Symptoms of a Damaged Sewer Line

If left untreated, a damaged sewer pipe can continue to deteriorate until the whole sewer line fails. Being familiar with warning signs that there may be a broken sewer pipe in your system can save you thousands of dollars in replacing your entire line. If you notice any of the following symptoms of damaged sewer pipes, you should call a professional to inspect your system right away before the problem can grow.

Persistent clogging

Experiencing regular backups when you flush the toilet or run water in your bathtub—even after you’ve tried cleaning out the drains–can indicate a deeper problem in the system. Issues like a root intrusion or a misaligned pipe connection can’t be solved by surface solutions and may only be discoverable through a sewer video inspection.


A sanitary, healthy sewer should be air tight and not produce any discernable odors. If you can smell sewer gas in or around your home, it is a tell-tale sign there is a break somewhere in your system allowing sewer gas to escape.

Damp spots or mold

Cracks or leaks in your sewer pipes can result in damps spots within your home, which can serve as ideal breeding grounds for mold if humidity rises above 55%. Look for damp patches on the walls or ceilings of your home. If you find any, that could be a symptom of sewer damage.

Lush patches or indentations on lawn

 If you notice that certain swatches of your lawn start to look extra green and lush, there may be a sewage leak underneath. Since sewage can be used as fertilizer, leaking sewage will provide surrounding grass with extra nutrients that make it pop from the rest of your lawn.

Another symptom of sewer line damage visible on your lawn is patches of indentation. The extra moisture from a leaking sewer pipe can saturate the soil around it, causing the soil to dissipate and the surface of the lawn to sag, creating a noticeable indentation.

Spike in water bill

An unexplained increase in your monthly water bill is one of the most hard-and-fast signs that there’s damage in your sewer system. Sudden spikes in your water bill when you don’t have any other plumbing problems in your home indicates that there is a leak or break somewhere in your pipes that is preventing a portion of your water from reaching its destination.


The best thing you can do for your sewer system is to take care of it with maintenance and regular inspections. Be mindful what kinds of waste you flush down the toilet or put down the garbage disposal, and keep up with regular drain maintenance to prevent major clogs.

If you do notice any of these symptoms of sewer damage, call a professional plumber to inspect your system as soon as possible to prevent the problem from growing into something more severe. Preventive maintenance is much less expensive than major system repairs or replacements.

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