Major causes of drain and sewer issues

The sewer or drain lines in your home carry the wastewater from the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room out to the street where it is processed by your local water utility company. Whereas the cold water supply lines coming into your house are pressurized, the sewer lines are not.

Here are some common causes:

  • Mature tree roots. Tree roots can cause havoc with underground pipes, sprinkler lines, cold water supply lines, and sewer lines. There is not much you can do to prevent them from happening unless you plant trees far away from any known water lines. In addition, if there is even the tiniest leak in a water pipe, tree roots will seek out the water and accelerate the damage as it makes its way into the pipes in its quest for water.
  • Corroded old iron lines. It’s a matter of when iron pipes corrode, not if. Houses built prior to the early 1970s commonly used cast iron pipes. The life span of a cast iron pipe is typically 25-30 years.
  • Foundation movement. The soil in areas around Plano Texas is notorious for shifting due to the high clay content which absorbs water. The movement over time can stress sewer lines running below the house.
  • Blockage from household items, toys, or other bulky hard objects. Objects can fall into toilets by accident and young children can get quite inquisitive. 

Tree Roots

The roots of mature trees can spread wide and far, putting pressure on almost anything that comes across their path. If enough pressure is applied to the pipe material, it can break, leaking fluid around the area.

The tree roots will seek out the water in and around the pipes, eventually growing thick enough to slow down or even stop the flow.

One popular way of fixing this issue is with a plumbing snake with a sharp tool bit on the end. As it rotates through the pipe, it saws through the tree’s roots.

Broken or Corroded Sewer Pipes

A common issue in some of the older houses is a sewer line that has corroded to a point where it cracks and leaks into the soil underneath the foundation of the house. If the sewer lines break underneath the slab, you may notice a slab leak.

How Do I Know if I have a Sewer Pipe Leak?

You may not be aware of a sewer line problem for some time. When it comes time to buy or sell a house, most savvy buyers have a full plumbing system inspection, including the cold water lines and sewer lines to avoid any unexpected surprises down the road. Here are a few signs that you may have an issue with the sewer lines:

  • Musky or unnatural odors
  • Indentations in the yard that remain soggy over time
  • Persistent clogging, slow draining, or slow flush is a sign of a sewer issue. We see quite a lot of these issues caused by mature tree roots invading the water lines, it’s not always because of a corroded pipe.
  • Damp spots on your floor, possibly along with bad odors. 

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