If you're a homeowner, you may be surprised to learn that when there's a sewer problem, you may be held responsible for the repairs. You may also be surprised to learn your homeowner's insurance may not necessarily cover it. Here's what you need to know.
Where Does Your Responsibility Begin?
In most municipalities, your responsibility begins where your home is connected to the city sewer system. This means any plumbing within the home as well as the underground lateral lines that connect you to the main system are your responsibility if they become clogged or are in need of repair. A homeowner with above-average do-it-yourself skills may be able to repair a simple clogged drain, but an issue with the lateral lines will require a professional plumber to fix.
What Are The Signs That A Main Sewer Line Might Have A Problem?
One of the most common signs you will hear first is "gurgling" noises coming from the drains. You may also see and hear your toilet water bubbling up. This is especially common after washing a load of laundry and having a large amount of water sent through the drains. You may also see water bubble up through the floor drain in the basement.
The plumbing in your house is like a tree, with one main trunk and then lots of smaller pipes coming off of it like branches. A clog in the kitchen sink will only affect that branch, but a clog in the main pipe will affect all of the other drains in the house.
What Causes A Clogged Main Pipe?
A common reason is tree roots. Many older pipes still exist in the infrastructure, and these were usually made from red clay. These are easily penetrated or broken by the strong power of tree roots. In newer subdivisions, the main pipe is most commonly caused by flushing feminine hygiene products, "deluxe" toilet paper and wipes, and paper toweling. If you suspect a clog in your main drain, turn off the main water valve and call a plumber, like Brad's Plumbing.
How Will The Drain Be Cleared?
The plumber will use a drain snake, which is an auger cable. They feed the cable into the drain pipe to clear the clog. Once the clog is cleared, they may send a camera down to see if it was just clogged or if the pipe has broken. If the pipe has broken, the city utility will need to come out and assess the situation. Repairing it will require a backhoe to dig up the earth and replacing or repairing the breech.