Plumbing 101: The 4 most common causes of a sewer line clog

Over time, your home’s sewer line can become clogged, causing major problems for you and your home. A sewer line clog is a serious issue that requires professional plumbing repair services.

In our last blog post, we reviewed the signs of a sewer leak or clog. In this post, we’ll go over what causes a sewer line clog—and how you can prevent one from happening in your home!

If you do find yourself in need of sewer line services, contact ABC for emergency plumbing repair in much of the Bay Area.


Read our other Plumbing 101 articles:

STORM DRAINS   •   SIGNS OF SEWER LEAKS


Common causes of a sewer line clog

Here are the four main reasons that sewer lines experience clogs and blockages.

1. Intrusion of tree roots

Pictured: A sewer line clog can cause a major blockage in your home's sewer line.

Tree root intrusions are one of the main reasons for a sewer line clog. When there is little rainfall here in the Bay Area (especially during times of drought), the roots of large trees on your property seek water.

If your sewer pipe is leaking even a little bit, the roots will seek out the pipe and try to access the moisture. Over time, they surround the pipe and break into it, growing to fill the width of the pipe and leading to a blocked line.

As we mentioned in our previous post: find out where your sewer line runs on your property and figure out what trees and bushes are above or near the line.

Need help with this? Call the team at ABC, and we’d be happy to help you locate and diagnosis your sewer line problems.

2. Treating your toilet like a trash can

Some people treat the toilet like a trash can, which can result in a sewer line clog. Flushing wipes, baby tissues, egg shells, coffee grounds, hair, napkins, tampon, plastic bags, or other similar products can cause a clog in the sewer line.

Keep in mind that ‘flushable’ wipes are not actually flushable, as they can cause a clog. The only thing that should be flushed down the toilet is the human waste. You should use a garbage can for disposing of all other items.

3. Sagging sewer line

The sewer line can also clog due to a sagging sewer line. These sags are also known as a “belly” in the pipe. Wastewater will not be able to exit easily due when the sewer line sags into the earth, resulting in a clog in the home’s sewer line. Imagine a “U” shape—the waste can’t make it’s way back up the other end of the “U”.

The causes of this are somewhat out of your control. While it’s important to have professional sewer line installation so that everything is sloped correctly, sags are often caused by the soil shifting, particularly under the weight of your home. Other factors, including sinkholes caused by excess moisture, can cause sagging.

4. Pouring grease down the drain

This is a famous one, and that’s for a reason. Grease can also lead to a clog in the home’s sewer line. While grease is liquid, it hardens inside the sewage line, creating a stubborn clog. In order to avoid a sewer line clog, it’s important that you don’t pouring grease down the drain.

Call ABC for help clearing a sewer line clog

The above are the most common reasons for a residential sewer line clog. You should contact the licensed and certified plumbers at ABC to come and diagnose the exact reason for a clog. After assessing the reason for, and the location of, the clog, our plumber will use professional tools to efficiently get your sewer system working again.

In case you reside in San Jose, Hayward, or the surrounding locations in much of the Bay Area, you should contact our team for expert help for sewer line clogs. Our professional plumbers will quickly diagnose the problem and resolve any issues with your home plumbing.

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