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How you can tell if your sewer line is leaking

The sewer line is a main artery within every home, funneling wastewater from major fixtures behind the scenes, underground, and into the city sewer. Because it functions largely unseen in the walls of your house, and underneath your yard, it can be difficult to diagnose when a sewer line is leaking, or when there is an issue demanding an immediate sewer line repair. Fortunately, there are tell-tale signs that act as alerts when something with the sewer line is off, and should these important indicators go unchecked, there could be much worse plumbing problems on the horizon. So, keep in mind the following symptoms of a potential sewer line leak when inspecting around your home:

Unusual Sounds

They can be faint and difficult to isolate, but the distant sound of running water within the walls, or an odd gurgling from the toilet, are indicators that water is flowing where it shouldn’t be, and that it could be the sewer line. The dripping, or running water sound is likely from a crack somewhere within the line, whereas the gurgling sound present when a toilet is flushed comes from the air making its way into the pipes. Both of these issues can be traced back to the sewer line leaking.

woman holding her nose

Foul Smells

The smell of sewage is distinct, pungent, and never a sign that everything is well. If you start to smell sewage, there is a good chance the sewer line is leaking within your home and in need of repair. This smell will generally originate in the basement, or lowest drain within your home, as the leak will run to the lowest point it can find.

Backups and Slow Draining

While an isolated drain clogging isn’t something to panic over, if you start to notice all of the drains in your fixtures are draining slower than usual, this can be a sign that there is a blockage within the sewer line. Additionally, if you notice sewage backup filling up fixtures, the time has come to contact a sewer line expert to diagnose and alleviate the underlying issue, as sewage wastewater can be a major health hazard.

Soaked Floors or Spots in the Yard

Leaks under floors will cause pooling, which leads to spots that feel spongy or springy, or areas that create a sloshing noise when stepped on. These same areas can become discolored at the surface level — usually yellowed internally, but greener spots within a yard are worth paying attention to, as well, as a sewer leak could be providing extra moisture to portions of the grass. These spots in the yard will be accompanied by visibly

retained water, and while providing temporary extra growth, they will end up doing damage to landscaping, or even potentially lead to sinkholes.

Cracks and Crevices

If unattended long enough, leaking sewer lines lead to greater pooling within walls and around supports, as well as within the soil around the foundation of a home. This moisture will begin undermining the structural components, causing the house to shift, and structural supports to buckle. This will create cracks and crevices in walls that can be very costly to repair.

Sewer line leaks are a pain and can be difficult for homeowners to diagnose on their own. If any signs are spotted, it’s best to bring out a sewer line repair service expert immediately, to find, contain, and repair the issue before it leads to larger headaches. If the signs start to add up to issues with your sewer line, reach out to the experts at Duane Blanton Plumbing at (815) 781-2567, or give them a shout online through the online scheduling portal, for information, to answer questions, and to service any sewer line issues before they get out of hand.

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