After you return home from a long day of work and running errands, you want to draw a hot bath and read a good book before turning in. Or, perhaps you want to soak in a warm shower for a few minutes. You plan to walk into your bathroom, turn on the faucet, and experience pure relaxation.
The last thing you expected was to walk into your bathroom, smell something foul, and see a pile of sewage in your tub.
Despite your efforts to keep your drains clog-free, the main line that runs through your house can get clogged, and you’ll experience the scenario we just discussed. Below, we’ve included details about clogs and your home’s main line so you know how to recognize an issue and who to call to fix the situation.
What Your Main Line Is
As previously mentioned, the main line is a pipe that runs throughout your home. Your home actually has two main lines: the main water supply line and the main sewer (or drain) line. And as each line’s name indicates, they bring water to your home and drain it away, respectively.
When a singular drain or pipe in your home gets clogged, you can usually remove the obstruction and have free-draining water. But when the main sewer line gets clogged, you have a very different problem on your hands.
The pipes that run from your sinks, toilet, and tub all connect to the main line and transport waste water through it. When the main line gets clogged, that water still needs somewhere to go. As the water builds up, it will move through any open pipe-usually one that leads to another water fixture in your home. That water (and any debris or sewage in it) will then back up into the open space to escape the pipes.
If you’re concerned that there’s a clog in your main line, look for the following signs. Remember, occasional clogs can happen sometimes, but if you regularly notice any of these indicators, the main line is likely clogged.
When your pipes are clear and your plumbing works properly, you shouldn’t hear any noises coming from the drains in your bathtub, sinks, or toilet. However, if your main line is clogged, you’ll hear a gurgling noise coming from the drains as water backs up through them.
You may also see bubbling water, accompanied by bubbling noises, in your water fixtures if you have a clog in the main line. The bubbles are a result of air trapped in the water and between the clog and your drains. So, you may see the water in your toilet bowl bubbling excessively as the air moves through the pipes.
Additionally, the water level in your toilet bowl may fluctuate as a result of these air bubbles. You may notice the bowl fill up too much or drain to a low level in this situation.
Foul odors rise up from your drains because a main line clog prevents sewage from draining properly. That waste sits in the pipes and decomposes over time. You’ll instantly recognize the smell, and if you do get an unlucky whiff, you know your main line is the source of the problem.
Multiple Malfunctioning Drains
When you flush your toilet, does water erupt from your shower drain? Or does the water level in your toilet bowl rise when you wash your hands in the bathroom sink? If several of your drains malfunction at the same time, you can bet that the main line has a clog in it somewhere.
As previously mentioned, drains occasionally clog when too much hair or food gets down them, and you may experience a minor back up in your kitchen sink or toilet. Typically, you can fix this small issue by using a plunger. After you remove the clog, you probably won’t have issues with clogs or backups for a long time.
However, if water, sewage, or debris consistently backs up through your home’s drains, the problem likely lies in the main line.
Dirty or Flooded Sewer Cleanout
Most homes have a sewer cleanout, or an access point to the sewer lateral. It’s usually a plastic or steel cap in the ground, and you can find it either on the sides of your home by your bathrooms or in your front yard.
If there’s a clog in the main line, you may notice water flooding around the area. Or, if you lift the cap, you may see a lot of debris and sewage in the normally empty space.
Who to Call-and What to Do in the Meantime
If you notice any of the above-listed signs, and if they occur more than once, contact Rakeman Plumbing. We’ll send one of our expert plumbers to your home to discover the source of the clog and make the proper repairs.
While you wait for us to arrive, turn off the water supply to your home. You can usually find the shut-off valve on the water main just outside your home. This step stops flooding, serious backups, and water damage as much as possible.