causes main sewer line clogs

Causes and Remedies for Main Sewer Line Clogs, Part 1

There are a few different clog or blockage types that are possible within a given plumbing system, and they are not all created equal. And on the more severe end of the spectrum here, at least in most cases, is a clog or blockage in your home’s main sewer line.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical, our plumbing services include a wide range of solutions for main sewer line issues, including sewer line cleaning and trenchless sewer line repair. While many homeowners have dealt with a basic toilet clog or some other simple drain blockage issue, the main sewer line is an entirely different animal. This two-part blog series will dig into what makes sewer line clogs different from others, plus what causes them and how you can recognize their potential signs.

Sewer Clog Vs. Standard Clogs

So why are sewer line clogs different from a basic toilet backup or something else you can handle with a plunger? Well, because the sewer line is the central one that connects all the other main plumbing lines in your home.

A single clog in a sink drain, toilet or some other area can usually be remedied simply enough, whether via a plunger, drain snake or some other tool. During main sewer line backups, however, every drain in your home can become blocked all at once as the main system floods, leading to major concerns that typically can’t be solved so easily.

Our next few sections will dig into the common causes of main sewer line clogs and backups, plus how they can be avoided so you don’t run into these issues.

Tree Root Concerns

As the home’s primary feeder to the municipal sewer system, your main sewer line typically runs out of your house and through your back yard in piping below the ground’s surface. In cases where your sewer line is damaged in any way, or even in some situations where it isn’t, tree roots from nearby trees may grow into the area and even directly into the pipes as they reach out in search of water sources. This blocks the flow of wastewater, and the issue only increases with time as the roots expand.

For this reason, it’s important to understand where your main sewer line is and manage tree roots in the area. If you’re considering planting new trees, know your sewer line location and avoid it entirely.

Toilet Usage and Items Flushed

Another possible cause of main sewer line blockage: Materials being flushed down the toilet that do not belong there. This includes literally anything other than human waste and toilet paper, even certain wipes listed as “flushable” on the packaging – you still shouldn’t flush these. Toilet paper is made to break down within sewer lines and avoid clogging risks, which is why it’s the only approved material to flush other than your own waste.

For more on clogs in your main sewer line, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical today.