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A plugged sewer line occurs when obstructions form in the sewer pipes, and the pipes can no longer carry waste to the city sewer system. The first sign that you might have a plugged sewer line is when the lowest basement drains, such as floor drains or shower drains, back up water into the basement. Sewer lines can get plugged for various reasons, including roots, misalignment, buildup, and foreign objects.
Roots are a persistent source of sewer plugs. Once they have found their way into your sewer line, they will continue to grow and follow the same path unless dealt with permanently. Misalignments occur when pipe joints don’t line up, and eventually cause a buildup of debris that blocks the drain. Buildup inside a sewer line connector over time can occur even if a misalignment isn’t present. Debris can collect even in straight, well-installed pipes. And of course, any foreign objects that make their way into a sewer pipe could cause a blockage.
The only way to prevent sewer backups before they happen is to have your sewer inspected regularly. An annual camera inspection can inform you if there are any issues with your sewer and what course of action is needed to fix it. Also, a drain maintenance program with a drain cleaner like Bio One can help reduce buildup in your pipes, which will really help reduce blockages.
If your sewer line is plugged, there are two courses of action to resolve the issue. Firstly, the short-term solution is to auger the affected sewer line and free the blockage. Getting the waste to flow out of your home is a great first step. However, it usually doesn’t deal with the cause of the blockage, just the blockage itself. Augering the roots, organic buildup, or foreign objects that are plugging the line doesn’t stop a blockage from happening again in the future. The long-term solution is to deal with the causes of these blockages before they occur.
The only way to stop root intrusions is to seal the piping so they can’t get in again. A sewer replacement is the only way to guarantee that roots will not find their way back into the sewer. Depending on your sewer, you might be a candidate for either a sewer liner, trenchless sewer replacement, or sewer excavation to permanently stop root intrusions. Misalignments in your sewer piping that catch debris can only be resolved through a sewer replacement that requires an excavation.