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What Are The Signs Of A Sewer System Backup?

Sewer System Backup
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Abacked-up sewer system is not only a messy and smelly problem, it also poses a serious health risk to your family. Few people can forget the awful smell that accompanies a sewer backup, but are you familiar with the other, less obvious signs?

Despite regular plumbing and sewer maintenance, some sewer systems are prone to backing up and causing problems. There are several things we can do to prevent this issue, but we should all be familiar with the signs that indicate a sewer problem so it can be fixed before causing too much damage.

Signs Of A Sewer System Backup

Even an amateur, with zero plumbing experience, should be able to identify signs that the sewer system is backing up, some of these signs include:

Gurgling Sounds From The Toilets And Drains

Toilets and drains should not be making any noise, so if you hear a gurgling sound when flushing the toilet, or draining the sink or tub, schedule a sewer inspection. Gurgling sounds are caused by air bubbles in the sewer system, caused by a blockage and they are often visible in the toilet bowl after flushing.

Bad Odors From Drains

You can expect mild odors from the kitchen sink, but the bathroom and laundry drains should never smell bad. Any unusual odors from the shower, tub, bathroom sink, could indicate a sewer backup.

Slow Moving Drains

Slow-moving drains, especially if there is more than one, usually indicate a problem in the sewer line. If left unattended, the slow drain will drain slower and slower, and eventually, stop draining and back up.

Water Backs-Up In The Shower Or Tub

Any water back-up in the shower or tub indicates a blockage further down the sewer line.

One Plumbing Fixture Impacts Another

If you flush the toilet, and water comes out of the shower drain, or you open a faucet, and the toilet backs up, you have a blockage in the sewer system.

Sewage Coming Out Of Cleanout Pipe

The cleanout pipe, situated outside, is closed off with a cap. This pipe gives plumbers access to the main sewerage system and is necessary for sewerage maintenance. Any sewage coming out of the cleanout pipe will indicate a blockage further down the line.

The Toilet Backs-Up

If your toilet will not flush or backs up/overflows when flushed, it is a sure sign of a sewer line blockage. This is, for health and sanitation reasons, classified as a plumbing emergency.

Mold Growth

Broken or leaking sewer pipes release fluid and increase humidity levels, making the area a breeding ground for mold. All mold growth should be investigated as it could indicate a problem in the sewer line that will eventually result in a sewage backup.

Changes In Lawn Or Driveway Appearance

A broken sewer line will allow raw sewage to leak out. Any unusual water pooling, lush spots (sewerage is rich in bacteria and minerals), marshy patches, or sinkholes need to be investigated. If the sewer under the driveway is damaged, it can cause indentations in the driveway pavers.

What Causes A Sewer To Back-up?

Although there are many causes of sewer backups, it often starts with clogged drains. Some common causes of sewer backups include:

  • Old sewer lines that collapse or decay.
  • Oil, fat, or grease build-up in the kitchen drains.
  • Flushing feminine hygiene, moist wipes, and paper towels down the toilet.
  • Shower drains are blocked with hair and soap suds.
  • Severe storms damage and cause a backup in the city sewer system.
  • Tree roots grow around and eventually invade the sewer line. Professional rooters can fix root damage in sewer lines.

Why You Should Never Ignore Signs Of A Sewer Backup

Any signs of a sewer backup, no matter how insignificant, must be investigated. Ignoring the signs could lead to large, expensive issues later. Problems that can occur because of a sewer backup include:

  • The area is contaminated by raw sewage. This poses an enormous health risk. The building will need to be professionally cleaned and disinfected.
  • Rodents and insects are attracted to sewerage. You will need to consult an insect and rodent exterminator.
  • Broken underground sewerage pipes can cause damage to the building’s foundation.
  • Your garden, lawn, or driveway may suffer damage, needing professional advice and repair.
  • Sewer system back-ups could cause damage to plumbing fixtures, necessitating repair or replacement.

Is Your Sewer Backed-Up? “Art Can Fix It”

Any signs of a sewer backup, constitute a plumbing emergency. Art Rooter, Sewer & Drain Cleaning have been trusted by the residents of South Florida since 1983.

Don’t allow a minor drain blockage to escalate into a plumbing emergency. Call us at 1-833-470-2880 for all your plumbing, drain, and sewer needs.


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