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June 29, 2011
Of all the drains in your home, your main sewer line is the most important. Every other drain is connected to it, so when you experience problems here, toilets and other drains inside your home will begin to backup into the house.
There are many reasons a main sewer line can back up. We've highlighted a few reasons below, as well as what may need to be done to repair them.
Broken Sewer Lines
PVC, cast iron and clay pipes can all eventually age to the point where they wear out. When this happens, raw sewage can begin to leak into your yard rather than going into your septic or sewer system. Before too long, you'll know this is a potential problem because of the tell tale sewer odors you'll begin to smell. If you suspect this could be happening to your main line, you should contact a professional immediately. Aside from odor, dangerous gases and bacteria could be seeping into your home that can make your family very sick. A professional can perform a video camera inspection of your sewer line to better pinpoint the cause of the problem.
Tree roots growing into your sewer line is a common problem that takes awhile to develop. For older homes with large trees in or near their yard, roots will often find their way into the main sewer line. Over time, the roots will grow to a point where they will completely block the line, causing backups inside your home. A licensed plumber can remove the roots with an electric auger. If the damage is severe enough, a main sewer line replacement may be necessary.
When your sewer is backing up into your home, and you can confidently rule out the possibility of root damage, it's likely that somewhere in your line, there is a clog. Many things can cause this including cooking grease and oils that build up on the insides of pipes, and foreign objects like diapers or other materials not intended to be flushed down a drain. Again, serious backups will require the diagnosis of a plumber, who after an inspection, can determine the best drain clearing method to help get things flowing again.
Depending on the severity and type of problem you're experiencing there are several solutions that may be recommended to you. For less severe problems, using natural enzymes or a drain rooter are possible fixes. Natural enzymes are a clean non-toxic way to clear your clogged drains and drain rooters are minimally invasive tools used to remove a clog while making drain cleaning a much faster and cleaner process. More severe damage to your main line and sewer pipes might warrant a new sewer pipe liner, or full sewer line replacement. A qualified expert can help you determine which method will be most effective.