Insured catastrophic losses cost Canadian insurers at least $1 billion every year. Most of those losses are due to water-related damages. The majority are damages caused by natural events, but many others are due to faulty plumbing.
That includes plumbing backups caused by clogged drains and sewer lines.
Even if you have home insurance, that doesn't mean you should put off drain and sewer line repair. Homeowner's insurance doesn't cover all types of water damages. Especially not if it's caused by a lack of maintenance and neglect.
The big question now is, how exactly do you tell that your sewer line is up for repairs or replacement? What can even give rise to the need for a sewer line replacement?
We'll answer all these questions below, so be sure to read on!
When you flush a working toilet, the wastewater should flow into your home's main drain. This drain should then carry the wastewater into the main sewer line which is outside of your home. The main sewer line then slopes downwards and connects to your city's sewer (or septic tank).
Over eight in 10 Canadian homes rely on municipal sewer systems. Only 11% (as of 2015) have their own private septic tanks.
Speaking of which, your home's main drain and sewer line are your responsibility. As such, it's your responsibility to fix issues that arise with the sewer line (up to the edge of your property). If you have a septic tank, its maintenance and repairs are also your full responsibility.
In any case, a toilet that flushes slowly often means that you have a main drain or sewer line clog. The same goes if your toilet makes gurgling noises or produces lots of bubbles.
Toilet water that backs up into the bowl is also a strong indication of a clogged main or sewer. This is different from a leaky toilet, wherein clean water continuously leaks out of the tank. You should still contact a toilet repair specialist for this issue though.
Except for a leaky toilet tank, all the other mentioned symptoms occur because of a drain or sewer clog. The wastewater from your toilet can't get past the clog, so it can't flow into your septic tank or city's sewer. With nowhere else to go, it then gets forced back into your home.
If you notice any of these signs, get your local Ottawa plumbers to inspect your sewer line ASAP. Using plumbing video technology, they can pinpoint what and where exactly the clog is. They can then direct their efforts in getting rid of that clog, be it in your main drain or sewer line.
Toilet Backs Up Into the Tub or Shower
In many cases, toilet wastewater backs up into the tub or shower drain instead of the toilet bowl. This can happen because the tub or shower drain is set lower than the toilet bowl. As such, the wastewater may not even reach the bowl and just flow out of the lower drains.
You may also notice gurgling or bubbling in your tub or shower drain when you flush the toilet. That also indicates that you have a clogged main drain or sewer line.
Either way, it's best that you get in touch with professional drain cleaners in Ottawa, ASAP. Otherwise, you may end up with sewage full of pathogens flowing out of your toilets and drains.
Keep in mind that wastewater exposure can lead to gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses. While not very common, there were still almost 700 cases of GI illnesses in Ottawa back in 2018. The main cause is campylobacter bacterium, the most common pathogen found in sewage.
The last thing you want is to get infected with these pathogens, so it's best to ring up your local sewer line experts.
To keep your plumbing healthy, don't pour FOG down the drain. FOG stands for fats, oil, and grease, and they're among the biggest culprits behind sewer clogs. They may be in liquid form when you pour them, but they'll freeze up once the temperature drops.
Like iced-up water in pipes, frozen FOG can also cause your drain and sewer lines to expand. This can then lead to frozen pipes, which not only causes clogs but also burst pipes.
Even if you only have FOG clogs in your drain lines, you'll still end up with slow drains. As with toilet clogs, wastewater can also back up and out of your sink and floor drains.
You Have Hard Water
If your water comes from other than the Ottawa central water supply, you likely have hard water. If you're getting it from Shadow Ridge, for instance, then your water has a hardness rating of up to 350 mg per litre. In the hardness chart, that classifies as hard water.
Hard water usually doesn't cause health problems, but it can clog up plumbing pipes. That's because the harder the water is, the more dissolved minerals it contains. These minerals, such as calcium, can then form limescale on the inside surfaces of the pipes.
As more of these minerals harden inside the pipes, the narrower their opening becomes. Over time, limescale formations can get thick enough to cause clogs in your drain and sewer lines.
If you address limescale early, you may only need simple drain cleaning services. Note, however, that researchers found evidence that limescale can corrode pipes. As such, these minerals can cause problems bad enough to warrant drain and sewer line repairs.
After getting your mineral-clogged pipes cleared and fixed, consider getting a water softener. This way, you can drink not only better-tasting water but also prevent future clogs.
Your Lawn Grass is Greener
Or at least, a section of your lawn is. Either way, this is a strong indication of sewer line damage.
Sewage, after all, contains nitrogen and phosphorous which are essential plant sustenance. That's also why scientists are looking into transforming sewage into sustainable fertilizer.
This doesn't mean, however, that it's a good thing since it's still wastewater. Besides, you may be looking at a lush garden now, but it won't be long before the sewage gets into your home.
You've Been Seeing More Pests and Creepy Crawlies
The number of rat infestation reports in Ottawa almost doubled from 2018 to 2019. Back in 2018, there were only 84 rat-related complaints in the city, whereas it rose to 157 the following year.
One of the top reasons that these rodents like to invade homes is to have quick and easy access to food and water. Sewage, with all its leftover food and food debris, beckons these pests. As such, having a broken sewer line at home can attract these pests.
Cockroaches are also sewer-dwellers because of the food and moisture these facilities provide. So, they can also make their way into your home if you have a damaged sewer line. You may even find them in your drains, seeing as it's connected to your sewer system.
Sewer flies, in small numbers, can help break down clog-causing materials in drains. However, these buzzers multiply at a rapid rate, and in huge numbers, can cause health hazards.
If you've noticed an increase in any of these pests, take that as a sign you have a sewer problem. There may be a crack in your sewer line that's emitting the smell of waste above the ground. It's this smell, plus actual sewage, that's attracting them to your home.
Damaged sewer lines leak out wastewater, which then raises your home's humidity level. When your home's indoor humidity reaches 70% or higher, moulds can begin to grow and multiply. You may not actually see the moulds, but you're likely to smell them while indoors.
You Have Multiple Slow Drains and Toilet Problems
All your drains and toilets connect to your sewer line. Even your clothes washer drains to your sewer. If your sewer develops a major clog, then it will affect all these connections.
If you've been having problems with most, if not all of your drains, that's a solid sign you need sewer repairs. Contact your friendly Ottawa sewer services provider to address your issues right away.
Don't Delay Necessary Sewer Line Repair
There you have it, the only guide you'll need to help you determine if you need sewer line repair. What's important is never put off drains and sewer repairs, as this can only lead to sewer backups. If sewage gets into your home, that'll be more expensive to fix, not to mention dangerous.
If you've encountered or noticed any of these signs, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us. Our licensed and highly-experienced sewer repair specialists will come to your rescue ASAP. Call (613) 746-0000 to schedule an appointment today.