All homes will experience sewer issues at one point or another. The frequency and severity of the problems can vary greatly depending on factors such as age, usage, location, and soil conditions. Understanding common causes and risk factors can help you take preemptive measures to prevent future problems.
To keep your home’s sewer system in optimal condition, it is important to know about common issues that may arise. Here are some of the most common sewer problems you may experience in your home, along with advice on how to handle them if they occur.
Repairing a Constant Sewer Smells
Sewer odors can occur for a number of reasons. If the smell is faint, it may just be the result of food or other organic matter decomposing in the drain. Drain flies or other pests may also be causing the smell. You can use a (tooth)brush to clean the sink and drains.
If the smell is more pungent and persistent, there may be a larger issue at hand. There could be a small clog in the drains.
If you live in a rural area and have a septic tank, it is possible that it needs to be pumped as well.
Repairing a Sewer Drain Backup
A sewer backup is usually caused by a clog formation in the drainpipe. Water is unable to properly exit the pipes and flows back into the home. You can use a plunger to remove this. If this doesn’t work, you can try a pressure washer with a special attachment. Plumbers have cameras that allow them to see inside a drain and diagnose the problem.
Most clogs don’t go away by themselves and need to be removed. You shouldn’t flush wet wipes or other items that don’t belong in the toilet. It is also possible that the drains were not properly installed or are too small.
If you wait too long, the sewage can back up into your house and create a mess. A plumber will have to remove this clog to make sure that you can use your toilet or sink again.
Repairing a Shifting or Slipping Pipes
If your sewer pipes have been installed improperly or if the soil conditions have changed, shifting pipes can result in the formation of cracks. Cracks can allow wastewater to leak back into the soil, creating an environmental hazard.
Cracking can be especially common in older cities with clay soil. Clay soil expands when it is wet, as occurs when wastewater is flowing through the pipes, and contracts when it dries. If the pipes are not properly secured, this cycling of wet and dry soil can cause them to shift and move, resulting in cracking in the pipes.
If you suspect shifting or slipping pipes are causing problems in your sewer system, you should seek out the help of a professional for diagnosis and repair. Plumbers can use special cameras to check this out as well.
It might be necessary to dig up the drains and repair them. Depending on the type of material that is used, the way of connecting the drains might differ. In most instances, a cutter is used to remove the old part of the drain.
A fitting (or connection part) is then used to install a new piece. We have outlined how to glue PVC here. Other pipes can be made out of PE or PP. Some drains require professional equipment if you want to repair them.
For smaller issues, it can be possible to realign them. This is done by adding a layer of plastic over the inside part of the drain. Professional equipment is used for this.
Repairing Blocked Drains and Roots
Roots in the drain lines is one of the most common causes of a blocked drain. Roots are drawn to the moist and warm conditions found in the pipes, and they have been known to grow up through the pipes and block them completely. When this happens, the drains can break.
If you have an issue with roots in your drain lines, it’s best to call a professional to handle the issue. They will be able to identify the source of the problem and recommend a solution that will prevent the problem from recurring in the future. This can involve using water pressure to break the roots or digging up the drains.
Repairing Rotting drain Joints
If you notice that a joint in the piping system has begun to rot, it is important to seek out a repair as soon as possible. If left untreated, rotting joints can cause the entire pipe system to fail. To repair a rotting joint, you will need to remove the old pipe and replace it with a new section of a drain or install a new drain.
Depending on the extent of the damage, this process can be complicated and may require special tools and skills. If you are not comfortable working on a joint, it is best to call a professional for assistance.
Repairing Broken drains
Sudden and dramatic changes in pressure in the plumbing system can cause cracks in the pipes, resulting in a broken drain. Such dramatic changes in pressure can be caused by an increase in flow or an increase in the amount of water being used in the system. If a part of your drain breaks, you should call a plumber as soon as possible.
In some cases, a broken part can be replaced and the system can be made operable again until the part is replaced. If the crack is significant, however, it may be necessary to replace the entire pipe section.
A properly maintained plumbing system can last for decades. If you are experiencing problems with your sewer system, it is important to address them promptly. Failing to do so can create larger, more expensive issues in the future.
If you experience any of the issues described above, it is best to call a professional to handle the repair. Working with a trained and licensed plumber can help ensure the problem is resolved properly and that you are not creating new problems in the process.
Drainage systems are very advanced and have several parts. We have discussed how they work here.