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Introduction to Blocked Sewer Lines

A properly functioning sewer system is essential for household sanitation. Blockages in your main sewer line can lead to water backing up into your property, creating unsanitary conditions. Recognising the early signs of a main sewer line clog and taking preventative measures can prevent a blockage in your drainage system that would require professional cleaning services.

This article outlines common signs of a blocked sewer system, indicating a potential sewer main clog. We’ll cover potential causes, steps you can take yourself to clear minor clogs, and when you need to call a professional plumber in Ashfield for assistance.

Act swiftly upon noticing warning signs and seek professional help to prevent sewage overflow and main sewer line blockages. Continue reading to learn how to identify your sewer drain issues in your main sewage line before they become emergencies requiring expensive repairs.

Common Signs Your Sewer Line is Blocked

Slow-draining Fixtures

If you suspect your plumbing fixtures like sinks toilets are draining much slower than usual, a sewer line clog in your main sewer line could be developing. This slow draining can eventually progress to a clog main sewer line if the line blocked is not addressed.

Gurgling Sounds from Drains

Listen for bubbling or gurgling sounds indicating a restricted sewer line, a sign of blockages even when drains aren’t in use. These sounds typically mean sewage and wastewater are struggling to pass through the pipes.

Sewer Odours Indoors

Sewer odours and water seepage indicate a potential sewer gas escape and clogging.

Raw Sewage Backing Up

Raw sewage backup from drains indicates completely blocked lines within your main sewer. The wastewater has nowhere to go and is now water backing up through the main sewer drain into your home’s plumbing system.

Appliance backups, like from your washing machine, often signify a main sewer line issue. Call a professional plumber for drain cleaning services before the problem escalates to overflow flooding that could damage your property.

Multiple Fixtures Backing Up

When multiple plumbing features such as your kitchen sink and shower start to drain slowly, this can often point to a potential clog in the main sewer line. Unlike an isolated drain issue in just one fixture, slow drainage across multiple fixtures points to a problem with your home’s sewer drain pipe.

Check sinks, tubs, and showers for common signs of slow drainage, which may indicate a sewer blockage in your household. If water drains slower than usual or you notice water pooling up in the shower, it’s time to investigate the causes that entail a blocked sewer, starting with your drain and your toilet flush functionality. Slow drainage affecting all fixtures, rather than just one, indicates you might have a blocked sewer pipe.

Seek professional help as soon as possible when you notice multiple fixtures draining slowly, to tackle potential blockages in your main sewer line. Catching a main sewer clog early is crucial to clear blockage and prevent expensive damages from sewage flooding multiple rooms.

Gurgling Noises from Drains

Strange gurgling noises from your plumbing may signal blocked sewer issues, indicating difficulty in wastewater passage. Trapped air bubbles in the pipe often make these bubbling sounds, which can clog your drains and are signs blocked passages are causing struggles in water flow.

Notice any unexpected gurgling sounds coming from your plumbing fixtures or drains while they are not in active use, as this could be a sign of blockage. The noise indicates sewage is backing up and having trouble flowing out of your home’s drainage system properly. Identifying gurgling noises early enables the clearing of obstructions before they become severe clogs.

Don’t dismiss seemingly harmless gurgling sounds. Contact a professional plumber for drain servicing to prevent property damage from a clogged sewer line. Acting quickly helps minimise expensive damages.

Sewage Odors

Catching a whiff of an unpleasant smell coming from your pipes inside your home, or even in your yard, is a common indicator of a potential blockage forming in your home’s sewer line. Foul smells originating from floor drains or your sink, including utility/laundry sinks, signal that sewer gases may be escaping back up through the pipes.

Persistent and pungent sewage smells from drains necessitate a prompt call to a plumber to avoid further issues. The smells likely point to a drainage issue that allows gases to vent into the property. As this can be both harmful and extremely unpleasant, professional drain evaluation and clearing should be sought out immediately.

Sewage odours are one of the first noticeable signs of blockage issues. It’s important to act quickly to identify and address the root cause to prevent raw sewage from backing up into multiple drains. Catching a partial clog early enough stops the problem worsening over time to a complete and more complex main line failure.

Causes of Sewer Line Blockages

Intrusive tree roots that can damage sewer lines, often affect septic tank integrity as well, leading to further plumbing complications. Certain trees like Ficus, Figs and Elms have aggressive root systems that infiltrate cracks and joints in pipes. Over time the roots thrive inside sewers, eventually growing large enough to obstruct wastewater flow.

Other causes include:

  • Accumulated grease, fat, and food scraps blocking main water supply pipes
  • Tampons, diapers and wet wipes failing to break down once flushed
  • Excess soil or debris entering via outdoor connections or openings

Identifying and addressing your problem specifically is crucial before attempting any DIY sewer clearing. Complex blockages often require professional drain repairs or pipe relining services.

Tree Roots

Tree roots infiltrating and blocking your sewer lines is a prevalent issue, especially in older Ashfield homes with clay or concrete pipes. Root systems of invasive species like Fig Trees and Elms penetrate cracks and joints in these sewer lines over time.

The roots thriving within pipes indicate imminent sewer damage that must be addressed. They continue growing larger until they obstruct wastewater flow. Homeowners eventually notice gurgling drains, sewage odours and slow drainage as signs of sewer line clogging.

Tree root blockages typically necessitate professional drain repairs. Attempting to clear these on your own risks further damage. Complete root removal provides longer-term solutions.

Specialised tools, such as cutting blades and high-pressure water jets, are pivotal to clear main sewer line obstructions.

Regular drain inspections for vulnerable homes help prevent emergencies by catching clogged sewer line issues early. Modern pipe relining with epoxy resins seals cracks vulnerable to root penetrations.

Pipe Damage or Collapse

Sewer pipes can become damaged over time from ground shifts, heavy traffic vibrations, storms, and natural wear as infrastructure ages. Cracks allow tree roots and soil to infiltrate sewer pipe joints, which may cause build-up leading to whole sections of pipe collapsing inward from excess weight or water pressure.

Ground movements from droughts, floods, or construction can shift pipe alignments leading to ruptures, cracks, and detachments at joints. Roads carrying heavy vehicle loads above buried sewer mains create vibrations that damage pipes. Old clay or concrete lines crack while modern PVC and HDPE are more flexible but still vulnerable at couplings.

In older suburbs like Ashfield with a mixture of pipe materials spanning decades, when run seismic activity and soil erosion over the years may damage the main sewer drain pipe. Damage that restricts wastewater flow allows solids to accumulate into blockages. Collapsed pipes act as plugs diverting sewage into surrounding soil and foundations rather than out to the main sewer line.

Drain technicians use specialised equipment to rectify collapsed pipes and clear blockages. But significant sections require repairs or full replacement to prevent ongoing drainage issues. Preventative maintenance contributes to the longevity of ageing sewer systems.

Preventing Future Blockages

Regular Drain Inspections

Annual pipe inspections are crucial for the early detection of potential sewer issues. A plumber will run a drain camera to check for cracks, root invasion and pipe damage before it causes major blockages.

Install Drain Guards

Metal mesh drain guards capture excess hair and debris, preventing plumbing clogs. This practice helps reduce blockage buildups.

Don’t Flush Wipes or Grease

Avoid flushing anything except toilet paper. Dispose via the garbage instead.

"Flushable" wipes, fats and oils cause problems. Over time, even small amounts can accumulate, leading to significant obstructions in your main drain.

Following these handy precautionary tips reduces your risks of emergency blocks in sewer drains requiring costly repairs down the track. Be vigilant for unusual drain activity and engage Ashfield’s professional plumbers at the first indication of trouble.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

Make an immediate call to your plumber when you detect troubling signs coming from your drains, like unusual noises when you flush, which could indicate a blocked sewer line. Slow draining fixtures, sewage odours indoors, gurgling sounds from drains, or seeing wastewater pooling from toilet bowls all indicate an advanced clog or pipe failure.

At Ashfield Plumbing, we’re well-versed with the local challenges, including tree root invasion and ageing pipe damage. If you suspect a major blockage, call our office on 1300 349 338 to schedule an emergency inspection or drain cleaning service.

We have high-powered water jetting equipment for effective drain clearing, even with the toughest obstructions. Our drain technicians can assess if pipe repairs, replacement or epoxy resin relining is the best solution for preventing future sewer line clogs. Through experience with local residential sewer issues, we restore flow and drainage reliability.

Fixing a Blocked Sewer Line

When facing blocked drains, calling a professional plumber is crucial to properly diagnose the issue and get the drain your home depends on flowing again. An expert will visually inspect the clog using a drain camera to assess if it is caused by tree roots, pipe damage, grease buildup, or other typical culprits.

High-powered water jetting efficiently clears clogged drains from minor obstructions to resume water flow.

Hydrojetting propels water at high pressure while simultaneously vacuuming debris, offering a robust clearing solution. It is an efficient method for clearing solidified grease, waste accumulations and small roots. Larger root masses or collapsed sections of pipe may require mechanical cutting, repairs or full replacement.

An additional solution for root invasions or cracks allowing debris to enter is trenchless sewer relining. This involves coating the inside of pipes with an epoxy resin to essentially create a “pipe within a pipe” without the need for excavation. The smooth new inner wall prevents future root growth and restores flow.

Our team at Ashfield Plumbing has years of experience using the latest methods and gear to diagnose a clogged sewer and get your pipes cleared as quickly as possible.

Promptly calling us for an inspection and advice avoids raw sewage flooding and potential significant property damage.


A properly functioning sewer line is crucial to keeping your house sanitary and avoiding severe plumbing damage. Being vigilant to the warning signs of clogs and blockages ensures we need to react swiftly before the situation deteriorates.

The key indicators like slow drains, sewage odours, and gurgling sounds should never be ignored. Contact Ashfield Plumbing on 1300 349 338 at the earliest signs of trouble for expert drain inspections and clearing. Our local team knows its important to diagnose issues and customise solutions to get your line flowing freely again.

We use advanced technology like hydro-jetting and pipe relining to tackle issues from tree roots, pipe damage, or debris buildup. Proactive annual drain maintenance is key to preventing blockages from occurring.

Don’t wait for the headache of raw sewage flooding your home. Trust Ashfield Plumbing as your local specialists for timely, permanent sewer solutions. Call us on 1300 349 338 or email to schedule affordable drain clearance servicing when issues arise.

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