How Do You Know When Your Sewer Line Is Blocked?

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Every property needs a sewer line in good working order, no matter if it’s domestic, commercial or industrial. It is one of the most important parts of any given property. That is why it is worth knowing what causes it to block and not run as it should. 

How a Sewer Line Works 

The average property consists of a couple of basic paths that sewer lines go through. They are the toilet and bathroom drain, the kitchen sink and grease trap, pipes, main sewer, vent and septic tank. All of these parts collaboratively ensure the sewer system runs as efficiently as possible. Constant maintenance of these parts will help your sewer system remain in good working order.

What Causes Blockages? 

If you’ve owned a property for an extended period of time, blocked sewer systems should be nothing new. They happen frequently. More often than not, they occur because of a lack of maintenance. The most common causes of sewer blockages are as follows: 

  • Flushing the wrong things – A very common misconception is that things like soft tissues or wet wipes are acceptable things to flush down the toilet. They are actually a very common cause of blocked toilet drains and pipes. It takes wet wipes over 100 years to break down, they are not biodegradable. Don’t use your toilet as a bin. Only use it as intended. 
  • Tree roots – As tree roots expand and grow, they will continuously seek moisture. In areas or times with minimal rain, these roots seek out the moisture in your drains and cause blockages. In worse cases where the roots are bigger and stronger, they can even crack and break your pipes. 
  • Deteriorating sewer lines – Just like death and taxes, some things are unavoidable. Deterioration of your sewer lines is one of those things. Sewer lines sag as they age which makes it harder for waste to flow through. To get the most life out of your line, it is paramount that you perform proper maintenance on a regular basis. 
  • Debris – It is very easy for debris to make its way into your sewer lines. Debris includes such things as grass, mud, leaves, sticks etc. Once these things are in your sewer lines, it is only a matter of time before your sewer lines are completely blocked.
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Being able to tell if your sewer line is blocked or not can sometimes be quite difficult. As a property owner, you should be aware of the ways that you can assess your sewer line to see if it is blocked or not. 

Your sewer lines work together as one system. 

So if there is an issue with one area, it will almost always cause an issue in another part of the system. For example, if your tank is clogged, the drains coming off it will have issues as well. As the water drains through the clog, it will sometimes make a gurgling noise as it moves through the pockets of air. If this happens, you’ll hear it through your showers, sinks and bathtub. One of the easiest ways to check if your main sewer line is blocked to check your homes sewer clean-out. Modern properties almost always have clean-outs with circular lids. Locate this, remove the cap and investigate to see if the sewer water is flowing or standing. If you find the water to be flowing out of the pipe or not moving, it means that you most likely have an existing blockage.

Unblocking Your Sewer Line 

If you’ve discovered a sewer line blockage at your property, it’s time to learn how to rectify the issue. Below are a couple of methods you can try. 

Release the Water Pressure 

To do this, turn off your primary water supply as soon as possible. Find the location of your property’s sewer clean-out line. Once you locate this, remove the cap to release the pressure in the sewer line. Doing this will force the water that has backed up to drain.

Mechanical Drain Clean 

If you have any experience with unblocking drains, you’re probably already aware of how to mechanically drain your lines. This requires a drain snake/auger. You’ll usually find that this equipment is mounted on a vehicle or power assisted. These work by being fed into the line and manually breaking up whatever is causing the blockage to allow water to pass through. 

You’ll find that most professional plumbers will usually use high pressure water jets, sometimes called a HydroJet. Similar to the auger/drain snake, these machines feed into your lines but also shoot out high pressure water, enough to piece and break through anything that may be blocking your sewer line, even tree roots. 

Nothing Worked? 

If you’ve tried one of the above methods or aren’t fully equipped for the task, contact a professional plumber such as The Fawcett Group to come out and unblock your sewer line for you. We have over 20 technicians on the road that carry the latest in state-of-the-art drain cleaning tools & technology and that are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Whether you’re in Northern Suburbs, Southern Suburbs or Adelaide Hills, rest assured that there’s a plumber ready to assist you! Phone us on 1300 329 238 or email us at

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