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Sewer Back Up? How to Fix and Prevent Sewer Line Damage

never happens again?

You’ve got the questions, and we have all the answers.

This guide will cover the basics of identifying, repairing, and avoiding sewer damage to a home or business.

Common Warning Signs You May Have Sewer Line Damage

Sewer problems often show signs that trouble is brewing. Sewer backup or foul odors are clear signs there is a problem, but sometimes other symptoms can be more discreet or mistaken for common household problems.

What are some of the common warning signs that sewer problems are on the horizon?

Foul Smelling Sewage Odors

Sewage has a very distinct scent that compares to rotten eggs. If you smell foul odors, it’s a sure sign something is not quite right.

Sewers are designed to be airtight, so that smells and other things are trapped inside. Damage such as cracks, holes, and leaks allow sewage to escape and thus leave you with an awful smell.

Sewage Backup and Blockages

There is a good chance there’s a problem with your sewer line if flushing the toilet in one bathroom causes water to back up in another room in your home. Blockages and clogs can be diverting water and forcing an alternate route due to a clog.

Sewer backup is a definite red flag you have a clogged sewer line. A sewer repair contractor can use a sewer camera to diagnose the problem.

Slow Draining

Does your sink or shower drain slowly? Does your toilet keep getting backed up? Your sewer line may have a blockage forming. If the blockage is left untreated, it can lead to cracks and other major sewer problems.

If you tried to DIY the problem with a sewer snake or drain unblocker without success, get in touch with a professional.

Trying to fix the problems on your own by using products that often include harsh chemicals can lead to further damage to your pipes and make sewage problems even worse if you have older hardware.


Damage in your sewer line, such as cracks, can leak water into your walls. This excess moisture can cause mold growth. Because of their increased humidity, bathrooms are especially vulnerable to mold.

If you notice mold growing on your walls or ceilings, the source could be from your sewage pipe. Even if you see no mold growth but can smell it, it could be a sign of sewer line damage.

To prevent further damage to your walls or ceilings, call a professional to find out if you need to have your sewer line repaired.

Cracks in Your Home’s Foundation

This is a severe sign of possible sewer line damage that needs attention ASAP. Cracks in your home’s foundation could mean leaking water from a sewage or water line.

If you see an excessive amount of water around the foundation of your home, contact a professional before you end up with major (and more costly) problems with your foundation.

Lush Patches of Grass or Pools of Water in Your Yard

If you see lush patches of grass in your yard, specifically grass growth that is unusually thicker or greener, it could be a sign of a problem. Sewage acts as a natural fertilizer and will create lush patches of grass in your yard.

Another sign to look out for is soggy areas or pools of water in your yard. This could be a warning sign of a much more significant problem like a collapsed sewer line.


Just the sight of that word can instill fear into any homeowner. Rodents and pests live in sewers, and openings in your sewer line create entry points for inviting them into your home.

Keep in mind that nothing will prevent pests from coming in if they find an easily accessible way into your home.

Call in the Professionals

Before you look up “how to clear a main sewer line clog” and attempt to fix it yourself, think again. Plumbing problems are best left to a professional.

One of the benefits of hiring a professional is that most plumbing companies often have video inspection available. Video inspection uses a sewer camera to review the state and condition of pipes as well as identifying other problem areas.

A sewer camera can pinpoint the exact location of a damaged or clogged sewage pipe. Once the problem is identified, they can be solved through either traditional sewer repair or trenchless sewer repair.

Preventing Sewer Line Damage

Routine preventative maintenance can save you more money in the long run.

1. Professional sewer cleaning is a great way to keep your sewer line in tip-top shape and avoid costly sewer line replacement. If you want to avoid having to deal with sewer backup or sewer line repair, make sure you are availing of this maintenance task.

2. Only put toilet paper or human waste down the toilet. Anything else will lead to a clogged sewer line.

3. Do not throw grease down the drain and throw all excess food dishes into the trashcan before washing them. Grease from oil or fatty foods lead to clogs and will cost you a professional sewer cleanout.

4. Stay away from sewer lines when planting trees. Tree root invasion is the leading cause of sewer problems.

5. Take a preventive approach. Tackling problems right away can save you from further damage, and having to spend an even greater amount of money — an ounce of prevention over a pound of cure. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Fixing and Preventing Sewer Line Damage

What do you do when your main sewer line backs up? How do you identify the warning signs? How do you make sure it never happens again?

You’ve got the questions, and we have all the answers.

We hope this guide gave you more insight into identifying, repairing, and avoiding sewer damage. If you found this article helpful, check out more from our blog!

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