidify, and then throw it away with the trash.

Other trash

In general, do not treat your garbage disposal or toilet like a trash can. Plastic items sent down your sink can potentially get stuck in your sewer line, making it all the more likely that you’ll have a blockage in the future.

#2. Fractured or cracked pipe

Nothing lasts forever, and—in older homes—your sewer line will eventually start to deteriorate. Clay pipes only last 50-60 years; PVC pipes last about 100 years. However, there are a number of elements that can hasten problems with sewer pipes, including seismic activity.

The first sign of a cracked sewer line will probably be a wet spot in your yard that shouldn’t be there. Double-check that there’s no yard irrigation line in that area, or any other reason for moist earth.

You may also smell raw sewage in the area of the cracked pipe. If these two things are present in combination, it’s likely that you have a cracked sewer pipe.

#3. Thirsty roots can do damage

Rainfall is scarce here in Lake Havasu City. Trees and plants in your yard are desperately searching for water, and their roots go deep.

We don’t think about plants as active things, but they can will their roots toward any form of moisture given enough time. If that source of moisture underground happens to be a small fracture in your sewer pipe, that works for the plants.

As the roots greedily absorb the water at the pipe, they’ll often grow into and around the pipe, cracking it further. Eventually, the roots will block enough of the outflow of the pipe to cause the same problems as the grease blockage outlined above.

Protect or fix your home sewer line

If you suspect that your home sewer line either has cracked, is blocked, or is having other trouble, call Air Control Home Services. We provide emergency plumbing repair here in Lake Havasu City and Mohave County.

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