It may sound simple and straight to the point, but don’t worry. New and seasoned homeowners have trouble figuring out their home’s main sewer line. We’re glad you asked.
While some of us get the impression that drain lines are linked directly into the city sewer system or septic tank, there are different lines wastewater travels before leaving your home. Your home’s main sewer line is the main exit point of residential sewage before entering city pipes and lines.
Let’s discuss the different lines and how they are linked to your home’s drain lines.
What are Sewer Lines?
A sewer line handles sewage coming from your home, ensuring all wastewater exits the house and preventing contaminated backflow into drain lines. The main sewer line is essentially the main line. However, here is a quick view of what separates the main sewer line from the rest:
- The sewer (main) line flushes out your home’s sewage.
- The sewer line cleanout provides direct access to the main sewer line.
- The rest of the sewer lines lead all drain lines to the main line below.
- Sewer lines are linked to all your toilets, sinks, showers, washing machines, and other water outlets.
If the last point above confuses you, let us clarify. Contrary to popular belief, your toilet drains are the only ones linked to the sewer line. While other drains are connected to drain lines, they eventually end up in your main sewer line, ushered by various plumbing fixtures.
Water backing into the basement from the floor drain is one of the most easily noticeable indications of a clogged sewer line, especially if it is accompanied by debris. So don’t forget to watch out for those in the interest of maintaining the main sewer lines.
What is the Main Sewer Line?
The main sewer line isn’t only connected to the plumbing systems inside. It’s bound to sewer pipes outside. A sewer line has pipes inside for sewage input and more outdoors to expel waste water. However, any waste or water backing into internal pipes is due to a clog somewhere in the system.
If sinks, showers, or floor drains have constant water backing out of them that drain snakes and industrial solvents can’t seem to fix, there may be a main sewer line clog. Debris may get caught in the drain cleanout, which explains why no amount of snaking the drain line helps.
You cannot access particle pollution in your sewer cleanout from drains inside the house. You may access an internal sewer clean-out, often found in the basement or crawl space. You can access a clog in the inner sewer line through an internal sewer line cleanout.
However, it can only remedy a clogged drain or sewer line. You can only clear the main sewer line through an external sewer cleanout.
Where is My Home’s Main Sewer Line?
An external sewer cleanout looks like a cast iron or PVC pipe attached to or under a concrete slab directly above the main line. You can step into your back or front yard and find the cleanout; wherever that is, you can bet your main line lies beneath.
If it is located in or around your yard, it may be surrounded by tree roots, but it is typically within a few meters of your backdoor. Tree roots may also creep into the cleanout and cause a clogged main line.
How Are Drain Lines Connected to the Main Sewer Line?
While your toilet outflow is directly linked to the main line, your sink and shower are connected through various fixtures within your plumbing system.
Remember, all drains lead to El Dorado! A clogged sewer line can stem from toilet paper in your toilets. However, a clog in your sewer pipe can also originate from a clogged kitchen sink or shower drain.
Clogs inside your home may disrupt water flow and result in a clogged sewer pipe outside your home. All the wastewater located in your home must be expelled from your home, entering into city pipelines or a separate sewage tank.
A licensed plumber can clean out debris buildup from an access point if a clog makes it into a sewage tank.
However, city pipelines are typically larger and lead to various sewers and gutters. It is unlikely a clog from your home will affect the city sewage.
How Your Sewage Makes It to the City Sewer System?
Here is a quick rundown of how your home’s sewage exits your home, from where the journey begins to where it ends.
- You flush the toilet.
- Wastewater travels down the drain.
- It enters your home’s interior sewer line.
- It flows directly into the main sewer line.
- The main line directs the flow out of your home. (gutters, septic tanks, public pipes, etc.)
- The main sewer line flushes all water flow out of your plumbing.
While the toilet process is more direct, your sink, shower, and floor drains follow the same process, with some additional steps to exit your plumbing. Still, it follows the same process:
- Through various internal drains
- Down the main drain
- Out the main sewer line
The process and the direction wastewater travels are simple. However, its simplicity is achieved by sophisticated plumbing, and neglecting routine maintenance will cost you.
Sewer Drain Clogs
Many homeowners are reluctant to call a plumber in case of a small clog in their drain pipe. Still, if you don’t remedy or repair a clogged pipe immediately, it may snowball into worse problems.
You don’t need to call a plumber to repair a minorly clogged pipe, but you should find ways to remedy it. Do It Yourself remedies do not cost too much, but they are not as effective against significantly clogged pipelines.
A homeowner may also be reluctant to dig up their yard if the main cleanout is the source of the clogging. In major cases, you need the help of a professional plumber.
Does Your Clogged Sewer Line Need Professional Repairs?
Frequent clogs in your drain may stem from worse problems. You might be used to it by now, normalizing backflow, unusual noises, and overwhelming odors. Encountering lingering clogs, noises, and odors is not normal. They need a professional evaluation if they linger or overwhelm your building’s occupants.
We know ‘at home’ remedies are abundant online, paired with some apps offering amateur assistance. Still, you cannot beat specialists with the necessary skill set to fix your problems permanently. You can only opt for DIY answers for so long before minor chronic problems become unbearable and overpower your homemade tools.
A local plumber may only snake it repeatedly if you are constantly experiencing an inexplicable backflow from a floor drain. However, a professional plumber from a prominent company may conduct repairs to ensure the recurring problem stops.
A prominent plumber service may advise you to replace old pipes or suggest a sewer line replacement, which may effectively remedy all your plumbing problems.
Sewer Line: Cleaning
You must extract sewer line clogs from the internal cleanout. It cannot be dealt with using industrial cleaners and drain snakes.
If you know how to dismantle a cleanout, clear it of blockages, cleanse it of any residue, and secure it back in place, then cleaning your sewer line may be a plausible monthly DIY project.
Sewer Line: Maintenance
Observing proper maintenance allows you to avoid experiencing problems related to a clogged sewer pipe. Maintenance work, including thorough inspections, should be conducted at least once a year. Some buildings with more extensive plumbing should observe more frequent inspection and maintenance services.
Remember that you can’t inspect your main sewer line if you think your watchful eye is enough. It takes professional tools and techniques to inspect, let alone repair, your main sewer line.
Don’t Be Drained By Your Plumbing System Woes – Call the Pros!
It would help if you didn’t attempt dismantling and tinkering around your plumbing fixtures, especially your main sewer line. You might cause more damage and sustain injuries when handling your sewage systems haphazardly.
Don’t worry. If you require professional plumbing assistance in Florida, we’re here to help. Whether it’s just an annual inspection or extensive plumbing repair, our Mac5 professionals have some special offers that can efficiently deal with your pipelines.
Mac5 Services: Plumbing, Cooling, Electric, Heating, Drains
We offer our same-day service for clients around Florida’s East Coastline, including Melbourne. If you need sewer line repair or sewer line replacement, we will deal with the mess to contain your stress. Please don’t forget that reliable professionals should do all major plumbing work.
Don’t forget about your annual maintenance! Our local plumbers conduct routine services that Floridians can rely on all year long.
Remember, summers in Florida are some of the hottest anywhere in the country. Extreme weather conditions can retire old pipes much faster. Our maintenance services will ensure your pipes last longer, work better, and last through different seasons.
Call (321) 244-7500
While you can conveniently book your appointment online, don’t hesitate to call our team for help. Our reps can guide you through various concerns or help you schedule an on-site consultation and inspection.