First Signs a Sewer Line is Starting to Clog

Until you have experienced it, you may not take notice of the telltale warning signs of your house approaching a sewer line clog. We expect our modern conveniences to function without needing our attention but unseen problems tend to hide some of our biggest issues. Responding early to these first signs can help save the home from further damage.

Common Signs of a Sewage Line Clog

If you suspect a clog, you may notice 1 or more of these signs:

Water overflowing or backing up into other fixtures

More than one drain backing up

Drainage appearing in the cleanout

Think of Your Drain Lines as a Tree

It helps to understand that your plumbing system is set up like a main tree trunk with many branches; that would be a main sewage line with many drain lines emanating from the different appliances or fixtures such as toilets, tubs, showers, washing machines, disposals, sinks and so on.

When a main line is clogged and the branches or other appliances are draining, or trying to, the water can mysteriously come back up elsewhere such as the toilet or the tub. This is often  accompanied by a telltale gurgling or bubbling sound, the result of water hitting the air pockets within the clog as some of it filters through, forcing the air back up the line along with the water that cannot bypass the clog. The all-too-familiar aroma of sewage may also waft up with the air bubbles, an unmistakable sign of a clog.

Water seeks the lowest point with its entire surface seeking an equal level. This means you may find the first evidence of overflow in the basement or lower floors of the house. Generally, all fixtures that meet that same level will share the overflow.

Ways to Test for a Clog

If you suspect a clog and want to test the water in your line, try these methods:

Run water in either the bathroom sink or tub and check to see if the water level rises in the toilet along with bubbles.

Flush the toilet that causes water to back up in either the tub or sink accompanied by a gurgling noise.

When using the washing machine, check to see if water rises elsewhere such as in the toilet, tub, or sinks.

Another place to check is the cleanout, a standing pipe with a cap often found out in the yard. If after removing the cap you see water flowing from or standing inside the pipe, this is an indication that a clog is preventing the flow of water.

Sewer Inspection Can Save You on Sewer Repair

It is not uncommon to discover tree roots invading the main line in your plumbing system. This is due to their uncanny ability to sense and seek out water. Over time, the roots wrap tightly around a line until they crack it open, inviting themselves right on in getting a little too comfy inside your pipeline.

The bad news is this type of clog requires more sophisticated tools and methods to clear and repair the problem. The good news is your local sewer repair specialist comes equipped with sewer inspection, sewer repair tools, and equipment to make quick work of fixing your clog.

Methods Used to Clear Main Line Clogs

Camera Inspection

Today’s sewer repair technician has high-tech equipment to help identify problems hidden in the pipeline, rarely needing to excavate. Camera Inspection allows experts to send a camera into the line to detect the type of clog and level of damage, if any, and determine the best method of fixing the problem with the least amount of property disruption.


You may have tried to snake your drains to no avail. When a main line is clogged, this is of little use unless you want to risk scratching the porcelain, in the case of snaking the toilet. Instead, what is needed is the series of connecting pipes with a claw-like end on it that can be fed deep into the line where it can rapidly spin in one direction: breaking up, catching, and pulling out the clog. This is called rodding and is particularly useful in breaking down and cutting through a root bound clog.

Hydro Jetting

Another method your sewer repair specialist may use is hydro jetting. This method is useful in the case of a buildup of grease or other deposits that can line the pipe, reducing the space that would otherwise allow the free-flowing passage of water. Hydro jetting uses high-pressure water to force out all that junk that ends up lining your pipes over time.

If you suspect you have a mainline clog after trying these tests or detecting these symptoms, first find the water main and shut it off to prevent any more water flow. Then, call your local sewer technician to come out and quickly evaluate your situation. Let the professionals use their expertise to efficiently locate and repair the clog and any damage that may have occurred.

If you’d like to reach a qualified sewer technician, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 847-374 -0372

Comments 0

Leave a Comment