Common problems with sewer lines include clogs, tree roots, leaks and bellied pipes. Depending on the type of pipe in use and its condition, it is sometimes easier to replace a line instead of making repairs.
Sewer lines carry waste from the kitchen, laundry and bathroom. Materials in the outflow can form a plug in the line. Sometimes the blockage slows the flow of waste but at other times it stops any flow from the fixtures. A plumber’s snake is generally effective at removing the blockage and restoring the flow.
Some trees have roots that work their way through the smallest of cracks in the sewer line. Once inside, the root branches form a network of smaller roots that lead to clogs. A rooter is plumber’s snake with a sawtooth blade for cutting through these roots and opening the line.
Leaks form when pipes separate or break due to the movement of the ground. Driving heavy equipment over the lawn above the sewer line can crush the pipe, causing both leaks and clogs. These leaks allow the escape of water into the surrounding areas.
Settling of the ground forms bellies in pipes. These low places in the line collect sewage and increase the chances of clogs. Repairing the line requires replacing the sunken pipe with new sections that maintain a gentle slope from the home to the sewer main at the street.