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Main Sewer Clogs: Causes, Warning Signs & Replacement Options

sewer cleaning service - worker cleaning a clogged drainage with hydro jetting

Sewer line clogs are not something you can ignore. Unlike some issues, clogs won’t go away on their own. In fact, the longer a sewer line clog is ignored, the worse it will become. Because of this, it’s important for homeowners to understand what causes sewer line clogs so that they know how to prevent them and address any clogs that arise. We’ll cover the main causes of sewer line clogs, signs to look out for, and what to do when you have a sewer line clog.

What Causes Main Sewer Line Clogs?

There are many causes of sewer line clogs. Some of these are avoidable and can be prevented with a few simple actions, such as avoiding putting grease down the drain or flushing non-flushable objects. Others, like tree roots infiltrating the main line are harder to prevent. Some of the most common causes of main line clogs include:

  • Tree root infiltration
  • Grease, oil, and fat
  • “Flushable” wipes and personal hygiene products
  • Food debris
  • Broken pipes
  • Scale buildup 

Early Warning Signs To Pay Attention To

Sewer line clogs don’t happen overnight, and over time you will notice the types and number of symptoms increasing. If you notice any of the following, it’s a good bet that there is a clog growing deep within your sewer line:

  • Slow drainage: You may notice slow drainage in a sink, toilet, or tub. This problem usually spreads to include multiple drains.
  • Gurgling: Gurgling occurs when the pipe is blocked and restricts airflow within the drain. You may notice this in sinks, bathtubs, and toilets.
  • Noxious odors: Foul odors are typically caused by standing water trapped within the sewer line. As food and other waste decompose, and bacterial growth proliferates, it causes the odor to waft up through the drains.
  • Sewage backups: Backups are a critical sign that the sewer line is clogged. Backups can occur in toilets, bathtubs, sinks, washing machines, etc.   

When To Schedule Service

Checking sewer manhole with borescope inspection camera.

We recommend scheduling a sewer service appointment whenever you detect signs of an emerging sewer line. In most cases, early detection leads to faster, more effective, and less costly resolution of the problem. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to schedule preventative maintenance service every couple of years. This allows for early detection of problems, often before you may notice signs. During a preventative maintenance visit, our sewer line specialists can perform video inspections, high-pressure hydro jetting, and other services to remove the sludge, debris, and tree roots that can clog your pipes.  

To Repair or Replace Your Sewer Line?

When diagnosing sewer line clogs, our sewer line video camera systems allow us to locate the clog and determine the most effective method for clearing the problem. To clear clogs, our highly trained plumbers can deploy a broad range of state-of-the-art technologies and industry-approved techniques, including snakes, augers, and hydro jets that blast away debris without damaging your pipes. 

Unfortunately, some sewer line clogs are caused by damaged pipes, while others are the cause of damage to the pipes. Tree root infiltration, shifting soils, poor installation or materials, and construction work can damage pipes. This restricts the flow of water and creates an obstruction that traps waste which results in a clog. This can exacerbate damage as the resulting pressure from the trapped water can cause pipes to burst. 

When the pipe is damaged but still salvageable, there is a wide range of potential pipe repair solutions. These include repairing the pipe via slip lining, cured-in-place piping, and pipe coating. However, when there is extensive damage, we recommend pipe bursting and pipe replacement.  

Services & Quality You Can Trust


Call Arctic Air Conditioning 

Our licensed and insured plumbing specialists at Arctic Air can clear clogs, repair damaged pipes, and replace broken sewer lines using a broad range of tools, technologies, and techniques. Our family-owned and -operated company is always ready to serve our community and help you enjoy the reliable plumbing services you deserve. We have proudly served homeowners and businesses throughout the region for more than 45 years, so you can count on us for exceptional solutions to all your sewer line problems.

Call Arctic Air at 732-455-9110 to schedule main sewer line service in Old Bridge or the surrounding areas of Central New Jersey today.

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