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How to detect a sewer line clog

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Rancid smells.  Contaminated water.  Do these sound like experiences you want to have in your home?

Of all the things that can go wrong with your plumbing (of which, there are surprisingly many), a clogged sewer drain is one of the worst.  While it is usually relatively inexpensive to fix, and in most cases requires only minimally invasive repairs to your yard, sewers just have a stigma.  The word alone conjures up images of rot and general unpleasantness.  Nobody wants to have to deal with them.

However, they’re unavoidable.  Whether you have an emergency or not, at some point you’ll have to reckon with your sewer line if you’re a homeowner.  But that doesn’t mean you should try and fix the problem yourself.  Repairing this kind of issue demands the knowledge and skill of a professional.

For the best sewer repair Los Angeles has to offer, call Morningside Plumbers.  We keep the work and costs to you low by employing advanced, efficient methods.  Hydro-jetting, for example, can remove your sewage clog without having to tear up your yard.

If you think that you may have a blockage but aren’t sure, here are a few signs to look for.

Strange Fixture Activity

This is commonly cited as the number one red flag (other than a horrible sewage smell that has suddenly occurred in your home).  If you finish a load of laundry, and the toilet starts making a percolating noise – almost like a coffee maker – you’re not experiencing spooky supernatural activity.

Likewise, if flushing the toilet results in water coming up in the bathtub, you probably have a sewer line issue.  What’s happening is the water in your pipes can’t get out to the main line, so it’s being re-directed and sent back into your home.

But if you’re still not sure, turn on the sink closest to the toilet.  Watch it as you let it run for a couple minutes.  If you see bubbles come up in the toilet, then you can be almost positive of a clog.

Pools of Water

A giant puddle in the basement obviously isn’t normal.  The first cause to inspect is the water heater.  These can occasionally leak and flood whatever space they’re in.  Short of that, however, your problem may be sewage-related.

Additionally, when you’re showering, does the water drain slowly?  What about the sink?  Does everything disappear as it should?  Of course, these could be results of a localized clog, and you can always check the traps to make sure.  But if you’re seeing frequent pools of water accumulating as the result of poor drainage, then it’s time to call a pro.


Again, it can be tricky to differentiate between a clogged drain and a greater blockage.  This is partially because sewer lines are similar to trees.  Your home has one main line that can affect all fixtures, but it also has smaller, separate lines (or “branch” lines) that evidence themselves in more isolated clogs.

In either case, overflowing fixtures that can’t be un-clogged through simple measures are probably a bigger problem.  Contact a professional to diagnose and treat the problem.