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A damaged sewer pipe is not a problem that can be (or should be) ignored for long. If not handled immediately, a broken sewer pipe issue can magnify and result in expensive damages to your property. It can also have possibly harmful health consequences for household members.
One of the ways you can protect yourself is by knowing the top signs of a damaged sewer pipe, so you know when to call a plumber. We are going to break down all the typical signs so you can act quickly if one shows up.
Common Causes of Sewer Pipe Damage
Unfortunately, there are many ways your sewer pipe can be damaged. Some of the most common causes are:
- Tree roots grow into your sewer pipe
- Soil changes cause your sewer pipe to shift and break
- Earthquakes that move or break your sewer lines
- Home renovation projects that accidentally hit the sewer pipes
- Corrosion of the metal in the pipes
- Clogs that cause pressure build-up in the pipes and an eventual burst
If one of these has happened to your sewer pipes, you might start to notice one or more of the following signs.
1. Sewage Backups & Blockages
A sewage backup is usually due to a blockage somewhere in the pipeline. If the backup is happening only in one drain, there is likely a blockage associated with that pipe. If you notice a backup in several drains when you run water down the tub or sink or flush the toilet, it might be a sign of a problem with the main sewer line.
A plumber will likely first clean your pipes to try to clear them of blockages. If the sewage backups continue to occur after a cleaning, you may have broken or deteriorating sewer lines. If this is the case, your plumber may return and conduct a sewer video inspection to find cracks or breaks in the sewer line.
2. Sewer Gas Odor
One of the most apparent signs of a crack in your sewer pipe is the smell of sewage in the house. Sewer pipes are built to be airtight, and there should never be a smell of sewage in the home. You will need to call an emergency plumber immediately as this problem is dangerous. If not addressed right away, bacteria and sewage can leak into your water supply, which can make you and your family members very sick.
3. Mold Growth
If you’re noticing mold growth on your walls, it can be because of a break in the sewer lines behind your walls. Mold grows at a humidity level of 55% or higher. A cracked sewer pipe behind a wall will quickly raise the humidity level to the point that aids mold growth. If your mold growth is accompanied by sewer odor, then it’s time to call a professional to inspect your sewer pipes.
4. An Extra Green Lawn
Have you noticed that your lawn is extra luscious this year compared to previous years? And you haven’t done anything different to justify the change? One possible explanation is a damaged sewer pipe. Sewage is an excellent fertilizer, and if it’s leaking from your sewer pipe into the soil, you will often see a brighter, greener lawn.
It might feel weird to call a plumber because your lawn seems “too healthy,” but trust us, you won’t regret you did. And, your plumber will only be impressed with your attention to detail.
5. Indents in the Lawn
Another way your lawn may be showing you that you have a damaged sewer pipe is the presence of indentations. If your sewer line is cracked, it may be saturating the ground and causing the soil to shift. This will often cause your lawn to have a dip or an indent above the broken sewer line.
6. A Rodent Problem
Interestingly enough, a rodent infestation can actually be a sign of a sewer pipeline issue. Rats live in sewers and can travel from the city sewage line to your home’s sewage line. An average rat can squeeze itself into a sewer pipe the size of a quarter and just might end up crawling behind your walls.
Along with being a plumbing problem, a rodent infestation is a serious issue, as they can spread diseases to your household members. Many of these diseases don’t even require you to come into direct contact with the rat. For example, breathing in dust that has been contaminated by rat urine or droppings can spread infections.
If you hear rats crawling around in your walls, you might need both a pest exterminator and a plumber.
7. Cracks, Settlement, and Sinkholes in the Foundation
Sadly, if you’re noticing cracks in your foundation, you’ve likely had a damaged sewer line for a while.
If a main line running under a slab of foundation develops a leak that isn’t dealt with for an extended period, it can cause a void underneath. That void underneath the foundation or settlement of your home can be particularly damaging. In some extreme cases, the void will lead to a sinkhole.
If you’re noticing foundation-related problems for your home, such as slanting or a dipping, call the plumber right away. You may also need to consult with a foundation repair specialist. Unfortunately, if the slanting or dipping is already present, it’s likely going to be a big project to fix. That is why it’s so important to know the early warning signs, so you can avoid a damaged sewer pipe progressing to the foundation problems.
blueFrog Plumbing For All Your Plumbing Needs in Rockwall, TX
The residents of Rockwall, TX, have come to rely on blueFrog Plumbing for all of their plumbing issues. If you suspect you have a damaged sewer pipe, you can call BlueFrog for an inspection. We specialize in sewer and water line repairs.
At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain we are happy to address any plumbing concerns you have and our plumbers are available 24/7 for emergency plumbing repairs. Contact us today for your next appointment.