There are some signs that you can look for that will let you know that yes, you may certainly have a clog in your sewer line.

How Do You Know If Your Main Drain Is Clogged?
  • All or several of your drains are backing up
  • The water in your bathtub, shower and/or drains is going down slowly
  • All or some of your toilets are backing up
  • You notice sewage or standing water in or near your sewer cleanout
  • You see water backing up in your shower and/or bathtub when you flush your toilet
  • Your toilet(s) aren't flushing, they instead are gurgling

If you notice any of these signs in your home - chances are fairly high that you have a clog in your sewer line.

Your next step is now to find out what could possibly be causing that clog? The answer to this question will then lead you to the solution to fix the problem.

Causes Of A Clog In Your Main Drain

There are several issues that could have been the cause of your main drain getting clogged.

  1. An object was thrown down a toilet or drain that has now gotten stuck in your pipes.
  2. Your main drain pipes may have been invaded by plant and/or tree roots.
  3. Your pipes are old and have deteriorated to the point where the surrounding dirt and debris is now causing a blockage.
  4. The problem could actually be coming from your city's sewer system and not your pipes.

1. Object Causing The Clog

If you know that a toy or other object has been thrown down a toilet or drain and you strongly suspect that is the cause of the clog then the solution is to attempt to clear it out with a snake / auger. You may need a very long snake to do the job.

If you are unable to perform this task then a professional plumber can certainly do it for you.

If the snake is not able to dislodge the object, a hydro jet may need to be used.

2. Invasion Of Plant / Tree Roots

It's often difficult to know if your pipes have been infiltrated with roots from nearby plants and/or trees. Often, a camera inspection is needed to identify not only if this is the case but also where the problem is occurring.

If this is determined to be the cause of your clogged main drain then you may have to have those pipes replaced with new ones. Your plumber will be able to give you the best options of what to replace those pipes with and some possible recommendations on re-planting or removing the nearby plants / trees that have caused the problem.

3. Old Pipes Have Deteriorated

Pipes do not last forever, although it does seem like some of them do. Here is a list of the normal lifespan of the different types of pipe material most often used.

Polybutylene - 10 to 15 years
Galvanized Steel - 20 to 50 years
Pex - 40 years
Brass - 40 to 70 years
Clay - 50 to 60 years
Copper - 50 to 70 years
PVC - 75 years
Cast Iron - 75 to 100 years
Lead - 100 years

If you are living in an older home with the original pipes still be used - there could be a chance that your pipes have now deteriorated, crumbling into themselves along with the dirt and debris that is surrounding them where they lay.

This could certainly create a blockage and cause you great problems with your main drain line.

Again, a camera inspection would work to identify this problem and of course, the solution would be to replace the old pipes with new ones.

4. The Problem Is Your City - Not You

The problem in your main sewer line may not be due to the pipes on your property at all. It may be that it's due to a backup in the city main line instead of in your own sewer line. The signs would be exactly the same so the best way to know is to contact a few of your neighbors and ask if they are having the same problem. If they are - you can then check with your city to get some information on the problem.


If you have any questions about your main water drain or are having some problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-505-8570. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We Offer Sewer Services in Metro Atlanta and Surrounding Areas

Fulton County, Bartow County, Cobb County, Paulding County, Cherokee County, Gwinnett County, and Douglas County.

Acworth GA, Atlanta GA, Austell GA, Cartersville GA, Doraville GA, Douglasville GA, Hiram GA, Kennesaw GA, Lawrenceville GA, Lithia Springs GA, Loganville GA, Mableton GA, Marietta GA, Powder Springs GA, Rockmart GA, Roswell GA, Smyrna GA, Tucker GA, Villa Rica GA, Vinings GA, Woodstock GA, and Surrounding Communities.