Underground Disaster - When Your Sewer Line Pipe Bursts

Discovering buried treasure would be a dream come true but finding out your buried sewer pipe has burst can be your worst nightmare.

Do you have a sewer pipe issue?

What if your yard or the foundation of your house could get a life-threatening disease? Unfortunately, that's how a burst in your sewer line can seem.

Just like many diseases, a sewer pipe burst is usually unexpected - and it is unlikely you will see a geyser of sewer water shooting up in your lawn or hear a thunderous boom under your house. Sewer line bursts are usually silent but deadly – deadly to your bank account that is.

Since these sewer line disruptions are not something you look for on a regular basis nor are they something home inspection companies go out of their way to detect, you should be aware of the telltale warning signs. Here are a few out-of-the-ordinary things that indicate you might have a damaged or broken sewer line.

Backups in Your Home’s Water Flow

If you experience water backing up in your toilets or sinks, you could have a damaged sewer line. Using a plumbing snake or chemical drain cleaner is usually the first line of defense. If you’re lucky and it turns out to be a simple clogged pipe, that will do the trick. But if the source of the problem is a cracked or broken pipe, it’s a mere band-aid. 

Slow Drainage

Less severe than an all-out backup, a sink, bathtub, or toilet that is suddenly draining slower than it used to can be a similar trouble sign. Again, a plumbing snake or chemical drain cleaner is the first defense. If that works only temporarily or not at all, chances are good that the root of the blockage problem is a damaged sewer line.

Sewer Gas Odor

If your sewer lines are in good shape, sewer gas odors should not be present because the sewer system in your home should be pretty much airtight. Any crack or unwanted opening in the sewer line means the system is no longer airtight and odors can permeate the home’s interior.  

Cracks in the Foundation

If there is a break or even a crack in your sewer line, water can escape and saturate your concrete foundation. This influx of moisture will eventually cause the cement to crack or even deteriorate. Don’t expect to notice this right after a break because like many diseases that attack the human body, foundation cracks happen gradually. But once you do see some foundation cracking, immediate action is required because repair bills will mount rapidly the longer you wait. Having to go to the emergency room gets expensive.

Formation of Mold

Just like cracks in a foundation, the appearance of mold does not happen overnight. It comes on gradually with no advanced warning signs. If you see or smell mold in your bathroom, basement or anywhere near your plumbing fixtures, sewer line damage may well be the culprit. Cracked pipes in the floor or inside a wall will cause humidity, which will almost always lead to the growth of mold inside your home.

Discoloration of Lawn

If you suddenly see patches of grass in your lawn that are a richer green than the surrounding grass, it can spell big trouble. Sewage actually fertilizes your lawn in a way you don’t want it to. Leaks in the sewer line under your lawn will fertilize patches of grass and these patches will appear more lush than the rest of the yard. Don’t mistake this lush greenery as a blessing, it’s a curse that may cost you a bunch of money.

Fast Action is Required

If you notice any of the above warning signs, it’s best not to hesitate and hope they’ll go away. Try the obvious solutions first, like a plumbing snake if you suspect a clogged line. Then keep a close eye to see if these remedies are only temporary.

In most cases, it’s best to get a complete sewer inspection done as quickly as possible by a qualified professional. If you do have a sewer line problem, the longer you delay, the higher the repair costs are likely to be. Contact your local professional plumbers to have your sewer line inspected today.