sewer line clogged with tree roots

How To Know If Your Home’s Sewer Line Is Clogged

Your home’s sewer line is like the highway for all the waste that needs to be carried away from your property to the public sewer system. Occasionally, a clog can cause a “traffic jam” on that highway, and that can create a series of problems in your home. For a clogged sewer line, you’ll need to contact a plumber to clear whatever is blocking the line.

Below, we’ll provide you with a few telltale signs of a clogged sewer line.


If you notice the following problems around your home, then it’s time to call a plumber to inspect your home’s drains and sewer line.

1. Sewage is backing up through your drains.

This is the most obvious sign of a problem with your home’s sewer line. When something blocks the whole pipe, sewage and wastewater cannot pass through. Consequently, when a bunch of water flowing down your drains meets that blockage, the only direction it can go is back up into your home into the drains it originally flowed down.

If you have a clog in your sewer line, sewage backup will most likely occur when a lot of water goes down your drains all at once, like when you flush a toilet or use your washing machine or dishwasher. Once water drains from these appliances, you may start to notice dirty water filling up your sinks or showers, especially near the ground floor.

2. Water takes a long time to go down your drains.

Does it seem like it takes forever for the water to drain after you’re done showering or washing dishes? It might not be your imagination. If something obstructs the flow of water and sewage in your sewer line, all of the drains in your house will “slow down” because the sewage and wastewater can’t exit your home as quickly.

3. Your drains smell terrible.

Are noxious, sewer-like odors wafting up from your drains? If it’s just one or two drains in an unused area of your home, it might only be a dried-up P-trap. The solution here is simple: just run water down the drain (or flush the toilet) so that the P-trap can fill up with water again. The water in the P-trap will prevent more sewer gases from traveling up through your plumbing, and the smells will eventually go away.

If multiple drains in your home smell like sewage, then something is probably obstructing your home’s sewer line. For this situation, don’t wait to call a plumber to get to the root of the issue.

4. You see standing water in your yard or around your sewer cleanout.

If you notice a puddle in your lawn, and your sprinklers and rain are not the issues, it’s time to call a plumber. Tree roots can grow inside your sewer line and cause it to clog and crack. When this happens, sewage will leak out into your yard, leaving puddles or patches of especially green grass.

Water pooling around your sewer cleanout is another sign of a sewer line clog. Your sewer cleanout is a pipe that connects to your home’s main sewer line. The cleanout’s purpose is to give a plumber easy access to your home’s sewer line in case of a clog.

If you’ve never seen your home’s cleanout before, it’s just a piece of pipe located in the ground or an exterior wall of your home, usually near the foundation. It has a plastic or metal cover over the top that typically sticks out about ½ an inch to about 2 inches from the ground or wall. They’re usually located close to a kitchen or bathroom. Keep in mind that some houses have multiple cleanouts, while some may have none at all.

Sewer Line Camera Inspections, Cleaning, and Repairs in Columbus

At The Rooter Works Plumbing and Drains, we take pride in providing top-quality sewer services to our customers throughout Columbus, Franklin, and Knox County. For help with your home’s sewer line, contact us today at (614) 412-3324, and don’t forget to check out our coupon page for all of our latest specials!