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Sewer line issues: Here are the signs of a cracked or clogged line

Okay, let’s be honest: your sewer line is probably one of those things in your home that you don’t really think much about… until something goes wrong. But, what does something going “wrong” even entail with a sewer line? What do you even look for?

In this blog post, we’ll break down both the causes of sewer line woes and the signs you need to look out for to indicate that you need plumbing repair.

If your home has a sewer line clog, our plumbers can clear out the line using an auger, like the one pictured here.

If your home has a sewer line clog, our plumbers can clear out the line using an auger, like the one pictured here.

If you suspect that your Bay Area home has sewer line issues, contact our team here at ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing. We offer emergency line inspection and repair services in Hayward and beyond. To get started, give us a call at (510) 471-8181 or contact us online.

Causes of sewer line issues

Here are three of the most common causes of sewer line problems:

  1. Your sewer line can clog if the line is obstructed by what’s popularly known as a “grease-berg”. This is a collection of grease, oils, fats, and other material—typically poured down the kitchen sink—that collects in a physical mass, until it eventually clogs the entire 6-inch line. (Read: Here’s an example of what this looks like on a larger scale!)
  2. Your sewer line can also clog if obstructed by trash. This is why it’s not recommended that you throw anything that isn’t biodegradable down the kitchen sink or toilet. We’ve seen q-tips form the basis for a major clog!
  3. Your sewer line can crack if a tree root—searching for water—breaks into the pipe and begins to fill it. More on this in a minute!

To learn even more about the common causes of sewer line clogs—and how you can potentially prevent a clog from forming—check out this blog from our team.

4 Signs Of Sewer Line Problems

Here are the four big signs of sewer line troubles:

Simultaneous drain clogging

Think of your home’s plumbing like a river that is fed by multiple smaller streams. If you were to dam one of those creeks, it might not impact the larger river all that much, and the river would continue to flow downstream.

Pictured: Sewer Line Repair

This is what removing and repairing a ceramic sewer line looks like.

However, if you dammed the large river, the water from the entire system would have nowhere to go, and would start to rise above the banks. What’s more, that water would get pushed back into the creeks, and they’d flood, too.

A single clogged sink or kitchen drain is like the stream in the analogy. You might need our drain cleaning services, but it probably doesn’t mean you have a sewer line clog.

A sewer line clog or blockage is the damming of the river, in that your entire home’s plumbing is going to backup. If the line clogs, all of the drains in your home will clog simultaneously. That’s when you need to drop everything and give us a call for emergency plumbing repair.

Wet ground above the line

A cracked sewer line that leaks can be a major problem. Before we get started, think about the answers to the following:

  • When was your home built? If your home was built in the 1980s or later, it likely has a PVC sewer line. PVC can crack or collapse when put under pressure (more on that in a second), but with no outside duress, it should last for the lifetime of the home. Older materials—such as cast-iron or clay—are durable, but don’t have quite the lifespan of PVC.
  • Where does your line run? Find your sewer cleanout lines and determine where the sewer line runs from your home to the municipal sewer. For many homes, the line runs to the street.
  • What’s above the line? Now that you know where the line runs, what’s above it? Take note of any trees, bushes, or other yard foliage.

Trace the sewer line’s location and look for any abnormal “wet” spots on the ground, when there has been no rain and there’s no irrigation for water to pool there. If it’s right above the line, this may be a sign that your sewer line has a leak.

Trees or bushes above the line

If there’s a tree or bush right above or near the line, you should be extra wary. Over time, tree roots dig deep in search of water. Roots can destroy or block sewer lines even without a leak, but a sewer leak acts as a positive feedback loop for the tree. As they find water, the roots snarl around the line, breaking into it.

Tree roots are a common cause of sewer line clogs here in the Bay Area. Even a tree that’s feet away from the line can have roots that find their way to it.

Sewer odors outside and inside

If you step outside and your yard smells like a garbage heap, that’s a pretty good sign that something is wrong. A cracked line will emit sewer gases, which smell about as great as you might assume.

Sewer smells inside the home could indicate the same problem, or they could indicate that the sewer trap plugs aren’t doing their job. Either way, we recommend giving us a call. We’ll diagnose whether you need your traps fixed, or if the issue is more serious.

Schedule a sewer inspection

All of the signs above are good indicators that something is wrong with your sewer line. However, the only way to be 100% sure that’s there a blockage—and to know what exactly is causing it—is to schedule a sewer line inspection from our team here at ABC.

The best way to see a clog is to, well, actually see it. We have specialized cameras that we place on lines to go into the line and identify the problem before digging things up. Depending on the type of clog, there may be a way to clear it without opening up the line.

For service in the Bay Area, turn to the experts at ABC

At ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing, we know our way around sewer lines and the problems homeowners face. Our experienced, expert plumbers are plumbing repair experts, and we offer emergency service in much of the Bay Area, including Hayward and the East Bay.

If you need emergency service or you need a sewer camera inspection, give us a call at (510) 471-8181 or contact us online.

Plumbing 101: 4 Common Reasons the Storm Drains Becomes Clogged

Your storm drains play a critical role in protecting your roof, your home, and your property. When it rains here in the Bay Area, your roof drains—also known as “gutters” or “downspouts”—safely carry the water off of the roof structure and down to the ground, where it goes into a storm drain that carries the water to the local sewer. This process prevents excess water from pooling on the roof, which can lead to a number of problems for your shingles, tile, and underlayment.

This roof's gutters are clogged with fallen leaves, which may prevent water from properly draining off the roof into storm drains.

This roof’s gutters are clogged with fallen leaves, which may prevent water from properly draining off the roof into storm drains.

However, this system does require regular upkeep, maintenance, and cleaning. If not regularly cleared out, downspouts can fill up with leaves, branches, and bird nests. This effectively forms a dam, preventing water from traveling down the spout. The result can be damage to your roof. If your storm drains are not cleaned, water will have nowhere to go once it gets to the ground level.

At ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing, our plumbers specialize in indoor drain, sewer line, storm drain cleaning. If you have a blockage deep in your storm drain, let our team clean it out. Need storm drain cleaning in Hayward, San Jose, and other parts of the Bay Area? Contact our team today to have an experienced plumber come out to your home.


Read our other Plumbing 101 articles:

SIGNS OF SEWER LINE CLOGS   •   CAUSES OF SEWER LINE CLOGS   •   CONSERVING WATER IN YOUR HOME   •   WAYS TO AVOID EXPENSIVE PLUMBING REPAIRS


Here are the 4 reasons why your roof drains and storm drains may be blocked

1. Natural Debris

 

This residential storm drain is starting to become clogged with fallen leaves and other yard debris.

This residential storm drain is starting to become clogged with fallen leaves and other yard debris.

Storm drains can be clogged due to the buildup of leaves inside the drain pipe. This is particularly the case in autumn and spring. In addition, sometimes the roots of trees or shrubs head straight to the drains, resulting in a blocked drain.

This is commonly the case with willow trees, boxwood shrubs, oak trees, magnolia, gum trees, and palm trees. Here’s a guide to the best trees to plant around sewer lines and storm drains.

To reduce the risk of blockage of the drain due to the buildup of natural debris, you should keep the areas around the drain clear of all kinds of natural debris. If the leaves or roots get into the drains, it could prevent water from getting to the sewer, leading to a backup in your yard.

2. Broken Storm Pipe

Storm pipes can fracture due to general wear-and-tear. The roots growing inside the pipes can also fracture the pipes. Once it becomes fractured, the drain pipe is susceptible to blockages. The fractures are not easily visible. The professional plumbers from ABC will closely inspect the pipes for damage and then repair the fractured storm pipe.

3. Improper Installation

Improper installation of the storm pipe can also lead to drain blockages. This is usually the case when the pipes are installed as a DIY project. Improper installation will either result in fracture of the pipe or reduced water to flow from the pipe. That’s why it’s essential that you have a licensed plumber install drain pipes around and inside your home.

4. Heavy Rains

The storm drain can also become blocked due to heavy rains. Most of the household drain pipes are not manufactured to take the full impact of heavy rains and storms. This leads to overflow of the drain pipes that can buildup on your home’s roof. Since we live in an area where heavy rains are common, you should consider installing a larger drain pipe to weather the storm.

Blocked drain pipes can be a great inconvenience. What’s worse is that a blocked pipe can result in water accumulating on the roof of the house. Eventually, the accumulated water will drip down and leak from the ceiling inside the house. This can also do major damage to the foundation of the home, posing major risk to individuals.

Have ABC work with your storm drains

That’s why it’s essential that you have the storm drain cleaned regularly by an experienced plumber. If you want to avail the services of an emergency storm drain cleaning company in the Bay Area, call our team at ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing.

Our plumbers use specialized tools to quickly remove all kinds of blockages from the outside drain pipes.

Make the switch to a new demand-type water heater

If you are considering a water heater replacement, you should think about the numerous demand-type water heater advantages you can benefit from. If you are not considering a replacement, perhaps you should be.

In this blog, we’ll run through the advantages of switching to a new tankless system. To get started, contact our team.

Is it time to replace your old water heater?

How can you know if you need to replace your water heater? Here are some important indicators:

  • Your current water heater is 10 or more years old.
  • Your energy bill has gone up without significantly increased use.
  • Your hot water supply runs out more quickly than it used to.
  • There is visible damage to the water tank, such as a crack.

If any one or more of these things is true for you, a new water heater would be a wise investment in the near future, and ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing is here to help you make the transition.

The advantages of going tankless

If you haven’t already made the switch to a tankless water heater, now is the time to do it. Instead of storing hot water in a tank that must refill itself before use after it is emptied, tankless water heaters provide hot water continuously, heating the water as it flows. You won’t run out of hot water, even when multiple people are using it at once.

Here are some other demand-type water heater advantages for you to consider:

  • Fewer risks to your home – A tank in an old water heater can experience malfunctions or sustain damage that can lead to flooding or other problems in your home. Tankless water heaters have no tank to burst, and don’t endure the massive amounts of water pressure that can lead to issues.
  • Savings on your energy bill – Tankless water heaters are far more energy-efficient, which means you won’t need to spend as much money heating the same amount of water. In fact, you could cut your bill by more than 20 percent!
  • Longer-lasting equipment – Demand-type water heaters have roughly twice the lifespan of a water heater with a tank. They also have many replaceable parts, so repairs are easier and cost less.

Call ABC to learn more about a demand-type water heater

At ABC Cooling, Heating & Plumbing, we understand your desire to make the best decisions for your home, family, and finances. With our services, we offer fair pricing and full satisfaction to all our customers.

If you’re ready to upgrade your old water heater to a new demand-type system, contact us today for a quote.