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What Happens When You Ignore Sewer Repairs

Sewer Repairs
Reading Time: 3 minutes

All plumbing fixtures, pipes, and drains are connected to the sewer. We can easily come to the logical conclusion that the sewer pipe is the most important piece of plumbing in your home and necessary sewer repairs should never be delayed.

What Causes A Sewer To Block?

There are a number of things that would cause your sewer to block, some of which you can prevent and some that are out of your control. You can prevent the improper use of your plumbing fixtures but outside or environmental factors causing the drain to clog or collapse, may be completely out of your control. Here are a few reasons that the pipe may block:

  • Pipe Damage

    This could be the result of shifting soil, root intrusion, heavy traffic or very heavy construction equipment applying pressure on the pipes from above ground.

  • Pipe Corrosion

    This is commonly the cause of pipe damage in older pipes.

  • Leaking Joints

    These leaking joints allow water and sewage to escape and soil to enter the pipe.

  • Sagging Sewer Line

    When a section of the pipe has sunk due to the condition of the soil, the lowest point of the pipe starts to collect paper and wastage and will eventually block.

  • Infiltrating Tree Roots

    Tree roots grow and search for water. If the pipe is clay or a porous material, or if the joints are loose and leaking, the roots will latch onto the pipe, continue to grow, and will eventually cause the pipe to block and break.

  • Debris Flushing

    Toilets are not a trash can. They are only designed for human waste and toilet paper disposal. Any other waste thrown in the toilet may cause the sewerage pipe to block.

  • Pouring Grease Down the Drain

    This is by far the largest culprit. We are taught that pouring grease down the drain followed by hot water, will flush the grease away. What we don’t realize is that the grease hardens when it cools down again and repeating this process will cause grease to build up on the pipe walls and eventually completely block the pipe.

Warning Signs Of A Blocked Sewer Pipe

When you suspect that you have a blocked sewer pipe, do not attempt DIY. Calling a professional plumber to determine the cause and unblock the drain will be your least stressful option. There are a couple of warning signs that should cause you to suspect a blockage.

  • Your drains often back up. A good example is when your toilet continues to fill up more than normal after flushing.
  • Multiple fixtures are blocked at the same time. If you are unsure if it is the toilet or shower that is blocked, it’s probably a blocked sewer pipe.
  • You get an unusual reaction from your plumbing fixtures. When you flush the toilet does water come out of your shower drain? Does the water in your sink or toilet bubble? Are you hearing a gurgling noise from your drain or toilet? All these are signs that your sewer pipe is blocked.
  • There may be lawn changes. If there are patches of lawn that are always wet or lush green despite no rain, or your lawn is indented in places, it is a sign that the sewer running under that section of lawn is leaking.
  • The low water level in your toilet is a very obvious sign and needs immediate attention.
  • You suddenly have a higher than normal water bill.
  • Your water pressure is very low.
  • You detect a sewer gas smell. This is a very obvious sign as the sewer pipe should be airtight so any smell is a sign of damage.

The Consequences Of Ignoring The Warning Signs

Once you suspect a blocked sewage pipe, ignoring it and hoping it will resolve by itself is not an option. There are dangerous consequences to ignoring the blockage.

  • Rodents

    They live in sewers. They migrate from the city’s main pipes and need the smallest crack to access your drain. They bring with them serious diseases and contaminate the area with their urine and droppings. You then have the added cost of hiring an exterminator to rid you of these dangerous pests.

  • Insect Infestation

    Cockroaches, palmetto bugs and sewer flies, to mention a few, will easily fit through any crack. They thrive on damp areas and rapidly reproduce. You will end up with a very serious infestation in a very short time and this could lead to long term respiratory issues especially in asthma sufferers and children in the developmental stages.

  • Mold

    The leaking water seeping into the walls, floors and ceilings, will over time cause mold. Requiring only a 55% level of humidity to thrive, mold causes serious health problems in all ages.

  • Damage to Paving

    A leaking pipe will over time damage the paving above it, incurring another cost to repair.

  • Cracks in Walls and Foundations

    Any underground leak will over time displace the soil and this will result in a disturbed foundation and cracked walls.

Don’t wait until all the drains in your home back up at the same time because of a blocked sewer drain. Once you notice the signs, the longer you wait before calling your local plumber from Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric, the worse the damage will be and the more it will cost to repair.


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