Are all the drains in your house draining slowly or do they clog intermittently? Does flushing your toilet cause backflow into your shower drain? Both of these can be symptoms of a sewer line clog. If you suspect that the sewer line is the source of your plumbing issues, it's important to inspect it immediately for two reasons. The first reason is that obstructions in the sewer line, whether they are due to paper products being flushed down the toilet or due to tree roots invading the line, will get worse until they completely clog the line. This is not only a major flood risk, but it's a risk to your health as well; solid waste that you flush down the toilet can end up in your shower or your sink once the line is completely blocked. The second reason is that it's best to catch tree roots early if they are growing in your sewer line. It's cheaper to repair a sewer line using a trenchless method instead of digging up your entire yard, but that is only possible if the sewer line is still intact. Left to grow, tree roots will eventually cause the sewer line to break apart.
Rent A Sewer Camera To Inspect The Problem
A pipe camera rental provides an inexpensive way for you to inspect the problem yourself in order to discover the exact cause of the problem. Since you will be renting a pipe camera in order to inspect your sewer line, you'll need to rent one with the correct length, which depends on the layout of your property. You'll need to measure the length from your clean-out pipe to the city sewer main line in order to find the minimum cable length that you need in order to fully inspect your sewer line.
A feature that is particularly useful when investigating sewer line issues is a line locator; this is a small locating beacon installed on the tip of the sewer camera that reports its position to a locating device. With this feature, you can position the camera where the clog or root intrusion is located and then walk outside, using the locating device in order to find the exact location in your yard where the clog has occurred. This is a useful feature since it can be difficult to estimate distance when you are using a pipe camera on long sewer lines.
Check For Obstruction, Cracks, And Tree Root Intrusion
Obstructions that are not tree roots commonly consist of items such as paper towels or feminine hygiene products that are flushed down the toilet and are pushed down into the sewer line rather than getting caught in the toilet trap. These are, thankfully, easy to fix by renting a sewer snake and snaking the sewer line yourself.
Cracks in the pipe can be difficult to spot and may not be causing any drainage issues, but are important to note when you are inspecting your sewer line because it means that your sewer line is not in good condition and you are likely to experience major problems in the future. The reason why is that cracks are the number one way that tree roots are able to get into your sewer line; once they're in, they will keep growing until they have totally obstructed your line.
Tree roots are the bane of sewer lines, especially in older homes; the sewer lines in these homes are typically segmented clay pipe, which provides easy access to tree roots. Even cracked PVC and concrete pipes can suffer from tree root intrusion. If tree roots are the source of your clog, you'll need to make some tough decisions. You can rent a drain auger and cut up all of the roots in the line so that the obstruction is blocked, but it doesn't solve the cause of the problem. Once tree roots have intruded into the pipe itself, you will have to have it replaced.
However, the good news is that if you have caught the tree roots early and the pipe itself is still intact and has not collapsed, it's possible to reline the pipe using a trenchless method that doesn't involve digging up your yard. That's why it's important to inspect your sewer line once you notice a clog: catching root intrusion early will save you money in the long run.