How To Unclog Main Sewer Line

Here, you’ll learn how to go about unclogging your main sewer line.

Whether you’re connected to a municipal sewer line or have an onsite waste treatment system such as the septic system, the main sewer line is what gets out all wastewater from your home.

Let’s learn how to clear a main line blockage.

How To Clear Main Sewer Line Clog

This all-important line could malfunction at any time, especially when proper maintenance action isn’t taken.

With your main sewer line clogged, what remains is to take urgent steps towards fixing it. Any action taken will need to be backed by knowledge. This is what we seek to dwell on.

Also, we’ll be looking at common causes for such clogs. By knowing the “why” you’re able to take precautionary steps when using your sewer system.

Main Sewer Line Clogs are Likely to be Serious

Main sewer line clogs don’t happen often due to the size of the lines.

Because such lines take out all wastewater (both grey and black wastewater) from a home, they’re designed to be wider than other drain lines within the system.

Main sewer lines are at least 6 inches in diameter.

Due to its size, a clogged sewer line could mean several things. It could be that the pipe is broken or that the lines are sagging.

Also, tree roots could interfere with the normal functioning of the main sewer line among several other possible causes. Whatever the problem is, it’s not good.

The Need to Know

Main sewer line clogging is only suspected when there’s a malfunction. However, pinpointing the problem requires understanding the common symptoms.

When the main sewer line gets clogged, several symptoms are noticed. They include drainage in sewer cleanout, as well as multiple backup drains.

Other symptoms of main sewer line clogs include water backups in the shower when a toilet is flushed as well as sewage in a floor drain. There might also be a constant need to plunge, in addition to slow draining sinks & bathtubs.

Such symptoms are quite gross and a clear sign that you need to have them fixed.

  • Drainage in Sewer Cleanout

Sewer systems are installed with cleanouts to provide access through which clogs can be removed from sewer lines. However, a clog on the main sewer line is likely to result in the drainage of wastewater from the sewer cleanout.

With nowhere to go, wastewater gets out through whatever opening there is.

  • Multiple Back-up Drains

Main sewer line clogs give more than one symptom.

Asides from drainage coming out of your sewer cleanout, you may notice multiple back-ups in drains. Here, multiple drains are affected.

Apart from an actual backup of water, further probing of other drain points may reveal gurgling sounds.

Your drains could also have bad smells. Here, the drains we’re referring to include your bathtubs, toilets, showers, and sinks.

  • Water Backups in Shower When Toilet is Flushed

You might be confused why water backs up in your shower when your toilet is being flushed. In some cases, such backups may occur in toilets or sinks when a washing machine is being run.

Such strange occurrences are strong signs that the main sewer line is clogged.

  • Sewage in Floor Drain(s)

One of the grossest symptoms anyone will want to avoid is to see sewage coming out of floor drains. This is very much a possibility when the main sewer line is clogged.

You’ll have to find urgent solutions to the problem.

4 Causes of Clogged Main Sewer Line

Main sewer lines get clogged due to several reasons.

These include flushing down unsafe items, sagging sewer lines, flushing grease down your drains, tree root damage, and pipe damage.

  • Flushing Down Unsafe Items

Most causes of main sewer line clogs are due to unsafe items flushed down the toilet. Only human waste and water should go through the main drain.

However, most clogs are due to menstrual products, baby wipes, diapers, condoms, dental floss, medications, cigarette bugs and so many other unsafe items.

  • Sagging Sewer Lines

When a sewer line is installed, there may be settling of the soil around the installation area.

This eventually leads to the sagging of pipes which affects the slop angle, thus leading to the accumulation of waste and toilet paper.

  • Flushing Grease Down your Drains

Are you in the habit of flushing grease down your toilets?

This could be one of the reasons why your main sewer line is clogged. Grease and fats steadily accumulate, thus leading to eventual blockage of the drain line.

  • Tree Root Damage

Tree roots are likely to interfere with sewer line installations. These could either break through the line or infiltrate tiny spaces within them.

Unclogging the Main Sewer Line

Having established that the main sewer line is clogged, what remains is to have such a problem immediately fixed.

Now, unclogging the main sewer line shouldn’t be a DIY project. This is due to the messy nature of the job. Such a job will need to be performed by a certified technician or plumber.

Plus, it requires the use of specialized tools such as an in-line video inspection camera that seeks to determine the nature and extent of the clog.

Attached to the camera is a radio transmitter that gives the exact location of the clog, thus helping with precision.

There are basically two types of repairs; the traditional repair or replacement option as well as the trenchless line repair option.

Let’s discuss each of these as follows;

  • Traditional Repair or Replacement

Under the traditional repair or replacement option, the area surrounding the main sewer line needs to be dug up, thus providing access to the clogged area from where unclogging is performed.

If the pipe is seen to be damaged, such will have to be replaced.

The dug area will have to be refilled with the sand removed. Here, digging the area to locate the main sewer line might be quite extensive and labor-intensive.

  • Trenchless Line Repair

Trenchless repair of the main sewer line is more of a surgical approach.

Here, small access holes are dug at both ends of the main sewer line. That is, where it starts and where it ends. This is followed by inserting the new pipe through the old clogged pipe.

This breaks up the old pipe while fixing the new.

Unclogging your main sewer line involves all of the steps above.

First, the problem needs to be established. Before repairs are carried out.

It’s also important to know the causes to enable you to stop the practice of flushing unsafe items down your drains.

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