South Florida homes have been experiencing a large wave of sewer pipe problems due to the 25-35-year life span of cast iron pipes. Even when most homeowners’ insurance policies pay for some costs associated with faulty interior plumbing and electrical wiring, depending upon the policy, problems with exterior plumbing may or may not be covered.
A damaged sewer line can make you spend thousands of dollars, and not just on changing the tubes; there may be damages to floors, walls, furniture, carpeting, and electrical systems. More importantly, damaged sewer lines can also pose a major health hazard.
As a homeowner, you should be aware of the signs that may be telling you about the condition of your drains. You should also know a good plumber who can respond to emergency situations, and arrive quickly to address the issue.
In this article, we want to highlight the main eight tell-tale signs that your sewer line is deteriorating and possibly damaged or broken.
1) Sewage Backups and Blockages: If every time you flush or run water down your sink or bathtub drain, you experience a backup, you most likely have a blockage as the air is having trouble escaping from your sewer system.
2) Sewer Gas Odor: A sanitary sewer system should be air tight everywhere, with the exception of the vent stack. If you can smell a foul odor coming from your basement or around your home or building, this is definitely a tell-tale sign that there is a crack somewhere in your sewer system.
3) Mold Problem: Mold is the result of humidity levels rising to a point suitable to encourage the growth and presence of mold. This is another tell-tale sign that you may have a cracked sewer pipe behind a wall. Another sign that may point to a break in your sewage drain pipes is the detection of If you noticed mold accompanied by sewer odor.
4) Varying Water Levels in Your Toilet Bowl: Fluctuating water levels in your toilet are usually a sign of a severe plumbing problem. If water levels begin to fluctuate too much, your toilet bowl could be at risk of malfunctioning and/or overflowing.
5) Damp Areas in Your Yard: Excessive wetness in your yard or waste water pooling often times proves there is a problem with the sewer drains located directly under the pool of sewer water.
6) Lush Patches in Grass: Spotting an extra green and lush patch of grass in your yard may also be evidence of sewage leakage underground.
7) Cracks on the Wall and Sinkholes: More extreme symptoms of sewer problems include foundation issues with your home or building, such as cracks, or your property may even experience sinkholes.
8) Rodent or Insects Problem: Rats, cockroaches, palmetto bugs, and sewer flies can unfortunately make their way to the pipes running behind your walls. To eliminate any infestation and to prevent others, you will need to address the entry point, which may indeed be a crack in your sewer lines.
How You Can Prevent Sewer Line Backups
• Do not pour Grease and/or Food through the drains: Avoid pouring grease, fats, gravies, sauces, and cooking oils down your kitchen drain, because these substances will cool off and solidify, and eventually build up to a massive clog.
• Do not Flush improper items Down the toilet: Diapers, paper towels, facial tissue, feminine products, and food products should never be flushed down the toilet as they do not deteriorate over time and, can cause clogs.
• Periodically perform Maintenance to your Pipes: Every year or so, contact a professional plumber and ask them to perform a checkup and cleaning of your sewage and drainage pipes.
• Install a Backwater Prevention Valve: These fixtures are installed into a sewer line in the basement of your home to prevent sewer backups. They allow sewage to go out, but not come back in.
Facts to consider when fixing a broken or cracked sewer line
Now that you know what the warning signs are for a malfunctioning sewer line, it is also helpful to be aware of certain facts before calling out a professional plumber.
1) Replacing a sewer line can vary in price, especially if you replace only part of the drainage pipes at different points in time. In fact, the price can be three times as expensive than if you were to replace the entire line from the house to the street at one time.
2) If there is a broken pipe near the foundation wall or the city connection in the roadway, the price to repair the pipe may depend on the age and material of the existing pipe.
3) There could be tree roots causing your sewer problems… please remember that once roots invade your sewer line, there is no turning back. It is extremely risky to repair a section of pipe that has been invaded by tree roots, as the roots have already entered your pipe, and will continue to grow even after they have been cleared out.
What to Do If You Experience a Sewer Backup
As you can see, sewer backups can produce the most horrible of nightmares, without mentioning diseases, mold formations, destruction of valuables, and electrical malfunctions. A prompt cleanup is necessary to restore sanitary conditions, and prevent further damage.
If you experience a sewer backup situation, at a minimum, you should have a sewer inspection done. Call Benjamin Franklin of the Treasure Coast as soon as possible; plumbing systems can fail unexpectedly and cause substantial damage to your home. Benjamin Franklin technicians and plumbers are fully trained using state-of-the-art equipment and technologies to solve all of your plumbing and drain problems, including sewer repair and sewer line replacement.
Still have questions about your sewer line? Make sure to call Benjamin Franklin of the Treasure Coast.