Sometimes a clogged toilet or sink can be a more serious problem than a plunger would be able to fix. If you’ve plunged your drain and nothing seems to work; your main sewer line may have become clogged. In that case, using a plunger would be useless.

If the sewer line is clogged it can cause major issues all over your home that can be expensive and cause major damage. To avoid this serious problem you need to be able to identify if your sewer line is clogged.

A main sewer drain clog is not only a serious problem for your house’s plumbing, but it’s also a potential health concern for you and your family. Wastewater will not have a way to the main sewer system without your sewer drains; therefore, the clogging will cause the water to go back up through your fixtures like your toilet sink and shower drains.

When you’ve decided that you may have a sewer line clogging do not use any plungers until the blockage becomes cleared to avoid any further clogging.

If you’re unfamiliar with your main sewer line, think of your plumbing system as a tree where the main sewer line is the trunk and the other pipes leading to your plumbing fixtures are the branches. You can find access to your main sewer line in your basement, garage, or crawlspace. It usually has a screwtop so you can look inside.

you can also find access to your main sewer line near the foundation of your home in your yard main sewer line transports all of the west from your house to the main sewer system

The drains that connect to your fixtures are smaller pipes, and if the main sewer is clogged, it will back up every drain in your house, which is why a clog is a serious problem. At worst, a clogged main sewer pipe will cause serious damage to your home, and at the very least, it will cause wastewater and sewage to enter your home.

How to Know Your Sewer Line is Clogged

You may be unfamiliar with what to do if your main sewer line is clogged, or you may not even be able to tell that it’s clogged. You don’t want to let it get to the point where your wastewater comes back up through your fixtures. That can be a nightmare for homeowners and tenants.

Here are the symptoms of a clogged sewer line:

 1. Discolored Water

If you have the sinking suspicion that your main sewer line is clogged, check your tubs to see if any water has risen. The water will most likely not be clear because it will be full of raw sewage; wear protective gear and use very powerful cleaners before you use any of your tubs.

You should check your tubs first because the tub is often the lowest point of entry for water to go up in the house, so you will likely see discolored water coming up through that drain before any other.

2. Delayed or Lack of Draining.

Take a minute to think about the drains in your home. Are they draining rapidly, or do you notice water pooling whenever you run the water? Your drains tend to slow down when there’s a clog because most sewer line clogs do not suddenly block 100% of the pipe. Instead, debris accumulates over time, making it harder and harder for waste to move through.

When you use water in your homes through your sinks or showers, do you notice water pulling up around the drain? Slow draining may not seem like a big deal at first, and you may put it off, but it could be a sign that you were main sewer line is clogged if your water is draining slowly, sometimes the main sewer line will get so clogged that water won’t be able to drain at all and it will simply sit in your fixtures after you use the faucet.

if multiple drains in your home are all clogged at once, it is most likely a clogged main sewer line; the first drains you will notice the clog will most likely be your toilets because they are connected directly to the sewer line

If you ignore the problem of slow draining, it will most likely lead to a lack of training altogether, and you will not be able to ignore it anymore because no waste will be able to leave your house. all of the pipes in the house are connected, so if one pipe is clogged, especially the main sewer pipe, then it will affect every single drain in your house

3. Strange Behavior from Plumbing Fixtures

Besides draining, plumbing fixtures may display other odd behaviors like noises, smells, or other malfunctions. Sounds to listen for are bubbling, gurgling, hissing, and dripping, and you’ll know something is amiss if you smell sewage.

The following are the fixtures in your home and what symptoms they may have when the sewer line is clogged. Start at the bottom of the home and work your way up to find the problem quickly.


After checking your toilets, try running the sinks in your house. The sink nearest to your toilet may make bubbling sounds long after you’ve stopped using it and may cause the water level in your toilet to rise.


Due to lower levels, the tub may be the first fixture to experience wastewater backup. Tubs may also be draining slowly or not at all, making gurgling noises.


Showers may have lower pressure than usual or begin to spray discolored water. There may also be dripping from the showerhead as the water will have nowhere to go but up.


Bubbling noises may occur as air rises in the pipes, or the water struggles to flush. It may feel like it’s been flushing for an abnormal time. You will notice any issues from the sewer line in your toilets first.

Washing machines

If you run your washing machine and the soapy water begins to fill your toilets and sicks, you can bet that it’s a clogged sewer line. If your toilet still flushes while the washing machine runs, it may be a contained problem.

What Do I Do Now?

Now that you’ve realized it’s happening, don’t panic. Don’t try to use plungers or try to clean the sewage line yourself:

1. Turn Off the Water

To keep the issue from growing, turn off your water as soon as you suspect a sewage drain clogging. A sink might overflow without anyone knowing it, or someone may accidentally use the toilet. Turn off the water by locating the house’s main and turning the wheel off.

2. Call a Plumber

Most sewer line clogs are due to damage like broken pipes, tree roots, and underground issues. Sewer drain clogs are a different monster than other pipes in your home.

A Professional will have sewer line cleaners and other specialty equipment that lets them clear clogs with ease. They will also be able to pinpoint the issue quicker and safer. Worst case scenario, you will have to replace the whole plumbing system; that is no DIY task.

Unfortunately, if you realize that you have a main sewer line clogged, there’s not a good DIY way of fixing it; the best case is always to call a professional to avoid any hazardous chemicals or further damage to your plumbing system. Repairing the plumbing system also requires special equipment you may not have access to. Additionally, the problem may be so deep down under your house that you will not have a way to access it; here are a couple of things you can do to keep the problem from getting worse while you wait for an expert:

Depending on the severity of the sewer line clog, you may need to:

  • Clean out the main line
  • Repair broken pipes
  • Remove debris with a sewer rod
  • Replace the entire sewer line

Call J. Blanton for  High-Quality Plumbing in Evanston

If you have an item such as a flushed ring down the toilet and need he if the worst in your main sewer line is clogged, don’t hesitate to contact J. Blanton Plumbing. We offer plumbing installation and plumbing repair in Evanston, Illinois. To schedule service, please fill out our contact form or call us.