Six Warning Signs of a Failing Sewer Line - My Plumber Kelowna


By Dave Bangar

Six Warning Signs of a Failing Sewer Line

Reading Time: 3 minutes

How to Tell If You Have a Broken Sewer System

A broken sewer line isn’t just an inconvenience, it can create a major disaster for Kelowna homeowners and lead to significant structural and property damage, health issues, animal infestations, and more. Fortunately, in most cases, there are some telltale warning signs that will help you spot a failing sewer line before it’s too late.

In this article, we will go over what can cause a broken sewer line and explain the six key signs to look out for that could indicate you have a sewage backup.

What Causes a Sewer Line to Fail?

A broken sewer line occurs when there is damage or a structural failure in the pipes that comprise a residential sewage system, leading to:

  • Sewage backup
  • Property damage
  • Health and environmental concerns
  • Foul smells in your home
  • Insect and rodent infestation

This can happen for a variety of different reasons, including:

Old Age

If you have an older home, your sewage system and pipes can deteriorate over time, eventually causing a sewer line break and resulting in sewage backups.

Invasive Tree Roots

When trees are located too close to your home, they can infiltrate your sewer pipes through small cracks or joints. As they grow and expand, they can damage your pipes and sewer line.


If you use a lot of chemical drain cleaner or other harsh chemicals in your drains, it can corrode your sewer pipes, leading to cracks and breakage.

Frequent Clogs and Blockages

If you have experienced frequent clogs and blockages in your sewer line due to a buildup of grease and debris, it can put pressure on your sewer pipes, causing them to weaken and break.

6 Signs You Have a Broken Sewer Line

As previously stated, there are several key indicators that reveal whether or not you have a sewer line issue. Below are some of the biggest signs of a broken sewer line you should be looking out for.

  • Sewage Backup

Sewage backing up into your home through your toilets, showers, and sinks is one of the most immediate and noticeable signs that you have a broken sewer line.

You’ll know this is happening when there are foul odours coming from these areas that smell like mould, sulphur, or human waste. Other signs of a sewage backup include:

  • Water is draining unusually slowly from your sink or shower
  • Your toilets are clogged and overflowing
  • There are bubbling and gurgling noises coming from your  bathtub, faucets, or toilets
  • High Toilet Bowl Water Level

If you’ve noticed that the water level in your toilet has changed suddenly and is much higher and lower than normal, this could be a sign of a sewer line issue, especially if you are experiencing other indicators mentioned in this article.

  • Drain Clogs

If several drains in your home (sinks, showers, tubs, and toilets) aren’t draining properly and the issue is recurring, this could indicate a broken sewer line.

  • Foundation Damage

In some extreme cases, when a damaged sewer line festers and goes unresolved, it can cause structural damage to your home, leading to cracks or settling in your home’s foundation.

  • A Wet, Sunken Yard

If your front lawn and/or backyard has suddenly developed large, wet patches or sunken areas that were not caused by the weather, it could be due to sewage leaking from a broken sewer line.

  • Higher Water Bills

If your water bills have increased dramatically without explanation, this could indicate there was a leak in your sewer line, leading to excess water use.

When to Call a Plumber

A broken sewer line can be incredibly damaging to your home and property, as sewage backup can ruin floors, walls, personal belongings, and even outdoor landscaping. Exposure to sewage can also lead to serious health issues, so, as soon as you have any indication that you have a broken sewer line, it is crucial that you call a plumber immediately.

At My Plumber Kelowna, we have a team of licensed, trained, and highly experienced plumbers who can inspect the sewer line, assess the extent of the damage, and make the appropriate repairs.

Call us today at 250-601-0000 or fill out a form on our website, and we will be in touch ASAP.

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