sewer pipe

Telltale Signs You Have a Damaged Sewer Pipe

Telltale Signs You Have a Damaged Sewer Pipe

The sewer pipe installed in your home has what can only be described as a thankless job.

Per TrenchlessPedia, sewer pipes work as the “conduit for the elimination of waste materials,” which is a nicer way of saying that they are the elements of your home that are in charge of getting the nasty and unpleasant bits out. Sewer pipes specifically handle the wastewater and the other pieces of debris that may be suspended in it.

Sewer pipes are made out of different materials.

The Spruce notes that sewage pipes in older homes – those built before the 1950s – may feature materials such as cast iron, clay, and even a fiber conduit more often referred to as Orangeburg. Newer homes tend to feature ABS and PVC pipes, though you will still see cast iron pipes installed today.

The reason why cast iron pipes have stuck around for so long is because they are remarkably strong. You don’t have to worry about overloading these pipes because they can handle pressure just fine.

If you have a cast iron sewer pipe installed in the home you bought or knew enough to get one added during the construction process, then consider yourself lucky. Leakage is a serious issue when it comes to sewer pipes and it can affect your home, everyone inside it, and everything around it quite significantly.

Listed below are the telltale signs that your sewer pipe has sustained damage and they also double as the reasons why you should seriously consider hiring a leak detection service.

Water is Moving Down the Drain Slower

Let’s start with the signs that will manifest themselves inside your home. One in particular that you may notice quickly is the water draining noticeably slower than it did previously.

If you’ve been in your home for an extended period of time, you will be able to tell right away if the water is circling the drain slower than it used to. The issue here is that many homeowners may end up shrugging off this abnormality. They may just write it off as a result of a small clog in the pipe that will clear up soon enough.

Yes, while a minor blockage may be an issue that can take care of itself, if those happen frequently enough, they can wreak havoc on your sewer pipe. That’s especially true if you use chemical cleaners on them because those can damage the pipes.

Monitor the slow draining first and see if it persists.

Gurgling Sounds are Coming from the Toilet

One of the signs telling you something is wrong with your sewer pipe can register itself as a curious sound. After the toilet has been flushed, you may hear a kind of gurgling sound rising from the drain.

While the gurgling sound on its own can already be quite disturbing, the potential ramifications of it can be even more upsetting. That gurgling sound could be an indicator that there is sewer gas trapped in the pipe. More often than not, the gas ends up getting trapped because the venting system itself has been blocked.

Instead of going out the usual exit, the sewer gas has to take a detour via the toilet bowl. Gurgling sounds coming from your toilet are not indicative of a broken pipe per se, but they can be indicative of a clogged pipe. If that clog persists, it could end up damaging the pipe.

White Deposits Appear Around Drains

As a result of the water in bathtubs, toilets, and sinks draining slower than usual, you may notice something unusual on them. To be more specific, you may find white-colored mineral deposits on the surfaces of those aforementioned fixtures.

In the grand scheme of things, white deposits are not going to be much of a problem for you. They can be cleaned up easily enough after all. Still, it would be in your best interests to take note of them as they can be telling you that something is wrong.

Water Levels in the Toilets are Changing on Their Own

This symptom of a damaged sewer pipe is tougher to pin down mainly because it could also be a sign that your toilet is malfunctioning. What we’re talking about here are changing water levels in toilets.

If there’s something wrong with your toilet, the problem could show up in the form of its standing water either being abnormally high or appearing abnormally low. The water level may also change even if no one used the toilet.

Again, this issue could be related to the toilet, but there’s also a chance that it is caused by a damaged sewer pipe.

The Smell of Sewerage is Permeating Your Home

Now we’re getting to the tell-tale signs that you’re going to have a tough time ignoring. One of the aforementioned signs is one that will register right away because of how unpleasant it is.

As soon as you start to notice the smell of sewerage in your home, you need to take that as a sign that there is something very wrong with your pipes. Sewer systems are designed to be airtight because of the rank odor they may release if they are left even slightly open. You shouldn’t even detect a whiff of sewage if the pipes and the system itself are all intact.

For those unaware of what sewer gas smells like, it has an odor that can be compared to a rotten age. Sewer gas smells that way because it contains hydrogen sulfide.

By the way, if you think that sewer gas is no big deal and that you can worry about it later since it’s just lingering in the basement, that is not the case. According to Angie’s List, prolonged exposure to sewer gas can lead to you suffering from headaches, sinus infections, bouts of dizziness, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Pets may also be adversely affected by the sewer gas.

Take action right away on that unpleasant odor because it can be problematic to your home and everyone inside of it.

Mold is Starting to Grow

Another sign that could be hinting at a damaged pipe is mold. Because the mold fungus is capable of growing on all kinds of surfaces, you may not see its presence as a sign of trouble right away.

The key thing to note here is that mold requires moisture in order to thrive. That’s why you need to take it as a clear sign that there is something wrong if you notice it growing along the spot where the sewer pipe is supposed to be.

Similar to the sewer gas, you need to take action right away if you start to notice the presence of mold in your home.

Reactions to the presence of mold can vary.

Some may suffer from a mild allergic reaction that can lead to a runny nose or a rash. However, those who have a serious mold allergy can suffer from an asthma attack and shortness of breath, according to Web MD.

Infants and elderly individuals inside the home may also be adversely affected by mold so get rid of it and its root cause as soon as you can.

Pest Infestations

Buckle up because this next tell-tale sign is somehow more unpleasant than the last two.

Think for a moment about what you can usually see in a sewer. Obviously, you can find different kinds of waste there and water as well. But don’t forget about the pests that often lurk in the dark corners of city sewers.

Examples of the little critters that love calling the sewer home include cockroaches, flies, and rats.

You may not worry much about those pests if they are just chilling out in the city sewers, but do know that they can get into your home if there is a crack in your sewer pipe. They don’t need much space to get inside your pipe and eventually inside your home too.

Remember that these citizens of the sewer have the ability to carry different diseases. They should not be welcomed in your home.

Count avoiding a pest infestation as just one more reason why you should look for and quickly fix a broken sewer pipe.

The Blades of Grass near Your Home Suddenly Look Greener

The telltale signs of a damaged sewer pipe can show up outside your home too. To find out if you have a broken pipe, take a closer look at the grass located near where the pipe should be.

What you’re specifically checking here is the condition of the grass. Does it look noticeably greener and healthier than it did previously even though you’re not doing anything different when it comes to lawn care?

Sadly, the explanation for your lawn looking better could be your sewer pipe being busted.

Note that water is not the only thing that may be springing forth from the busted pipe. The different substances in the wastewater may come out too and many of them can actually be beneficial to plants.

The next time you see a patch of grass near your home looking unusually healthy and green, take a closer look and see if there may be more to it.

Soft Spots and/or Holes in Your Yard

While having healthier grass is kind of a positive side effect of having a leaky sewer pipe, you should know that a bigger problem can stem from that.

If you allow the water from the pipe to continually seep into the soil, the ground itself can soften up. Allow that to continue even longer and you may start to create holes in your yard by just stepping on the ground.

Softened soil is problematic, and not just because of its poor appearance.

You can also end up twisting your ankle if your foot gets caught in one of those holes. On top of that, holes in the ground can serve as nests for the aforementioned pests that may make their way to your home via the damaged pipe.

Given the potential problems that can come from having softened soil in your yard, you need to act swiftly to address that issue.

Cracks Forming in the Asphalt and/or Your Foundation

Hopefully, it never reaches this point, but yes, broken sewer pipes can also be the reason behind why cracks have formed in your driveway or in the foundation of your house.

Since the water coming from the busted pipe is softening up the soil so much, you shouldn’t be surprised if the foundation of your home gets weaker. After all, the solid ground you built your house on has now turned to mush.

The foundation may first appear uneven because of the softened ground, but if enough time passes, the cracks will show up.

This is probably the number one reason why you should fix a broken sewer pipe right away. As costly and inconvenient as it may be to address that problem, just think of how much you will need to spend if the foundation of your home is severely damaged.

broken sewer pipe

What Causes Sewer Pipes to Break?

There are two main reasons why the sewer pipes in your home may break.

The first one is because of clogging. The pressure that starts to build around the spot where the blockage is can lead to pressure building. All that pressure can then cause a portion of the pipe to burst.

The second reason is aging. Sewer pipes may last for a long time, but they won’t last forever. Natural wear and tear have a way of damaging them to the point where they can no longer work as intended.

If you are starting to sense that there may be something wrong with your pipe, do not hesitate to sign up for leak repair.

Contact Best San Diego Leak Detection and Fix Your Sewer Pipe Problem Right Away

Leaky sewer pipes are not just unpleasant to have in your home, they can pose a serious threat to your health too. Take action as soon as you can if you suspect you have a leaky sewer pipe.

Call Best San Diego Leak Detection and allow them to help with your sewer pipe-related problems.

December 19, 2019 Categories: