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7 Key Signs You Could Have a Broken Sewer Line

Can you relate to any of the following problems?

  • Your sink’s struggling to drain water
  • Your bathtub’s always clogged
  • You’ve noticed darker spots on your ceiling

If you’re nodding yes, it might be an indication you have a broken sewer line.

As a homeowner, this can cause you plenty of issues. So, in this article, we’ll introduce seven critical signs to look out for that signal you may have a broken pipe.

Let’s dive in!

1. An Unpleasant Odor

The first sign of trouble can be strange, unidentifiable smells. If you smell something foul in your home, it can be an indication that your sewage system is not working as intended.

This can happen due to a broken sewer line or an entirely different problem, but it’s wise to call an expert as soon as you smell something’s off.

Keep in mind that the odor can be slight at first. It might not seep into the whole house but could start coming from your drains. Do not ignore this as the foul smell can sometimes affect your health.

2. Mold

Sewage problems can sometimes bring serious issues with them. Once a line is broken, water leaks out of it.

It causes damp spots, which in turn attracts mold. The perfect conditions for fungus are warm places with little humidity…. like a house with a broken pipe behind the walls.

Mold, in turn, can be detrimental to the wellbeing of the household – some types of mold can cause allergic reactions or breathing issues. If you notice suspicious spots on walls, floors, or ceiling, consult a professional immediately.

The mold that’s caused by a broken sewer line can impact the house itself. Mold damage can affect the exterior or interior of the building.

If you hear water in places that don’t have a sewer line running through them or see something that makes you worried, do not hesitate to call a plumber. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

3. Changes in Your Lawn

There’s a saying about greener grass and happiness. However, if you notice your lawn becoming greener when you didn’t do anything to get it that way, perhaps it’s a cause for concern.

When a line breaks beneath the lawn, the sewer water escapes into the ground. The fertilizers it contains might make your grass flourish, but you have to understand the risk and issues it brings with it.

Extra-healthy plants aren’t the only indication of a broken sewage system; these issues can also cause indentations. If you notice dents forming on the pavement, don’t overlook it – it might indicate a bigger problem.

Lastly, your lawn might be getting soggy. Water leaking out of a broken sewer line will saturate the earth around it.

The excess water might rise and form little puddles. These are not only unsightly but don’t smell good either. It can render your yard unusable until you fix the problem.

4. Pests

A broken line might lead to a rodent infestation if left unchecked. It’s no surprise that these pests make their home in the sewer, and the pipeline is their pathways.

If there’s a crack they can sneak through, there’s a possibility they will take a liking to your home.

This leaves you with two problems to deal with – broken line and rodents. To avoid that, repair the leakage as soon as you suspect anything. It’s not only a precaution, but it can also end up saving you additional expenses.

5. Foundation Problems

Some buildings get cracks in their foundation over time, which means it’s more likely for an old building to have a number of them.

However, if you notice that your foundation seems to be cracking at a faster rate, it might be an indication of a broken sewer line.

Water that escapes a broken line could wash away the underpinnings of the house. This can cause cracks, sinkholes, or even house settling.

Of course, there’s a chance something else caused these problems, but to be aware of the possible damage from the sewage is a step in the right direction.

6. Clogged Drainage

Because the sewage system is directly related to the toilet, be sure to check on the water levels there.

If you notice extreme fluctuation (one day water is above the norm, while another it’s barely at the bottom), it can be a sign of a broken line.

Another indicator of a broken sewer line is the slow drains. If your sink or bathtub sluggishly drains the water, it can be a start of a bigger problem.

Additionally, if you notice the water is coming back up the drain, consider contacting a professional.

7. Plumbing Problems

If you find that your household is suffering from several plumbing problems at once, you might have a broken sewer line on your hands.

An example would be a link between two appliances: if using a toilet causes the sink to fill up with water, you should contact the professional as soon as you can.

It’s important not to mistake a clogged pipe with a broken sewer line. A typical clog can cause a lack of drainage in one appliance.

But if the problem is related to drainage in several places at once, you probably have a sewer-related issue. And these require specialists.

Granted, it might not be within your power to keep the sewage system intact, but there are certain things you can do.

Keep an eye out for the older looking manholes in less renovated streets. The benefits of manhole inspections include less danger to your household and property, as well as potential losses.

Don’t ignore the strange sounds (such as running water) coming from the walls that don’t have pipes behind them.

Don’t think the peculiar odors will go away on their own. And don’t try to paint over the strange spots on your walls. Be aware of the warning signs, and don’t hesitate to ask for professional help.

Do You Think You Have a Broken Sewer Line?

We hope you now have a better idea of what to look out for to identify whether you may have a broken sewer line.

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to our blog. And remember: just because your neighbor’s grass is greener, doesn’t mean he’s happy about it!



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About the Author

Kaya Wittenburg

Blog Author and CEO

Kaya Wittenburg is the Founder and CEO of Sky Five Properties. Since the age of 10, real estate has been deeply ingrained into his thoughts. With world-class negotiation and deal-making skills, he brings a highly impactful presence into every transaction that he touches.

He is here to help you use real estate as a vehicle to develop your own personal empire and feel deeply satisfied along the way. If you have an interest in buying, selling or renting property in South Florida, contact Kaya today.

Feel free to call me at: (305) 357-0635
or contact via email: