How do I tell if I have a main sewer clog?

This is an important question because a main sewer line clog can cause raw sewage to back up the drains and overflow into your home, causing costly water damage.

Look for these 3 warning signs that your main sewer line is clogged.

1) Are multiple drains backed up:

  • Toilet
  • Bathtub
  • Showers

Are any or all of these drains making a gurgling sound and back up with water?

If so chances are, you have a main sewer line clog.

2) Water backs up in odd places when using plumbing fixtures:
Try these things:

Check the main sewer clean out outside the house.

Flush your toilet—Does water start gurgling up your tub or shower drain? That means water is trying to leave, but is blocked by a sewer line clog. So it goes back up into the lowest point, which is usually a shower drain or a bathtub.

Check your bathtub or shower to see if there is standing water as these are the lowest plumbing fixture they are usually the first place the backed up water will show.

Run your bathroom sink—Does your toilet or bathtub water rise or bubble up? if so, you have a sewer line clog.

3) Main sewer clean out:
“What the heck is a main sewer clean out?” you might be thinking. Well, it’s a white or black pipe with a screw cap that provides access to the sewer line so clogs can easily be cleaned out.

To find the main sewer clean out, look around the sides of your home near the bushes or just under the soil it should be located fairly close to the house or building. If you have a home that was built before the 1980’s, you may not have a sewer line clean out.

Once you find a clean out, screw off or pull off the cap carefully, if sewer water is flowing up and out of the pipe or standing in the pipe, this confirms you have a main sewer line clog.

Clearing a clogged main sewer line:

  • First, DON’T use anymore water and if you may need to shut off your main water supply to your home. To do that, look for the main water shut off valve, which is usually located:

In the basement, crawlspace, close to the water heater, the garage or mechanical room

There’s usually a 2-step process most professional sewer line cleaners take to clear a sewer line clog:

  • Run a power plumbing snake through the main sewer clean out if accessible or remove the toilet and clean for the toilet elbow to cut out the blockage or..
  • Use a fiber optic sewer line camera to look down the sewer line to locate the problem and figure out the next step.

The main sewer line clog could be caused by tree roots growing through the joints of older underground pipes, the wrong items being flushed, old pipes not being able to handle the traffic – especially if you have a lot of company over. These answers are usually not easy to identify until a fiber optic sewer line camera is utilized.

Do you need a sewer line cleaner?
Call the Pro’s at CALLAWAY Plumbing and Drains Ltd. they can confirm it for you, and If you do have a main sewer line clog, we can unclog it, too.

Help is just a Call-A-Way!