If you are having issues with slow drains, clogs, or poor water pressure, there could be an issue with your main sewer line. The first thing that a homeowner should do is to locate the clean-out, which is a fixture that sits near the foundation, or closer to the street in some situations. Most newer properties have clean-outs, which make flushing and possibly unclogging the line much, much easier.

Six signs that you have a problem with your main sewer line are:

  1. There is an awful odor. One sign of an issue with your main sewer line is an awful odor. This may even precipitate issues when you flush or problems with drainage.
  2. The toilet is making noises. If you are hearing gurgling sounds coming out of the toilet, unprovoked, you probably have a clogged or cracked sewer main.
  3. Nasty water is coming in the drains. If you are experiencing backing up of nasty, gray water in any of the sinks, tubs, or fixtures, call a plumber. This is likely a sign that your sewer main is blocked and needs to be flushed out. During this process, the plumber should be able to determine if it is something more severe, like a cracked or broken pipe.
  4. All your drains are not working right. One drain means that you have a clogged pipe somewhere in the home; when all the drains are not moving or 'clogged', it is likely due to a problem with our main sewer line. Call a plumber.
  5. Your lawn looks funny. Look for dents on the lawn or big wet spots near where the main line runs—this could be a sign of an issue with the sewer main below. Faulty sewer lines are sometimes responsible for sinkholes in extreme cases.
  6. There are leaves and debris when you flush. If you notice foliage or debris in the toilet, it is possible that tree roots may have encroached the pipe, causing an issue with the entire main line.

If the issue is between your house and the main city sewer line, it is your cost to bear. Make sure that you get permission from the city before having any work done to your sewer main drain or you run the risk of problems later.

If you think your main sewer line is clogged, or worse, cracked, don't attempt to mess with it on your own. Call a plumbing and septic tank drainfield repair contractor to identify the cause of the blockage and restore your sewer line function as fast as possible.