An Old Pipe

5 Symptoms of a Damaged Sewer Pipe

The life span of iron sewer pipes is around 25-35 years. So if you have cast-iron lines that are this old, be aware they could fail at any moment. Furthermore, your drainage system might already be impaired by cracks, tree root intrusion, or inadequately aligned connections before you have complete sewer line failure. Therefore, you want to avoid getting to the point where your entire plumbing breaks. This article will share the symptoms of a damaged sewer pipe to help you know when something isn’t alright

The most common symptoms of a damaged sewer pipe

Even though your home’s sewer pipes aren’t visible, you should keep them in your mind due to their importance and the potential damage they can cause. Unfortunately, the damage can cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix. That’s why every homeowner needs to know about the signs of a broken sewer line. 

If you detect some of these signs, be sure to contact a professional immediately to do a thorough sewer line inspection. Also, depending on the damage, you might need to temporarily remove some of your possessions for safety purposes. The easiest way to do this is to consider hiring valet storage. You will only need to prepare your belongings on time and leave the rest to the professionals. They will come and get your boxes and transfer your possessions to safe storage while your home is undergoing repairs. 

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the most common signs you might have a sewer pipes problem.

Pipes that are constantly clogging

One of the most common signs that something might be up with your sewer lines is when your pipes seem to be clogging up. Unfortunately, even if you’ve tried some of the products to clean and unclog them, they don’t seem to help.

a toilet sign
Clogs and backups are some of the most common symptoms of a damaged sewer pipe.

So, if you’ve experienced this scenario, it’s a signal a sewer pipe has suffered some damage. This means it is time to stop putting off your plumbing repairs. Instead, you should call a professional to inspect your sewer lines and determine the best approach.

Moldy areas 

Other signs of a collapsed sewer line or a broken water pipe could be wet spot’s on your ceilings, walls, or floors. If you leave it unchecked, the water that infiltrates from a sewer or water line will most likely cause mold and mildew to spread rapidly. Some types of mold only need 55% of humidity to start growing. This is a scenario you want to avoid, as the spores from these fungi can cause severe allergic reactions. Additionally, as they evolve, they can cause significant damage to your home’s foundation, interior, and exterior.

mold on the walls as one of the symptoms of a damaged sewer pipe
You most likely have a breakage in your sewage drain pipes if you notice mold growth accompanied by sewer odor.

Drains that are backing up

If you have a specific drain backing up, there’s probably a problem with one particular drain. However, if all the drains in your house are backing up, it could be a sign of a broken sewer line. 

If you have tried to clear the blockages multiple times, but they seem to return, then it could mean you have a problem with root intrusion. Either way, this is another situation where a professional needs to do a sewer camera inspection.

Rodents and cockroaches

Another common problem that is linked to breaks in sewer pipes is rodents. An average rat can squeeze through a crack in your sanitary sewer that is only a size of a quarter and get into your house. Furthermore, rodents are responsible for spreading many diseases, which is why you should have regular pest control. If they don’t seem to solve your problem, a video inspection of your sewer system might.

a rat
You will have a higher chance of solving your rodent and insect problem by calling professionals to inspect and clean your sewage system.

Another common symptom of a broken sewer line is insect infestation. Insects like cockroaches and sewer flies can make it even easier through your sewer pipes than rates. Unfortunately, cockroaches are also known to have adverse effects on human health. This is because of the allergens found in their saliva, feces, and body parts that can trigger asthma (especially in young ones).

Cracks in your walls

Another common but most extreme symptom of sewer pipe damage includes foundation issues. These issues are cracks in your foundation, sometimes even holes.

a crack in the middle of a wall
Broken sewer pipes can lead to foundation problems.

The cracks usually appear due to a leak under the stab that hasn’t been repaired. If you leave this problem unsolved for a more extended period, it can lead to the formation of voids which can destabilize the foundation.

A few more damaged sewer pipe symptoms

Now that you’ve seen the most typical signs of sewer pipe problems, here are some less specific things to watch out for.

  • Sewer smell – You shouldn’t be able to smell anything coming from your sanitary sewer if everything is alright.
  • Your lawn looks quite good – A broken sewer can act as a fertilizer to your property, so make sure you watch out for that too.
  • Gurgling toilet – Your toilet shouldn’t make any strange sounds. But, if it does, that’s a sign of a problem.
  • Septic waste – If you notice septic waste collecting in your yard, you most likely have a broken sewer line. However, it is usually just under the waste spot, so locating the problem is pretty simple.
  • Slow drains – A sluggish drain is a symptom of blockage that can potentially lead to a sewage backup.

The takeaway

If you notice any symptoms of a damaged sewer pipe, it is the right time to call for professional help and have the problem resolved. They will do a thorough inspection and see if they can fix the problem or it’s time to replace your old plumbing or at least upgrade it.