Yuck! Ick! Ew! We would like to keep things like sewage out of mind and out of sight, but unfortunately, sometimes we are in need of a sewer line repair. Here in Fort Worth, Texas, the biggest city in the state, we know bigger is better but a big sewage problem is not what we mean.
This is a topic that most of us really do not want to engage but it may, unfortunately, be a topic we need to address. How do you know when your sewer line is failing? What are the warning signs and what should I do if my sewer lines fail to wash away... the stuff?
We have done all the dirty thinking for you. Read on to learn just enough about sewer lines to keep you feeling happy you did.
Sewage Pipe Burst
Are there puddles in your yard or places where the ground is sinking? Is there a distinctively foul odor? When this occurs it is most likely a broken or leaking pipe.
When a sewage pipe bursts it is essential you repair it immediately to avoid contamination to the environment. The longer the pipe is leaking sewage the worse the potential damage to the property and the greater the cost of service to repair it.
Why Do Sewer Lines Burst?
There are several reasons why pipes burst — and may even burst without warning. Water expands when frozen. Freezing and thawing over time weakening the pipe is the most common cause of a burst pipe.
Tree roots growing and wrapping around underground pipes are another common cause. The ground shifting into boulders can also cause pipes to burst. Other times the pipe weakens from age and consequently is unable to withstand water pressure and thus bursts.
How to Tell If a Sewer Pipe Is Leaking
You will most likely smell the problem before you ever see the problem. Chances are if you are smelling a foul odor of the worst kind, you have a broken sewer line. Over time, sewer line leaks and broken sewer lines cause the worst kind of plumbing problem, a sewage backup.
If you didn’t manage to catch things early, then you’re probably reading this article amidst foul play. The sewage line broke and now your toilets are doing the opposite of what they are supposed to do. Instead of flushing down and away, they are spitting up things we would rather not talk about.
If you are lucky and know what to look for, you can get ahead of things before they get out of hand. There are a number of reasons why pipes start to leak and in some cases, it is difficult to pin down the cause. Here is how to tell if your sewer pipe is leaking:
Toilet won't flush? Especially if you have multiple drains with problems it is usually the main sewer line backing up. All drains of the house send your water out the mainline. If the main sewer line is backed up it means all the drains in your house are going to slow or cease to function.
As mentioned several times already, if you smell something awful it is the tell-tale sign you are dealing with a sewer line leak. Fun fact: an intact and functioning sewer system does not smell at all. Water seals in the drains are there to stop any foul-smelling gas from entering your home.
Mold on the Wall
Mold on the walls indicates trapped moisture. When you see mold on your bathroom or kitchen walls, floors, or ceilings you need to check the pipes for leaks. The leak is likely slowly destroying everything around it including your walls.
High on the list of symptoms, slow drains may mean you have a clog in the sewer line. Clogs in themselves might not mean damage to the line, but clogs can cause stress on the pipes that could lead to a leak or even a burst pipe.
If one of your drains is slow and not the others then you may just have a clogged drain or a clog in the secondary pipe leading to the main sewer pipe. Try a plunger, snake, or chemical drain clog remover. If the slow drain persists then the problem is deeper down the line and you will need a professional plumber to investigate.
Normally, a lush green yard is something to be happy about. Other times it means the sewage is fertilizing your lawn. If you notice green patches in your yard this could mean there is a leak in the underground sewer line in that area.
Leaking pipes can wash away the soil and cause the ground to sink in the area of the pipe. Sinkholes in the yard are always a good indication of a leak in the main sewer line. Take a walk around the area and if you feel shifts in the ground or soft, wet, or loose soil the problem could have been caused by a sewer line leak.
Damaged pipes have the ability to damage every part of your home's building structure. Over time leaks can cause massive cracks in concrete walls and foundations and even erode wooden interior walls. Remember small cracks become big cracks and before you know it the whole wall needs replacing.
Pools of Wastewater
A broken sewer line can saturate the soil sending pools of wastewater up to the surface. If your yard is beginning to look more like a swamp every day, then it’s best to call the plumber about your sewer line break.
Along with a bad smell, a telling sign of a leak comes from insects buzzing about in the home or around the house and yard. Water bugs hanging around under your sink are a good sign they like your leaky pipe. Insects love sewage so if you see swarms of gnats, flies, or other such pests this could indicate a leak.
If Nothing Else Works
Sewer line repair is the last thing you want, and we understand. Try every common fix you can but if your broken sewer line symptoms persist, get help fast.
Sewer Line Repair
Sewer lines are underground. This means they have to be dug up to be replaced, right? Actually, not necessarily. Thanks to pipe bursting technology, sewer lines can be replaced much easier than before.
Before pipe bursting, replacing underground pipes was a huge headache. Trenches were dug to remove the old pipes. Surveyors needed to map out electric and gas lines and other potential dangers before breaking ground.
Then the real work began. A team of dirt movers with heavy equipment would come in and tear apart the property to get at the pipes. The old pipe was removed and hauled away. Once the new pipe was laid, you were only halfway done.
Now the property needs extensive landscaping work. The land needs leveling. The grass needs to be reseeded and the whole mess left by the excavation cleaned up. The whole process can take weeks.
Thankfully there is a better way. Replacing pipelines with a pipe bursting service is a superior solution in many ways. First off, pipe bursting is a trenchless process. There is no need to dig up the old pipe at all.
Burst Pipe Repair
The old or broken pipe is intentionally destroyed by the experts using special pipe bursting machinery and the new pipe is pulled through to replace it. Bursting the pipe and destroying it is an efficient way of replacing it.
Two small pits are dug at the start and end of the pipe that needs replacing. Machinery is set up in the front pit where the pipe goes into the structure. The pipe is burst from there to the end of the pipe at the pit on the other end.
The so-called ‘bursting head’ is attached to the front of the new pipe. The old pipe is burst into pieces and the bursting head clears the pieces into the dirt walls expanding the pipe cavity.
Once the old pipe is out of the way, the new pipe is attached to the bursting head. The machine then retracts back through the cavity it just burrowed pulling the new pipe into place. This simplified process most certainly saves time and money.
Pipe bursting uses high-quality seamless pipes built to last the long haul. Many plumbers will give a lifetime guarantee for pipe bursting service.
What's a Septic Tank?
A septic tank is an underground concrete or plastic cavity where sewage is stored — if it isn't flushed away through a city sewer system. Septic tanks are mostly found on properties in rural areas.
Sewage is a hazardous material and the proper disposal of it falls under the responsibility of the homeowner. Talking about human waste isn't the most attractive of subjects, but it is important to understand the basics of how your septic tank works and the common things that could go wrong with the system.
Pipes carry wastewater to the septic tank. Most septic tanks have two chambers that serve to separate the solid sludge from the water. Solid waste is broken down in the septic tank as much as possible and the wastewater is filtered and sent out the tank through a series of pipes known as a drainage field. The hazardous material is kept inside the tank while the rest is absorbed into the soil of the surrounding area.
Septic Tank Service
Your septic tank will eventually fill up with sludge and need emptying. There are many factors affecting how often a septic tank needs to be emptied such as the size of the tank, the amount of waste going through the system, among others.
When purchasing a new home or building, it is wise to ask when the tank was last pumped and when it is expected again. Some septic tanks need to be emptied every few years while others need to be emptied every 10 to 20 years or more.
The pipe carrying waste to the septic tank may become clogged and begin to back-up. When this happens the pipe needs to be snaked or pumped to clear the blockage and restore the system to working order.
Septic Tank Maintenance
If you notice that draining water from toilets, sinks, or tubs has slowed or stopped, then take it as a sign that your pipes to your septic may be beginning to clog up. You should call a plumber to assess the situation and take action before there is a more serious stoppage.
A foul odor in the home is always a warning sign of sewer system issues. If you notice a bad smell coming from the drains when you flush or use the water facilities there is likely an issue with the septic tank or the pipes running to the septic tank.
Septic tank repair and replacement is a dirty and expensive business. Ongoing and frequent maintenance of the septic tank and pipes increases the lifespan of the septic tank and lowers the risk of serious problems developing.
The Signs You Need Septic Tank Repair or Service
If properly maintained, septic tanks can last generations, but nothing lasts forever. Servicing your septic tank and making needed repairs early can save you from sewage backups and the cost of replacement before its time. Be on the lookout for the signs that your septic tank needs to be serviced or repaired and call in the professionals before the problem becomes a huge stinky mess.
One Dirty Job
It may be a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. Luckily, it doesn't have to be you and it doesn't have to be a horrible experience. If you suspect you may need a sewer line repair or septic tank repair, call your Fort Worth Local professional Mr. Rooter, and let us deal with it.
Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Fort Worth is on call 24/7 and always ready to bring you neighborly plumbing services. Call (817) 769-6643 or request a quote to get your pipes back to working order.