There's no delicate way to talk about sewage. Sewage problems are just gross. Ever smelled backed-up sewer pipes? Ugh. Worse yet: Ever had sewer water actually back up into your shower or spill out onto the floor. Barf.
Without a proper waste disposal system, you can experience a whole host of issues: spreading diseases, mold outbreaks, and breathing problems. As your Novato plumbers, we're just as serious about helping your family stay healthy as we are about plumbing.
We'll come investigate any problem you might be having, but there are some issues we tend to hear about more often than others. Here are four top causes of sewer damage.
Sewer Damage Cause #1: Tree Roots
Tree roots are one of the top external causes of problems with your sewer lines. Tree roots are attracted to the ummm, fertilizer... in the wastewater. As roots grow around your pipes trying to get at these nutrients, they create cracks big and small. Tree roots have been known to crush or completely fill whole sewer lines! Even if you don't have trees in your own yard, a neighbor's tree could easily become your plumbing nightmare.
Sewer Damage Cause #2: Physical Obstructions
Clogs are one of the top internal causes of sewer damage. So repeat after us: Your toilet is not a trash can. We've pulled all sorts of things out of sewer pipes: garbage, toys, diapers, cooking grease, paper towels, menstrual products, even too much toilet paper at one time. All of these can lead to blockages or clogs in your sewer pipes. And even if you take care of your pipes, dirt, debris, and hair can create obstructions in your sewer lines over time.
Sewer Damage Cause #3: Rodents
We wish sewer rats were more like Remy from Ratatouille than Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective. (Unlocked some deep childhood memories there, huh?) Unfortunately, burrowing rodents are an archenemy of sewer lines. They loosen joints, turn small cracks into big cracks, and use pipes to nest and multiply. It's never a good sign when rodents are involved.
Sewer Damage Cause #4: Normal Wear-and-Tear
Time isn't kind to your pipes. General corrosion and sediment build-up can create leaks and blockages. Natural soil movement over time causes sagging sewer lines, which can become a problem when the low spots create repeat blockages, ruptures, or leaks. Regular monitoring and maintenance can help, but ultimately sewer pipes have a shorter lifespan than your sewage needs.
When should you call a Novato plumber about sewer issues?
Here are seven obvious signs that point to possible sewer damage:
- All your drains are backing up at once. If you flush the toilet and the toilet, sink, and shower drains all spit up water, there's a clog in a main pipe somewhere.
- Weird things are happening when you use your toilet. We're talking toilet water bubbling, gurgling sounds when you flush, or backed-up water in the shower after flushing your toilet.
- Your lawn starts to change. Indentations in your yard may indicate a break in the line or a sagging pipe. Changes to your grass are also a big red flag. Soggy patches or extra green, lush patches mean sewage is probably coming up from the pipes below and fertilizing your lawn.
- It smells. This is an obvious one. If it smells like sewage, it's probably sewage.
- You're growing mold. Leaking sewage pipes mean moisture in places you don't want moisture. This can cause fungi and mold to grow in seemingly strange areas of your home. If you notice a mold spot, look for other signs of sewer damage.
- Your drains are slow. If your drains are slow to well, drain you're on your way to a larger clog. Don't use chemical drain cleaners, which can ultimately make the situation much worse by corroding your pipes. Try natural alternatives or calling in the pros. It's worth it!
- You have a pest infestation. Remember the sewer rats? If you start seeing evidence of a rodent infestation, they might be coming in from your sewage pipes. Same with bugs like cockroaches. These pests are great at finding little cracks to wiggle through, especially underground where your sewer pipes are!
Very few people in the world would attempt a DIY fix for their sewer damage. Even if you're one of those folks, please give us a call first! We want to help keep our Novato plumbing customers safe and healthy in their homes.