Keeping Your Sewer in Good Condition

If your cast iron sewer pipes are 25 years of age or older, they can fail at any time. Once you encounter full sewer line failure, the drainage lines may already be compromised by tree root invasion, cracks, channeling, or misaligned connections. Don’t let the plumbing go so far as it fails! It will cost you far more to fix a broken or damaged sanitary sewer line than will diligent maintenance and repair. This article highlights 9 things that deteriorate and possibly break the sewer line.

Backups and Blockages

In the lowest open drain, sanitary sewer backups usually occur. Normally a sewage backup is triggered somewhere in the line by a blockage. When you encounter a flood any time you flush or run water down your sink or bath drain, the problem is likely to be in your main sewer line as all drains depend on the main sewer line for proper drainage. When backups are limited to just one drain, however, the problem is likely to be confined to that drain.

Regular backups may be a symptom of damaged sewer lines. If you experience backups or blockages on a regular basis after your lines have been cleaned, you could have an underlying cause such as tree root invasion, cracks allowing the surrounding soil in, or misaligned pipes. Such problems may be observed through a video evaluation of the pipe.

Sewage Smell

When you can detect sewage gases in or around your house or property, it is a possible indication that somewhere in your drainage system there is a leak. With the exception of vent stacks on your roof, a sanitary sewer should be airtight everywhere, allowing the wastewater to move down. It means you should never smell the scent of sewage unless your sanitary sewer lines have a crack or gap.

Sluggish Drain

A slow drain can be a sign of the development of an obstruction that eventually leads to a buildup of sewage. If your toilet, tub, or sink drains poorly even after attempts to clear the channel, you may have problems such as root invasion, channeling, or cracks described in the passage above.

Note: Be careful using chemical cleaners to fix a sluggish drain. They may erode the cast iron or PVC.

Greener Grass

Spotting an extra green and abundant spot in your lawn can be caused by underground sewage leakage. Since wastewater acts as a fertilizer, leakage from your line into the soil will give extra nutrients to the surrounding grass, contributing to a lush and extra green lawn.

Lawn Dimples

A further indication of a broken sewer line is an indent in or around concrete slabs in your lawn. A broken sewer that pollutes the ground continuously can cause the soil to recede. This could result in your lawn forming a dimple or dip above where your main sewage line is running.

Cracks in Foundation

Sewer leaks cause foundation problems. Some serious sewer pipe failure signs include critical issues such as fractures in your foundation base, foundation settling, and even sinkholes in some cases. If the main line under your slab develops an untreated leak for an extended period of time, a void may develop underneath the foundation as well as in the yard. This can lead to problems with the foundation, such as cracks in your structure, settlement of your house or building, or perhaps even a sinkhole.

Septic Pool

Septic sewage pooling in your yard could be an obvious sign that you may have a broken sewer pipe. The problem could be a faulty septic tank, obstructed drain fields, or a cracked mainline. The problematic area is often located directly below the sewer water.

Rodents

A rodent problem could be another potential sign of a fracture. Rodents reside in sewer systems and can work their way to the pipes that run behind your walls. An ordinary rat could fit through an opening the size of a quarter through a crack or gap in your sewer.

If you have a persistent rodent problem that pest control tactics can’t seem to solve, try getting a video inspection of your sewer system to see if you have any possible entry points for rodents.

Insects

The infestation of a pest can also be a result of a sewer line being compromised. Bugs like cockroaches, palmetto bugs, and sewer flies find it less difficult to get into your home than rats through drainage fractures. The tiny German cockroach can squeeze as thin as a dime into a crack in your pipes, whereas the bigger American cockroach can fit into a gap no bigger than a quarter!

Avoid Sewer Line Damage

When you encounter any of these signs of a broken sewer line, a sewer inspection should be carried out by a qualified professional such as Heil Plumbing. Plumbing systems can malfunction suddenly, causing significant damage to your property. We can diagnose if your sewer line is the root of your problems, and if necessary, repair and even replace your damaged sewer lines.

Why Choose Heil

  • Years In Business
  • Customers Helped
  • Service

The Heil Difference

We’re dedicated to offering the highest quality residential and commercial plumbing services for every customer. Our plumbers are available to respond to your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our residential and commercial plumbers in Columbia and Ellicott City cover every need, from simple fixture repairs to complex drain and sewer problems.

While we are based in Jessup, Maryland, our plumbing contractors also service Catonsville, Columbia, Ellicott City, Odenton, Clarksville, Elkridge, Fulton, Laurel, and Severn.

Common Water Heater Problems

Nobody wants to be without hot water, and as it gets cooler the idea of a cold shower becomes even less inviting. Water heaters don’t last forever, and when they fail the damage can be catastrophic. (Think about your 80-gallon tank full of water one minute, and then empty the next. That water went somewhere – your basement floor!) Failure doesn’t always happen in such dramatic fashion, but it does happen, and it is not worth the risk of having to spend extra money fixing water damage or replacing any valuables that may have gotten soaked. There are ways to keep an eye on the status of your water heater so you know when to consider replacing, or when it may be something as simple as flipping a breaker.

No Hot Water Coming From Your Water Heater?

If you’ve got an issue with all of your fixtures (sink faucets, showerheads, etc) lacking hot water, then your water heater is not doing its job. These are some possible reasons why your water’s not getting to temperature:

It’s All Out! You’ve Run Out of Water

Water heaters have different capacities (50 gallons, 75 gallons, etc). If you’ve been running a lot of hot water, it’s quite possible that you have just run out.

Before jumping to conclusions, you should wait and give your water heater some time to reheat the fresh water. If your hot water returns after 30-90 minutes, then it’s likely that it just ran out of its supply. If this seems to happen often, it may be a good idea to replace it with a larger capacity when the time comes or be mindful of the order in which you use water. It is estimated that each person uses an average of 60 gallons per day. However, that doesn’t always need to happen all at once! To help you understand how much water you are using throughout the day, here’s how much water usual household tasks use on average:

  • Approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water for one shower.
  • Washing machines use an average of 25 gallons per load.
  • The kitchen sink takes roughly 20 gallons per day for preparing food and washing dishes.
  • The bathroom sink, used for washing hands, shaving and brushing teeth, requires about 15 gallons per day.

No Supply or Power

Whether you have a gas or electric water heater, it needs those things to run.

If your gas water heater is not working, make sure that the gas is making it to the heater.

  • Turn the gas control knob to PILOT.
  • Remove the cover where your burner and the pilot light is located (at the bottom of the water heater).
  • There should be a flame lit inside..

If there is no flame, it could mean that the pilot has gone out. You can refer to the manual for instructions on how to light the pilot on your specific water heater or call a plumber to assist with relighting the pilot.

If the pilot is lit and you are not getting any hot water (or not enough hot water), this could be due to a few different things. There could be an issue with the thermostats, the size could be wrong for your household and individual needs or the gas valve needs to be replaced. If you see that the pilot is on but it’s not up to temperature, still not heating or not giving you enough hot water, it is a good idea to call a plumber to diagnose the issue. It could be something as simple as replacing the thermostats, or it could be a disaster waiting to happen.

If you’re running an electric water heater, you need to ensure that it is getting power.

  • Check to see if your water heater has a power switch that has been turned off.
  • Check your breakers! If it has tripped, simply reset the breaker.

If it continues to trip, it’s time to call a professional. There are different reasons why your water heater keeps tripping your breaker, from burnt heating elements to the thermostats being bad. Having it repaired as soon as possible would be the best way to keep this from continuing to happen.

If you discover the breaker is not the problem, and you aren’t getting any hot water, it could be the heating elements that have failed or the limit/reset switch may be tripped from the water being too hot or failure of the part. If you are experiencing the issue of just not having enough hot water, this could also be an issue related to the heating elements or thermostat, or it could just be an issue of not having a tank with the right capacity for your home.

The Water Heater Is Leaking!

A leak from the top or the bottom of the water heater can be serious.

A leak from the top can be caused by many things.

If you find your water heater is leaking from the top, it is very important to turn off the power to the water heater and discover the source of the leak. You want to turn off the power to the water heater so that the water does not leak onto any electrical elements and cause a further problem with the heater itself.

Once you have turned off the power, dry the top of the water heater and try to determine where the water is coming from. It may be coming from a valve above the water heater, or there may be a pinhole leak in one of the pipes that are connected to the water heater. Once you discover the source of the leak, you can determine whether you are capable of tightening a valve or if it’s something more involved that you will need to contact a plumber to assist you with.

A leak from the bottom can be a more serious issue.

First, make sure that the water heater doesn’t just have a leak from the top that is running down to the bottom. Look for any visible signs of a leak on the top of the water heater and all pipes leading to or away from the heater. You can also remove the access panels (on electric models) and check for moisture in the insulation.

Water heaters have a valve at the bottom of the unit that is used to drain the water heater. This could potentially be the cause of the leak. Look to see if there is moisture around it or if there is water dripping from the valve. If it seems to be leaking, make sure that it is completely closed by turning the valve clockwise. If this does not stop the leak, then the valve would need to be replaced.

If the leak is coming from the tank itself, then it is time to have the water heater replaced. The tanks will eventually corrode and create pinhole leaks, but over time these leaks can become larger and cause a much worse issue.

Why Choose Heil

  • Years In Business
  • Customers Helped
  • Service

The Heil Difference

We’re dedicated to offering the highest quality residential and commercial plumbing services for every customer. Our plumbers are available to respond to your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our residential and commercial plumbers in Columbia and Ellicott City cover every need, from simple fixture repairs to complex drain and sewer problems.

While we are based in Jessup, Maryland, our plumbing contractors also service Catonsville, Columbia, Ellicott City, Odenton, Clarksville, Elkridge, Fulton, Laurel, and Severn.

How to Tell If You Have Sewer Problems

Your home’s water supply and drain lines tend to be out of sight, out of mind. But take a minute to think about how crucial the sewer lines are to you and your family’s daily life. From meal preparation and washing dishes to doing laundry and maintaining your hygiene, you need your plumbing operating correctly! It’s important to know the signs of sewer problems before they get worse and require a costly repair.

Fixing major plumbing problems should be left to the professionals. The trained plumbers at Heil Plumbing can diagnose your plumbing problems in Howard County and offer effective solutions.

Sewer Problem Warning Signs

Chances are if you’re not a professional in the plumbing industry you may not understand how dire your plumbing problems are. Keep an eye out for these sewer pipe problems to avoid more severe issues in the future.

More than one drain is draining slowly

As a homeowner you know that clogged drains aren’t a rare occurrence. Whether its hair, toilet paper, or beauty products clogging your drain, a plunger typically offers a quick fix. But if multiple drains start to drain slowly at the same time, you could have a bigger problem to solve. An experienced plumber can help determine if this is simply a clogged line or if it is a bigger problem.

Water backs up into other drains

One of the most important signs to watch out for is water backing up in other places. This indicates that you have a major issue with sewer backup! Whether your shower makes gurgling noises when you flush the toilet or the water bubbles in your toilets when you use the washing machine, the problem needs to be addressed immediately in order to minimize costly repairs and damage to your home and personal belongings.

Same drains back up repeatedly

Does your sewer always back up, even after you’ve had it cleaned or snaked? There could be an underlying issue further down the drain line. Tree roots, cracks or flat spots in your main sewer line could be the issue. Call Heil Plumbing and we can send a camera into your sewer to properly diagnose the issue.

Lowest drain backing up

When waste water starts bubbling from the lowest drain in your house, usually the basement shower or toilet, contact Heil Plumbing immediately. Your main sewer could be clogged, and if not addressed, your basement may get flooded with sewage. Heil Plumbing offers emergency drain cleaning 24 hours a day.

Drain or Sewer Cleaning in Howard County, Maryland

Your home is supposed to be a place and rest and relaxation, but that isn’t possible if you’re experiencing irritating plumbing problems. Once you suspect that you have a sewer line problem, it’s imperative you address it sooner rather than later. If you don’t get it cleared or repaired, it can cause a backup of raw sewage and other damaging problems to your Maryland home. That’s where Heil Plumbing can help. Our team can locate drain or sewer damages, assess the situation, and clean out or repair your problem quickly and efficiently so you can go about your normal routine.

Why Choose Heil

  • Years In Business
  • Customers Helped
  • Service

The Heil Difference

We’re dedicated to offering the highest quality residential and commercial plumbing services for every customer. Our plumbers are available to respond to your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our residential and commercial plumbers in Columbia and Ellicott City cover every need, from simple fixture repairs to complex drain and sewer problems.

While we are based in Jessup, Maryland, our plumbing contractors also service Catonsville, Columbia, Ellicott City, Odenton, Clarksville, Elkridge, Fulton, Laurel, and Severn.