What Does the Term “Main Drain” Mean?
Everything in your house’s plumbing runs out of the main sewer line or “main drain.” The main drain is a vital part of a house’s cleanliness and safety. However, because it’s not seen, let alone what’s inside it, people don’t think about it much. A clog, though, in a main drain is a sudden nightmare. What does the term “main drain” mean? Here’s what you need to know about the warning signs of a clog in your home’s sewer main drain.
Main Drain Basics
Your house is linked to a city or public sewer system by a main drain pipe. The plumbing and sewer lines out of a house go underground from the house. For most properties, the primary drain pipe is 4-6 inches in diameter.
Your house drain is linked to the residential sewer pipe beneath your front lawn. Your sinks, commodes, showers, washing machine, and any other appliances with hooks to the plumbing have their own branch line drains. These branch lines connect to your main drain at some locations. If your main drain gets blocked or clogged, it can stop all of the other drains and lines in the house. That’s what makes a clog in the sewage system main drain such a major issue.
Warnings of a Clogged Main Drain
How will you understand if your sewer main drain is blocked? There are numerous warning signs you might face. How do you know a plumbing problem is coming from the main drain?
Several Fixtures are Blocked
One of the most noticeable indications of a sewer drain clog is when multiple plumbing components become clogged or slow at once. The toilet is typically the first to reveal signs of trouble, as it is a low-lying plumbing component, as is a bathtub or shower drain. Yet any fixture can likewise back up. Check the commode first, then all the other plumbing fixtures.
If you think the obstruction is in the main drain or any underground component of your home’s system, call a professional expert. Opening a drain or trying to get to underground parts yourself, which might only get you swamped with nasty wastewater or make a problem worse, isn’t a good idea.
Problem Signs with Certain Fixtures
Look out for bad noises or odd signals coming from your plumbing fixtures or parts. It’s most likely to come first on the lowest level of the house. Sewer blockages begin at the clog and move upstream. Therefore, the drains and pipes on the lowest level are generally the first to experience issues. Examine the following:
– Bathroom: The toilet is where sewer problems normally happen, or are at least noticeable in the house, first. You might have an issue with your main drain if your toilet does not flush correctly, or if you hear the bathroom gurgling when water is running out of the drains in your sink, tub, or washing machine.
– Shower: If you believe you have a main drain obstruction, see if the shower drain is backed up. If the backup is considerable, bathtubs and showers may start to overflow with wastewater.
– Bathroom sinks: If you have a sewage system problem, you might see the water level in the toilet increase or hear it gurgle when you run water in your restroom sink.
– Utility room and laundry: An additional sign of a sewage system clog may occur when you use your washing machine. Drains from the machine may add to the backed-up or slow draining in a shower or toilet.
Although a drain snake is normally used to locate and separate a clog in a smaller branch line, a blockage in the main drain is a more significant issue, requiring professional tools, experience, and service. In cases where there is no clean-out, the process of removing a sewer blockage is more difficult and will call for a plumbing expert.
How to Check a Clean-Out
Most properties will have at least one clean-out pipe on their primary sewer lines. The clean-out is a short pipe or a shaped fitting connected to a drain line. It is generally located in the yard, a basement, or a crawlspace. You can try to inspect it yourself, however, you need to use caution. Sewer access holes can be deep, have broken steps, have components homeowners don’t often work with, or be a risk of causing an injury.
If water splashes out of the clean-out when you undo the plug, replace it back and call a plumber immediately. When you take out the plug, if water does not run out, look inside the pipe itself. If there is water in the pipeline, you possibly have a clog in your sewer line.
Don’t mistake water being in the bottom of the trap for a clog. Water should be in the bottom of the trap.
If your clean-out is in the crawlspace or the basement, do not remove the plug yourself. If your main drain is stopped or obstructed, there will be high pressure inside the pipe and waste can run out.
When to Replace the Main Drain
If your main drain is in need of service more than once a year, it could be best to have the problem area dug up and repaired or replaced. Often, it can be a matter of having the drain line snaked and proper maintenance take place every 1-2 years. This is specifically true if the roots from large trees grow into the sewer line. The difference in cost between snaking vs. repairing the main drain is considerable.
South End Plumbing specializes in emergency plumbing services and detecting problems, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in leak detection – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.