It is important to have sewer pipes that run into and out our homes. They carry in water and remove soiled water. These systems are often overlooked until there is an issue.

Broken sewer lines can cause the system to shut down and stop functioning. This can be prevented by keeping drains clear and flowing.

It can be hard to distinguish between a blocked drain or a broken sewer pipe. Both can have the same symptoms, including bad smells and backed-up water.

If water is backed up in more than one toilet or sink, it could be a broken sewer line.

Here are four methods to fix a leaking sewage pipe.

Clear the Drain

Sewer lines are subject to a lot of pressure and clogging is not uncommon. Toilet paper, soap scum and hair can build up over time, causing a blockage.

Sometimes, a plumber’s snake is able to clear the clog. Most clogs are easy to remove. It’s best to call a professional if you are unable to remove the clog. Incorrectly clearing the drain with chemicals or a snake can cause more damage to your sewer pipe.

Locate the Pipe

It can be a big help to locate clogged pipes. It may not be easy depending on the construction of your home. If you have crawl space, it should be easy to locate the pipe. It will be more difficult if it isn’t. The first step to fixing it is finding the pipe.

A broken pipe could cause a soggy or bug-infested area to emit an unpleasant odor in your yard. A plumber’s snake will not help if that is the case.

The professionals will need to be called in and replace the section of the pipe. They can use cameras to see the problem and even go inside the pipe.

Take a look at the damage

A plumber can help you determine the extent of damage to your pipes. Some pipes can burst over time, whether they are made of clay or cast iron. They are not able to withstand the pressure of chemicals or over-aggressive plumbers.

Trees and shrubs that are too close to sewer lines can cause problems. Roots seek water and nutrients and will burst into pipes if they have the chance. Toilet paper that is too large can also cause problems. Broken sewer pipes can also be a result.

Repairing and Replacing Broken Lines

Sometimes, it’s possible to repair a small section of pipe that is broken. This can often be quite painless. Sometimes, however, it may be more costly to repair the pipe, especially if it has to be removed from underneath a driveway or sidewalk.

You may want to replace older pipes and eliminate any potential problems down the line. Most pipes can be replaced or repaired in less than a day.