How to Detect a Sewer Pipe Problem

Do you suspect a sewer pipe problem in your house? Is there a strong sewer odor, or is the toilet making a gurgling noise? Sewer pipe issues must be addressed right away. If not, they can cause severe damage that can compromise the entire plumbing system of your home. 

Although it can be tempting to call a maintenance specialist right away to deal with the problem (and oftentimes, you should), it’s vital that you know how to distinguish a clogged pipe from a broken one. 

Signs of a clogged sewer pipe

Your water fixtures are the first that you should check when you suspect a clogged sewer. 

Check the following: 

  • Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Bathtubs
  • Showers

When examining the water fixtures mentioned above, you need to check its drain movement. It the water moving slowly, making gurgling sounds, smells terrible, or perhaps the water is backing up? If any of these signs are present in your water fixtures, then it’s likely that you have a clogged sewer pipe. 

Every drain in your water fixtures is connected to your main sewer line. As a result, if there’s a clog issue in the mainline, it will affect drains in the house. 

Signs of a broken sewer pipe

A tricky situation when it comes to broken sewer pipe is that you may not notice there’s anything wrong until you check outdoors or your basement, and you see smelly standing water. In some cases, a sinkhole may also be present. 

If the pipes are located outdoors, you may also notice a deterioration of pavers and vegetation. There could also be an unusual influx of pests in your home. If you notice any of these signs, the first step is to confirm the situation by locating your sewer system. 

Locating your sewer system

Most houses have their sewer pipes underground outside their home. However, if you haven’t had any issues with it, you may have a difficult time locating it. 

The easiest way to find it is to locate the soil stack, which is connected to the main waste line. Follow it until you see where it exits the house, and, from there, you can locate where the sewer pipes are that will lead you to the septic tank. 

Sewer system solutions

You can resolve a clogged sewer pipe issue by using a sewer auger. Use it by inserting it in a clean-out valve. If there are trees or shrubbery in the path of the sewer pipes, though, it’s best to contact a plumber to remedy the issue. The clogged pipes may be due to the roots from the trees and a plumber’s expertise is necessary for safe removal. 


When it comes to a plumbing issue as serious as broken sewer pipes, calling a plumber is a must. Repairing sewer pipes by yourself can actually cause more damage, resulting in bigger problems down the line. Some specific regulations and codes must be followed, and only a professional plumber can maintain such practices. 

For expert assistance by a professional plumbing company in San Diego, get in touch with PIC Plumbing. We specialize in everything plumbing, from drain cleaning to gas line installations. Book an appointment today!