Your sewer system plays a vitally important role in protecting your property and the health of your family. Sewer issues can lead to expensive property damage and even make it unsafe to stay in your home. Because of this, it’s important to pay attention to the warning signs that your sewer is in need of repairs. Below we’ll take a look at your sewer system components and some of the obvious and less-than-obvious signs that it’s having issues.
Your Sewer System
Sewer system setups can vary from property to property, but they basically consist of the same components. Generally speaking, any plumbing that drains waste and water away from your home is part of the sewer system. This includes your toilets, as well as your sink and shower drains. Unlike a supply plumbing system that uses pressure to move water, your sewer system uses gravity to drain used water and remove waste. Most sewer systems carry water and waste to a municipal water treatment facility, but some homeowners have a septic system that collects waste in a tank on their property.
What Is The Average Life Expectancy of a Sewer System?
The average life expectancy of a sewer system is around 20 to 30 years. This length of time relates to systems that were properly built, installed, and well-maintained. Proper maintenance and care, such as pumping, drain cleaning, and drain field maintenance, will extend the life of your system and potentially save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in repair and replacement costs.
Of course, even well-maintained systems can run into issues. If you think that your sewer system is failing you, you need to act quickly to avoid serious problems. Some of the signs to watch for include the following.
Rising Water Bills
One of the first signs of a sewer problem is a steadily increasing water bill. Because most parts of your sewer system are hidden, you can have a sewer leak and not even know it. In fact, most sewer leaks will end up in your yard or in an area of your home that is behind a wall. So, if you see rising water bills but you haven’t been using your water more than usual, a sewer leak may be to blame.
If you are noticing the presence of wet spots or standing puddles in your yard even without rain, it is a definite sign that your sewer system may need service. When these pools of toxic water are accompanied by foul odors, they are almost certainly indicative of a much larger problem.
Overly Green Yard
In addition to creating puddles around your property, leaking sewer lines can make certain areas of your yard much greener than others. Because sewage contains organic matter, it acts like a fertilizer for your grass. While a green lawn is usually a good thing, it certainly isn’t if the green is coming from a malfunctioning sewer system. Vibrantly green patches of grass coupled with soggy soil are likely caused by a sewer leak that needs professional attention.
Foul Smells Around Your Property
One of the most unpleasant side effects of a poorly functioning sewer system is the foul, offensive odors that emanate from your drainage field and even inside your home. You should never be able to smell raw sewage as it travels through your system. Persistent, worsening foul odors must be assessed promptly to keep you and your loved ones safe from toxic gases that can emanate from raw sewage.
Drains, toilets, and bathtubs get clogged from time to time, but multiple issues with several fixtures inside your home need some special attention. A failing sewer system can cause clogs in lines that are unreachable to you. When these clogs occur, they can affect fixtures throughout your home. Calling in a trained professional to assess and repair the damage is the most efficient way to deal with potential system failure.
While all plumbing makes noise from time to time, a persistent gurgling noise in your plumbing indicates that there are line blockages causing slow draining in your sewer line. Over time, this blockage may become worse, leading to a total obstruction that will need professional repair immediately.
Varying Levels of Toilet Water
Toilets can vary in size and bowl capacity, but if you notice that average water levels seem to be randomly rising and falling, this indicates dysfunction somewhere in your sewer line. If you have a toilet that isn’t used often yet you notice that water levels are fluctuating, consult with a plumbing professional to see if repair or replacement are on the horizon.
Failing Water Pressure
If you notice that the water pressure coming from sinks, showers, and toilets is lower than usual, this could be due to a clog in your line that is causing pressure issues. Running drain cleaners down your sinks and tubs might work in the short term, but clogs can reside in areas of the line that are beyond your reach. It’s best to call in a professional to clear all lines and get your system back in working order.
Mold and Mildew Growth
When a sewer line is leaking, you may begin to notice mold and mildew growth on walls, ceilings, or floors. Both mold and mildew can spread quickly throughout your home and cause a variety of health issues. If your indoor humidity is at the right level but you have moisture-related biological growth in the home, it’s time for a plumbing inspection.
Wall Cracks and/or Broken Concrete Slabs
Sewer leaks can wash away the soil that supports your home’s foundation. When this happens, supporting walls and concrete slabs can shift and crack. Cracks caused by a malfunctioning sewer system will not improve but instead get worse with time. In fact, severe problems can lead to structural collapse. Once you notice new cracks forming on walls or floors, it’s important to see if sewer or other plumbing leaks are the cause.
Tree Root Intrusion
A tree root can do significant damage to a sewer line, causing issues with water flow in and around your home. Tree roots bust right through pipes and create obstructions that can cause sewage and other debris to back up and cause damage in other areas of your system as well. Rather than digging down to assess the damage yourself, call in a plumbing system professional who is trained to target and repair specific areas of your system.
Reach Out for Professional Help Today
Failing to pay attention to early warning signs of a poorly functioning sewer system can cost you dearly. You’ll endure days without proper system function, and you could put your property at risk. Detecting these issues is an essential part of protecting yourself and your property.
At Sunrise Plumbing, we can inspect your sewer system for issues and provide prompt repairs in Rockwall and the surrounding area. Our full-service plumbing company also provides drain cleaning and repair and leak detection for all of your plumbing systems. Need a new water heater? We install traditional and tankless water heaters and can provide water heater repairs whenever you need them. You can also turn to us for help with sump pumps. Reach out to our team today for more information or to set up an appointment.