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Welcome to the Hydro Plumbing blog, where we provide valuable insights into common plumbing issues homeowners face. One of the most concerning problems is a clogged sewer line, which can lead to backups, foul odours, and potential damage to your property. In this article, we will explore the symptoms of a clogged sewer line, offer guidance on unblocking your main sewer line, and provide information on who to contact for outside drain blockages. With Hydro Plumbing by your side, you can tackle sewer line issues efficiently and restore the functionality of your plumbing system.

What Are the Symptoms of a Clogged Sewer Line?

A clogged sewer line can cause significant disruptions to your daily routine and potentially lead to extensive damage if not addressed promptly. Recognizing the symptoms of a clogged sewer line is crucial for early detection and necessary action. Here are the key indicators to look out for:

Multiple Drain Clogs: One of the primary signs of a clogged sewer line is when multiple drains in your home start experiencing issues simultaneously. You may notice that sinks, showers, bathtubs, and toilets are all draining slowly or backing up. Since the main sewer line connects all the drains in your house, a clog in this line can affect various fixtures throughout your property.

Gurgling Noises: Another common symptom of a clogged sewer line is hearing gurgling noises coming from your drains when using water in other parts of your home. These noises occur as air gets trapped in the plumbing system due to the blockage, leading to abnormal water flow and pressure fluctuations. Pay attention to any unusual sounds coming from your drains, as they may indicate an underlying sewer line issue.

What to Do If Your Sewer Line Is Clogged

Foul Odours: A clogged sewer line can result in unpleasant sewage odours emanating from drains, toilets, or even outside your home. The stagnant wastewater trapped behind the clog emits foul smells that are difficult to ignore. If you detect persistent sewage odours, especially in multiple areas of your property, it’s a strong indication of a clogged sewer line that requires immediate attention.

Water Backups and Slow Drainage: When a sewer line is obstructed, water may start backing up into lower-lying drains, such as basement floor drains or shower pans. You may also experience slow drainage, where water takes an unusually long time to empty from sinks, bathtubs, or toilets. These issues arise because the clog restricts the flow of wastewater, causing it to accumulate and create backups in the affected drains.

Fluctuating Toilet Water Levels: A clogged sewer line can cause fluctuations in the water levels of your toilet bowl. You may notice that the water level is unusually high or low, regardless of flushing. This occurs because the clog disrupts the normal flow of water in the sewer line, leading to irregular water levels in the toilet.

If you observe any of these symptoms, it is crucial to address the clogged sewer line promptly. Ignoring the issue can result in more severe problems, such as sewage backups, pipe bursts, or structural damage.

How Do I Unblock My Main Sewer Line?

Dealing with a clogged main sewer line can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, you can effectively unblock it and restore the proper flow of wastewater. Here are the steps to follow when faced with a clogged main sewer line:


Assess the Severity

Before attempting any DIY methods, it's important to assess the severity of the clog. If you're experiencing minor issues, such as slow drainage in a single fixture, you can start with simple solutions like plunging or using a drain snake. However, if multiple drains in your home are affected, or if you've already attempted DIY methods without success, it's advisable to seek professional help from Hydro Plumbing.

Turn Off the Water Supply

As a precautionary measure, it's essential to turn off the water supply to your home. This step will prevent any potential backups or water damage while you're working on unblocking the main sewer line.

Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners might seem like a quick fix, but they can be harsh on your plumbing system and may not effectively clear a main sewer line clog. Furthermore, these chemicals can pose health risks and cause damage to your pipes. It's best to steer clear of chemical drain cleaners and opt for safer, more reliable methods.

Professional Sewer Line Cleaning

For a clogged main sewer line, it's highly recommended to enlist the expertise of professional plumbers. Hydro Plumbing offers specialized services like hydro jetting, which involves using high-pressure water to clear blockages and debris from the pipes. This method is effective in removing stubborn clogs, including tree roots and built-up sediment.

Video Camera Inspection

To accurately diagnose the cause and location of the clog, Hydro Plumbing may employ video camera inspection technology. A small camera is inserted into the sewer line to provide real-time visuals of the interior, helping identify the specific problem and determine the most suitable course of action.

Repair or Replacement

In some cases, the main sewer line may require repairs or even replacement if the clog is caused by significant damage or deterioration. Hydro Plumbing has the expertise to assess the condition of your sewer line and provide appropriate recommendations for repair or replacement, ensuring a long-lasting solution.

Who Can Unblock Outside Drains?

When facing a blocked sewer line outside your property that still affects you, it’s important to understand the responsibilities and know whom to contact for assistance. Here’s what you need to know:


The responsibility for maintaining and unblocking outside drains typically lies with the local municipality or sewer authority. These entities are responsible for the main sewer lines that serve multiple properties in a specific area.

Contacting the Sewer Authority

If you suspect a blocked sewer line outside your property, it's crucial to contact your local sewer authority or municipality. They have the resources and expertise to address the issue and clear the blockage. Provide them with as much information as possible, including the location of the blockage and any visible signs or symptoms.

Cooperation and Communication

It's important to cooperate and communicate with the sewer authority or municipality to ensure a swift resolution. They may dispatch a team to assess and address the blockage promptly. Keep in mind that the process might involve excavation or other necessary steps, which could take some time depending on the complexity of the issue.

Hydro Plumbing Support

While the responsibility for outside drains typically lies with the sewer authority, Hydro Plumbing can still provide support and guidance throughout the process. If you're experiencing difficulties communicating with the sewer authority or need additional assistance, our experienced plumbers can offer advice and insights to help resolve the issue effectively.

Dealing with a clogged sewer line requires swift action and the involvement of the appropriate parties. Recognizing the symptoms of a clogged sewer line, understanding the steps to unblock the main sewer line, and knowing whom to contact for outside drain blockages are crucial for a successful resolution.

Whether it’s a clog within your property or an issue with outside drains, Hydro Plumbing is here to provide expert assistance and reliable solutions. Trust our professional team to address your plumbing needs and ensure the optimal functioning of your sewer line. Don’t let a clogged sewer line disrupt your life – contact Hydro Plumbing for prompt and efficient service.

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