How Do You Fix a Plugged Sewer Line or Water Main?

Few sights are more terrifying for a homeowner than wastewater pouring out from your drains. A plugged sewer line or water main can be a serious problem with disastrous consequences. Not only are you facing potential damage to your home, but this could also be a significant health concern for your entire household.

A clogged pipe should be fixed as soon as possible to minimize the damage and rectify the situation. Speedy action will pay off. But if you’re not an experienced plumber, it can be challenging to know the proper course of action, and if you’re not careful, you could worsen the problem. The following article covers possible causes for a clogged line and how you can identify and resolve the problem quickly and efficiently.

Why is my sewer line or water main clogged?

There are lots of reasons your sewer or water line could be clogged. Here are a few of the likely culprits:

  • Washing cooking oil and grease down the sink after cooking
  • Flushing inappropriate items down the toilet
  • Shifting soil around the pipe
  • Corrosion
  • Sagging in the pipe over time, causing a bend that collects debris and foreign objects

How can I tell if my pipe is clogged?

But how can you tell if you need to install a new sewer line or water main? Often, the problem with your pipes will be immediately apparent. Here are a few of the signs and symptoms you should look out for:

  • Flooding, either indoors or outdoors
  • Foul smells
  • Difficulties draining showers or baths
  • Strange gurgling sounds coming from your toilet
  • Water damage or spreading mold in your home

If you have spotted any of these signs, you must act fast to prevent the damage from worsening. In some cases, you may be able to resolve the issue yourself, but often, you will need to hire a professional plumber or line services company.

Explaining common causes of sewer line problems

How do I fix a clogged pipe?

There are several solutions to a clogged pipe, and the right course of action will depend on the nature and severity of the blockage. Here are a few of the options available to you.

Identify the Cause of the Blockage

If you can find out what is causing your blocked pipe, you will be better equipped to fix it. You may be able to have an educated guess at the reasons. Perhaps, for example, you have a bad habit of emptying your oily frying pans down the kitchen sink. But hiring a plumber is your best bet for identifying the cause and finding the solution.

Use a Plunger or Snake

When faced with an overflowing drain, most people’s first instinct is to find the plunger and get to work. This creates an airtight seal that adds pressure to help remove any stubborn clogs. On the other hand, a snake is a flexible tool you can insert into your drain to remove debris manually. Both these methods can be effective, but only if the blockage is in an easy-to-reach spot.

Turn on the Hot Tap

Sometimes, it takes a little boiling water to break up a clog. Running your hot water tap for five to ten minutes can loosen stuck debris and melt coagulated grease and fat. If you’re lucky, this might be all you need to clear your blockage.


You can purchase a wide range of chemical drain cleaners in any good supermarket or hardware shop. You pour this down your sink, bath, or shower drain, then leave them for several hours. The chemicals will break up organic matter that might be plugging your lines. An effective homemade alternative is to use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.

Hire a Professional

The most effective solution to any issue with your sewer line or water main is to hire a professional. This way, you know that your plumbing system is in good hands. And you will undoubtedly avoid making the situation any worse.

If you need help unclogging or replacing a sewer or water line or advice on keeping your pipes in good condition, get in touch with Mainline Water and Sewer today.