Signs of Sewer Line Issues: When to Call in a Professional

Brad Smith
Written By Brad Smith

Sewer line issues can cause significant disruption and inconvenience to homeowners, leading to foul odors, slow drains, and even sewage backups. Recognizing the signs of sewer line problems early on can help prevent costly repairs and minimize damage to your property. In this detailed blog post, we’ll explore the common signs of sewer line issues and provide guidance on when to call in a sewer professional for assistance.

signs of sewer line issues when to call in a professional

1. Foul Odors


  • Sewage Backup: A foul smell emanating from drains or around the property can indicate a sewage backup or blockage in the sewer line.
  • Sewer Gas Leaks: Cracks or leaks in sewer pipes can release sewer gases, resulting in unpleasant odors inside or outside the home.


  • Immediate Attention: If you notice persistent foul odors, especially accompanied by other signs of sewer line issues, contact a professional for inspection and diagnosis. 

2. Slow Drains


  • Blockages: Accumulation of grease, hair, soap scum, or debris inside sewer pipes can restrict the flow of wastewater, leading to slow drains.
  • Partial Blockages: Partial blockages in sewer lines can cause water to drain slowly from sinks, showers, toilets, or washing machines.


  • Professional Assessment: If multiple drains in your home are draining slowly or gurgling, it may indicate a sewer line issue. Contact a plumber to assess the situation and determine the cause of the slow drains.

3. Backups and Overflow


  • Blockages: Complete blockages in sewer lines can cause sewage backups, resulting in toilets overflowing, drains backing up, or water pooling in sinks and tubs.
  • Tree Root Intrusion: Tree roots growing into sewer lines can cause blockages and backups, especially during periods of heavy rain or soil saturation.


  • Emergency Response: Sewage backups pose a health hazard and require immediate attention. Contact a professional plumber or sewage cleanup specialist to address the issue promptly and safely.

4. Unusual Sounds


  • Gurgling Noises: Air trapped in sewer pipes due to blockages or pressure changes can cause gurgling or bubbling noises when draining water from sinks, toilets, or showers.
  • Sloshing Sounds: Sewage backups or partial blockages can cause water to slosh around inside sewer pipes, producing unusual sounds.


  • Investigation Required: Unusual sounds coming from drains or sewer pipes may indicate underlying issues with the sewer line. Contact a plumber to investigate and diagnose the source of the sounds.

5. Soggy or Sunken Areas


  • Pipe Leaks: Leaks or breaks in sewer lines can lead to water pooling or saturating the soil around the affected area, causing the ground to become soggy or sunken.
  • Erosion: Continuous water flow from leaking sewer pipes can erode the soil, creating depressions or sinkholes on the property.


  • Visual Inspection: If you notice soggy or sunken areas in your yard, especially near sewer line access points or cleanouts, it may indicate a leak or break in the sewer line. Contact a plumber for a thorough inspection and repair.

6. High Water Bills


  • Water Loss: Leaking sewer lines can result in significant water loss, leading to unexpectedly high water bills.
  • Continuous Flow: Continuous flow of water from leaking sewer pipes can cause water meters to register higher usage than normal.


  • Monitoring and Investigation: Monitor your water bills for any sudden spikes or increases in usage that cannot be explained by seasonal changes or household activities. If you suspect a leak in your sewer line, contact a plumber to conduct a leak detection and repair.


Recognizing the signs of sewer line issues early on is crucial for preventing extensive damage and costly repairs to your property. If you experience any of the signs mentioned above, it’s essential to act promptly and contact a professional plumber for inspection, diagnosis, and repair. Ignoring sewer line problems can lead to worsening conditions, health hazards, and structural damage to your home. By addressing sewer line issues proactively, you can ensure the proper functioning of your plumbing system and maintain a safe and healthy living environment for you and your family. Remember, when in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and seek professional assistance from a qualified plumber.

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Written by Brad Smith

CEO & Lead Interior Designer

Brad Smith is an experienced interior designer and the founder of With a Master's degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute and a passion for creating safe and healthy living spaces, Brad shares his expert insights and innovative design ideas with our readers. His work is driven by the belief that home is where every story begins.