Causes of a Clogged Sewer Drain

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    Sewer Drain Inspection

    • The best way to investigate the causes of a clogged sewer drain is to use the services of a professional plumber. Many plumbers have specialized TV equipment that can be lowered into a clogged sewer drain to investigate the problem firsthand. This will give you an exact cause of why the sewer pipe is clogged, and the plumber will be able to recommend the steps you can take to keep the pipe from becoming clogged in the future.

    Broken Pipes

    • If the sewer pipes are broken or ruptured, the sewage won't be able to properly drain through the system and will cause backups. There could be a number of different reasons for a sewer pipe rupture, including ground movement, increased traffic on the ground above, construction and even tree roots.

    Tree Roots

    • Tree roots are a major contributing factor to a clogged sewer line. Older sewer lines were sometimes constructed out of clay or other porous materials. In addition, the connections between the pipe sections weren't as tight as today's PVC pipes. As tree roots grow, they search out sources of water. If tree roots latch onto a sewer pipe, they will grow into the pipe in order to reach the water inside. This can frequently cause blockages inside.


    • Debris, such as toilet paper, paper products or objects accidentally flushed down the toilet, can also cause the toilet to clog up. Toilet paper, in particular, can catch onto tree roots or other obstructions poking through the side of the sewer pipe. Over time, more toilet paper can begin to gather at the same spot, resulting in a major clog.

    Clearing Clogs

    • If you're determined to clear the clog yourself, you'll need a device called an electric auger or plumbing snake. Locate the clean-out plug for the sewer pipe. This is a circular pipe about 3 inches in diameter that pokes up from the ground between the front of your house and the sewer line. Open the clean-out plug with a wrench and run the snake into the hole toward the house. Most electric snakes are equipped with a foot pedal, allowing you to control the speed of the auger.

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