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Signs Of A Broken Sewer Pipe

Signs of A Broken Sewer Pipe

Are you suspecting that your sewer pipe might be broken? It is important to know the signs and symptoms of a broken sewer pipe. Once you are aware of what to look out for, you will be able to have a solution, and that will prevent the problem from escalating. Since broken pipes are dangerous, it is always good to have them fixed as soon as you see the signs of a broken sewer pipe.

A home’s sewer line is a very crucial part of the plumbing system. The problem is that most households overlook the pipes. They generally don’t take the time to do some inspection, and this is wrong. When there is a problem, and you allow the pipes to deteriorate further, you may end up spending thousands of dollars to do the repair.

To avoid incurring unnecessary expenses, it is always advisable to look out for the warning signs and have a plumber by your side all the time. Never let your plumbing system get to the point of a complete breakdown. You don’t want to experience this. Below are some signs of a collapsed sewer line.


Sewer Pipe Line

Foul Odour

One of the signs to look for is a foul smell. It is usually the first sign of a broken sewer pipe. If you happen to smell sewer odour, it could mean that there is a crack in your sewer pipe. Normally, a sanitary sewer will be airtight; hence you wouldn’t expect any smell. You should never experience any odour from your drains if the sewer line is in proper working condition.  When you notice sewer odour in your house, it is good to do an inspection to determine whether the sewer pipe is broken, sooner the better. Through the inspection, you will be able to determine why toxic sewer gas has found its way into your home.


Broken Sewer Pipe Smell

Slow Drains and Clogs

It is normal to find an isolated clog in your house. This is not a big deal because you can just unclog and continue with the normal routine however, if you have a difficult time clearing the clogged drains, it might mean that you have a broken sewer line. The source of this problem could be in the main sewer line. It is advisable to call a professional to determine the cause of the clog before time runs out. Note that clogs may not always mean that you have a broken sewer line. Sometimes, it might be because the tree roots have just infiltrated the sewer line, obstructing the sewer pipe. A professional will be able to tell you what the problem really is.


Sewer Pipe Clog

Mould Growth

Moulds’ growth is common around the home. If a drainpipe breaks, there is a high probability that mould may start developing in that area. When the pipe breaks, it allows moisture to leak through the walls. This causes hidden mould to grow and develop. becoming a problem when the mould grows excessively. Mould that occurs as a result of a sewer leak smells in a particular way. If you realise that there are stubborn clogs and the presence of mould, then it is safe to conclude that the sewer pipe is broken. Getting rid of mould can cause you thousands of dollars to fix. This is why you need to know these signs and be observant. If you notice the presence of mould early, call a professional for inspection, you might be able to spare yourself from spending too much money on extensive damage and mould removal.


Sewer Mould

Green Lawn Area

The other thing to take note of, is the presence of green, vibrant lush in your yard. If this happens and you realise that the other areas in your yard are brown, then there is a problem. What happens is that when there is a broken sewer pipe, the water and nutrients that come from the pipe support the growth of excessively green patches in your lawn. This is because the sewage works as a fertiliser, and thus, it gives plants near the sewer pipe extra nutrients. You need to be on the lookout if you notice any unusual performance of the plants near the sewer line. Also, if you realise the grass in that area is growing excessively fast, be on the lookout and call a professional.

Drainage Backyard Problem

Foundation Problems

If the sewer pipe in your home breaks, it could cause serious foundation issues if left unchecked. You might begin to notice cracks in your foundation which will be a huge loss because you will have to spend a thousands to do the repair. The building walls may also start developing cracks and this happens because the water leaking from the pipe is washing away the soil that supports the foundation of the building. Note that if the cracks are caused by the broken sewer line, you should immediately call professionals. If you allow the problem to persist, the house might collapse. This is a huge loss, and that is why a thorough inspection is always necessary.


Sewer Leak Foundation Problems


The other obvious sign is the presence of insects, rats, and mice skittering around your home. Rats and insects like sewers because they can easily slide through the cracks in your sewer line. If you apply pest control techniques and there seems to be no progress, it is highly likely that the sewer pipe line is broken. When you allow the insects and rodents to keep staying in your home, you might be putting your health in danger. Deal with the broken sewer pipe line straight away, and you will see the pests disappear within no time.


Sewer Pests

Pooling Septic Waste in Your Yard

Is septic tank waste accumulating in your backyard? If so, you may have a broken sewer pipe. In such cases, the problem area is often located directly under the pool, so you can ask your plumber to start his inspection right there. In addition to sewer line breaks, there are other problems that can cause such devastation: blocked drainage fields and, in extreme cases, cracks in the mainline.

Multiple Plumbing Problems

If you encounter repeated plumbing problems occurring at the same time on your premises, it is important that you have your sewer line checked by a professional plumber. You will often notice backflows in many appliances simultaneously. For example, flushing issues in the toilet, clogging of water in your shower, etc. All of these common problems, if occurring concurrently, can be a sign of a broken or clogged sewer line.


Septic Waste Broken Sewer Pipe

Wet Spots All Over the Yard

There can be many reasons, but the one that cannot be excluded in most cases is a leak in the sewer line. A leak may be due to the collapse of the pipe or a break that may occur due to durability or press problems. If your backyard or front yard happens to have a tree, the tree line may also be the cause of the sewer line break. However, it should be noted that many sewer leaks are really difficult to detect, especially when they are buried deep underground (which is usually the case). At first, the problem may be completely hidden, but once the water starts to seep into the ground, you will start to notice all kinds of problems, including insect infestations, mould, wet spots, greener grass, etc. In this case, the only solution you have is to get help from a professional plumbing company. With their years of experience and the skills they’ve acquired working on all kinds of sewer problems and performing sewer line leak test, they’ll be able to help you and solve all your sewer problems.


Backyard Wet Spots Broken Sewer Pipe

Presence of Under Pavers or Lawn

When the sewer pipeline is broken, you will notice an indentation in your lawn. This is because the sewer line is saturating the ground and causing the soil to dissipate. The result is that your lawn will automatically dip just above the place where the sewage mainline runs. You will also notice a dip in the driveways.


Under Pavers Dip Sewage Problem

Large Trees Around

Large trees may not be the symptom but may be the cause of a damaged sewer system. A tree’s root structure can easily reach tens or hundreds of feet underground and are more than capable of crushing any type of sewer pipe. Therefore, if you have a large old tree in your yard and happen to notice one of the problems mentioned above, it may be part of the overall problem.

As also stated by the NSW Government :

Planting a tree in your backyard may seem harmless. However some species of trees can create ongoing or disastrous problems by tree roots intruding into sewer mains and internal sewer pipes

Large Trees Near Sewage Line

How to Determine A Leak in Sewer Pipe in Your Backyard/Frontyard?

Almost every sewer system is dependent on gravity for its proper functioning. Pipes installed in a sewer system always have a declination to assist with proper water flow. So in every household, the water from the house runs downhill to the main sewer line, which is then connected to either a septic tank or city’s main sewer system. This keeps your household safe from any smell, which may arise due to clogged water. If the water drains upward and back into the house, your sewer system is leaking or clogged.

To test for sewer leaks, you will certainly need assistance from a professional plumbing company. However, if you’re determined to do it yourself, make sure you have access to some essential tools, the proper knowledge to use them, and the skills to observe water levels.

To properly identify the leak, professionals use an inflatable test ball that is connected to an air hose. A rubber padding may also be required to ensure appropriate pressure. The mainline clean-out is then opened, exposing the main sewer line. First, the rubber is placed in a position in this main sewer line, followed by the inflatable balloon being pushed and inflated so that it plugs up on the sewer line, preventing any water from flowing past it.

Once this is done, one should go inside the house and observe the water level for which it may be necessary to remove the toilet from the floor exposing the floor flange. Of course, this will not be necessary if you have a dedicated standing shower installed in your household. If this is the case, you can simply observe the shower just as you would with the floor flange.

Finally, a faucet is turned open to allow the water to run throughout the house with the objective of filling the entire sewer system up to the slab level. Once this is done, the professionals will observe the floor flange for about 20 to 25 minutes to make sure that the water maintains the desired level necessary for the proper functioning of the house’s sewage system. If the level is not maintained, it obviously means there is a leak.

Determine a Leak In Sewer Pipe

Reasons Other Than A Leak

When observing the water level, even a slight drop can indicate a leak in a sewer system. However, professionals understand that there may be a situation of human error, so they will re-evaluate the entire test at the outset.

As a first step, professionals will make sure that no water passes through the inflated ball. Depending on the sewer system you have had installed on your premises, a plumber may simply look in the exposed pipe to see if any water is passing through. However, if he can’t see inside the pipe properly, he may insert a sewer camera into the pipe to locate the exact position of the inflated test ball and to ensure that it properly seals the girth of the pipe and that no water is passing through it.

If there is no water flow, another possibility that any professional would want to eliminate is air pockets. To confirm this, the plumber will first drain the water from the pipes and then fill it again up until the water level reaches the slab level.

Finally, even after the second attempt and excluding all possibilities, should the water level continue to drop, it is concluded that there is a leak under the slab and that it must be repaired immediately.


Sewer Pipe Camera Inspection


For you to be able to determine the broken sewer pipe problem early enough, you need to be observant. A broken sewer pipe is a serious nuisance when it happens. You also need to be knowledgeable as this will help you understand the cause of the problem. If you have experienced any of the above signs, you need to call a professional for a thorough inspection of your sewer line. Plumber Nearby Melbourne provides you with the best professional service for broken sewer pipe replacement, maintenance and inspection, stormwater pipe repair and replacement services  and more. Don’t hesitate to get a quick and easy Online Plumbing Quote today! 

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