How to Spot When Your Main Sewer Drain is Blocked? 4 Key Signs

Most of the time you’ll use the plumbing in your home without thinking about how it works or how lucky we are in the developed world to have such effective sanitation. It’s not until you have a problem that you become acutely aware of it all. Most property owners aren’t affected by plumbing most of the time as the underground network does its job quietly and safely.

But there will be a time when you have a plumbing problem. This can range from a small localised issue to a larger problem away from your immediate plumbing. The property’s plumbing will all feed into a main sewer which is a larger and more robust system that takes your waste away to be treated and recycled.

If you have a problem here, it can take time for you to notice, so you’ll carry on flushing and draining into the problem without a care. But eventually that problem will cause a total shut down of your plumbing and then you’ll wish you had been given some advanced warning.

Well, the good news is – there are some warning signs! You just have to keep an eye out for them.

These four key signs you have a sewer blockage will tell you when it’s time to contact your local drain and sewer expert and get that problem cleared and everything working well again.

Look out for these four signs and you’ll be at least aware of issues early enough to prevent a bigger problem.

 

Slow draining sinks and bathtubs

This one is a simple one to spot and one you’ll have experienced before but possibly not considered it to be a problem. When you pull the plug on your sink or bath you probably walk off and get dry, get dressed, and head off.

But try to keep an eye on that water briefly, each time you pull the plug.

  • Does the water drain in good time?
  • Is it taking longer than normal?
  • Does it leave a residue on the bathtub or basin (a sign it took a while to vanish)?

It’s not the most exciting job in the world, and we’re not suggesting you do this for the entire drain, but keep an eye on it for a short amount of time and you’ll soon notice if the drainage takes longer than normal.

Why? Well this is a sign that you have an issue in the sewer.

If there’s a blockage further down the line, then you’ll start to see the water taking longer and more so in your bathtub as you’ll be sending more water down.

Notice the water taking longer? Check locally first (U-bends and traps) and if you’re all clear there then you have a blockage further down the sewer line.

 

Gurgling or unusual sounds

Just like the above example, you’re probably not fine-tuned to listen for noises coming from your plumbing. Life’s too short for this type of information and learning, right? But once again you’d be wise to get used to listening out for this warning sign.

A gurgling sound or unusual draining noise is a big clue that you have some issues in your sewer pipes. This could be a number of things from a tree root (very common in old, clay pipes) to a build-up or blockage from foreign objects or cracks and collapses in a pipe.

If you hear your sink or bathtub gurgling, then pay attention to it. It’s a sure sign that you have something not right in your system, in the street, or further. A CCTV pipe inspection is the best place to start here to help you diagnose the problem.

 

Lacklustre toilets that need plunging often

Occasionally a toilet will get blocked. It’s just one of those things.

This can be for a number of reasons:

  • Too much paper.
  • Flushing non-flushable items.
  • A small waste pipe.
  • A small header tank.
  • A rather large load (if you get what we’re saying!).

Occasional plunges are OK but if you’re well-acquainted with the plunger and you’re working together more than a few times a week then you have some bigger issues.

More clogs can indicate an issue further down the line and a toilet that needs constant plunging to push the water and waste away is a sign that the water and waste isn’t flowing in the sewer. It’s not a local issue – it’s a sewer issue.

You might have a grease build-up, a tree root or a collapsed drain. The best way to find out is a CCTV pipe inspection. If you’re plunging lots – give your local plumbing and drainage company a call.

 

Multiple blockages in your property

More than one block? Well that’s not normal and we’d be pretty confident to diagnose this as a sewer or waste pipe blockage. If your pipes are blocked locally (in the plumbing directly attached) then the sink, toilet, or bathtub will struggle to drain, but the others will drain just fine.

If you have a sink and a bathtub struggling to drain quickly then the waste pipe or the sewer pipe is probably blocked. This will cause all water drained into it to go slower or not at all.

If you see waste water coming into your bath when you flush then you certainly have a big problem. This is often beyond a little plunge or some off-the-shelf chemicals.

At first your plumbing will be OK, but once that block takes hold it’ll keep water in the pipes and the level will get closer and closer to your property. You’ll start to notice more and more problems before, eventually, the system is unusable and needs fixing right away. Urgent problems are more hassle for you to deal with.

 

Listen to the signs, watch for them, and take action.

Give us a call if your Colorado property needs a drains and sewer professional. Let us take a look and fix the problem before it gets worse.

If you’ve noticed any of the signs above then it’s highly likely you’ll need a professional. We’re happy to be that company.