When your drains are slow and you suspect drain blockage, you need to know whether the problem is affecting the fixtures or drains in your house or it is affecting the main sewer line. This distinction is important because it helps you to target the right area with the solution. For example, it would not help much to use drain cleaners for problems located in the main sewer line. Here are some signs that the slow drain is being caused by a problem in the main sewer line.
All Drains Are Affected
If the drainage problem is within the house, then it's unlikely that it will affect all or most of your drainage or plumbing fixtures at once. For example, a drainage problem in the bathroom may only affect the shower, bathtub or toilet fixtures that may start draining more slowly than usual. However, if everything in the house from the toilet to the kitchen sink is affected, then you are probably dealing with a main sewer line blockage. This makes sense because every fixture in the house that produces waste effluent is connected to the main sewer line.
Sewage in Sewer Cleanout
You should also suspect main sewer line blockage if your sewer cleanout is overflowing; that is, if you can see signs of sewage effluent over the cap. The sewer cleanout is an access opening, in the form of a pipe with a cap, which is connected to the main sewer line. The main function of the sewer cleanout is to allow plumbers easy access to the sewer line for whenever inspection or servicing is required. You should locate the sewer cleanout in your yard, most likely around the home or basement.
Repeated Drainage Problems
Lastly, you should also suspect a problem with the main line if you have been dealing with repeated drainage problems in the recent past. Maybe last week the toilet and bathtub were slow draining, the other week all drainage fixtures were affected, and this week your drainage is slow draining again. In such a case, you have probably been fixing the wrong problems or mere symptoms of the problem instead of the main issue – blockage of the main line.
Normal Unblocking Methods Don't Help
Lastly, you should also suspect that your main sewer line is malfunctioning if your drains are blocked or slow draining, but the usual unblocking methods aren't helping. Maybe you have used the plunger, used drain cleaners, and even tried snaking the drains. In this case, these techniques aren't helping because the problem is out of their reach.
For more information, contact your local licensed plumber.
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