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Sewer problems affect many Californians every year. You need to pay close attention to warning signs of sewer leaks because they will get worse if they are ignored. Here are some common indicators that your sewer system is starting to leak.

Sewer gas leak symptom

1. Drains Around Your House Are Clogged

A single clogged drain can be a huge pain. Unfortunately, having more than one clogged drain is usually a sign of something a lot more serious. If you have three or more clogged drains, then there is almost certainly a problem in the sewer line. When you notice multiple drains are clogged, you should pay particularly close attention to the drain traps. They are often the first things that clog when your sewer system backs up.

If multiple drains are clogged, you’ll want to inspect your sewer system right away. This is especially true if you notice a foul smell emanating from any of your drains. This is an indication that there may be a sewer backup and that some of the sewer deposits are making their way back through your piping system.

2. Your Lawn Is Getting Wet and Starting to Smell

Your sewer system may also contaminate your lawn. Many people don’t realize that lawn problems can be connected to their sewer system, but they are often the most obvious sign of a sewage leak.

Wet Lawn

If your sewer line is backed up, sewage may even make its way through your sprinklers. This can cause the sewage to spread across your lawn and cover large sections of the grass. The lawn will start to smell, which will get worse until the problem is addressed. This can become a serious health risk if it is not addressed quickly.

If you notice a lot of moisture or gross smells around your lawn, you should look for large tree roots around your sewage lines. The tree roots might have penetrated your sewer system and created a leakage or backup. Large tree roots are actually one of the most common causes of sewer leaks.

You don’t want to try fixing these problems on your own. Signs that your sewage backup is spreading across your lawn indicate that you need professional assistance immediately.

3. You Have Pests in Your Basement

To keep an eye out for sewer leaks, pay close attention to any infestations of pests in your basement. You may notice that there is a very pungent smell after you spot them. It’s easy to assume that the pests are the cause of the repulsive smell, but the real problem might be a sewage leak.

Rats in basement

Why is this a sign that you might have a sewage problem? When your sewer system leaks, it often attracts pests because they are drawn to the foul odors. As more sewage leaks, the number of pests in your basement will begin to increase.

You may find that the pests are gathering near sewer lines in your basement. This is a sign that you need to take care of the problem right away. You will need to get rid of the infestation and repair the sewage leak at the same time. Otherwise, the critters could continue to cause further damage to any pipes in your basement, even if they weren’t the initial cause of the sewage problem.

4. You Regularly Hear the Sound of Running or Dripping Water

Sewer pipes are well insulated so you don’t frequently hear sewage passing through them. They may occasionally make faint noises while passing large loads, but that is not something to get alarmed about. The problem is when those sounds become more frequent. This means you should get an expert to look for leaks.

When your sewer system is leaking, the pipes will give off very different sounds. You will constantly hear the sound of running or dripping water coming from them. If this happens, you should immediately check to make sure that all of the faucets are turned off and make sure that the toilet is not running excessively. If you don’t notice any problems there, you should have your sewage system looked at right away.

5. A Lot of Water Is Pooling in Your Basement

You need to pay close attention to your basement. It’s normal to dismiss a little moisture accumulation. However, excessive moisture or dampness that doesn’t go away with a dehumidifier can be a sign of a sewer leak.

Leaky pipes could cause serious damage over time, even if they are just leaking small amounts of water. They can cause wood fixtures to rot and mildew and mold to grow.

As bad as leaking pipes are, sewer system leaks are much worse. Sewage has high levels of E. coli and other dangerous bacteria. If it collects in your basement, it will eventually spread to the rest of the house. Airborne bacteria released from your sewage can make its way into your ducts. If you don’t go into your basement regularly, you might not even realize that this is a problem as the bacteria contaminates the rest of your home. Therefore, you should pay closer attention to any unusual smells. You should also inspect the basement regularly for any signs that water is leaking from your sewer pipes.

6. Your Water Bill Is Rising Sharply

You should always pay close attention to your water bill. When your water bill creeps up, it could be a sign of any number of problems. You might simply be using more water if there are more people in your home that need to shower and wash their clothes. You might also notice your water bill going up in the warmer parts of the year because people might be taking cold showers to stay cool.

Water Bill

But sometimes there isn’t an obvious explanation for your rising water bill. It could be an early indicator that you have a sewer leak.

Your sewer system requires a lot of water to operate smoothly. When your sewer pipes are leaking, there will be a pressure drop. This means that you are going to need a lot more water to maintain the same flow rates. As a result, your water bill is going to go up.

If you notice that your water bill is going up, you should start paying closer attention to the activities of other members of your household. Try to figure out if they are using more water. If your household water consumption hasn’t changed significantly, you may want to check for other signs of a sewer leak.

7. You Notice Cracks in the Foundation of Your Driveway or Basement Floor

All concrete structures are going to start cracking a little bit over time. A few small cracks are not necessarily anything to be too worried about. However, if your concrete is cracking a lot faster than it should, consider the possibility that your sewer system is leaking. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Excessive water from your sewer system can damage the soil integrity, which causes it to shift. Over time, this can start to cause the structural foundations of your property to move, which causes cracks.
  • Water will pool in the cement, which causes it to expand. This will gradually create more internal stresses on your cement and lead to cracking.
  • Cracks could be a sign that there has been unusual trauma to the foundation. This could indicate that your sewage system has been damaged as well.

You need to take any signs of cracking seriously. You may need to get your sewer system inspected, especially if you see other signs that it could be damaged.

8. Your Toilet Isn’t Running Efficiently

Your toilet is obviously one of the appliances that is most likely to be affected by your sewer system. When your sewer system is leaking, there will be a drop in pressure from your sewage pipes. This will make it more difficult for your toilet to operate properly. You may notice that you have to flush more than once because there isn’t enough pressure with one flush.

9. You Notice Damage to Your Floors

Your wooden floor may also be damaged if your sewer system is starting to leak. There are a lot of sewer links throughout your house. If any of them are starting to leak, the water may start to seep through various parts of your floor around your house.

Damaged Floors

Don’t be too quick to dismiss signs of moisture on the floor. They are particularly concerning if:

  • The floorboards are starting to get spongy. This suggests that they have been exposed to water for a prolonged period of time, which is often a red flag that there is a pipe leaking.
  • The water smells. This usually means it is coming from a leaking sewer pipe.

Take a look at your sewer pipes as soon as you see signs of long-term water leakage around your floorboards.

10. Unusual Landscape Growth Around Your House

Do you see a lot of lush plants sprouting up around your property? Are they concentrated in certain parts of your lawn? This could be a sign of a sewer leak. The extra moisture from your leaking pipes could be triggering more growth.

The earlier you can spot a sewer leak, the better. Once you notice any signs of a problem, from unexplained moisture in the basement to strange smells, contact San Diego Pipelining. We can have one of our trained technicians come out to see what’s going on so you don’t have to worry about a leak causing any more damage to your home.